Cale Yarborough

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For the mixed martial artist, see Cale Yarbrough.
Cale Yarborough
CaleYarborough.jpg
Born (1939-03-27) March 27, 1939 (age 75)
Timmonsville, South Carolina, United States
Achievements

1976 Winston Cup Series Champion
1977 Winston Cup Series Champion
1978 Winston Cup Series Champion
1984 IROC Champion

1968, 1977, 1983, 1984 Daytona 500 Winner
1968, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1982 Southern 500 Winner
1978, 1984 Winston 500 Winner
Holds Sprint Cup Series modern era record for most poles in a season (14 poles in 1980)
Awards 1967 NASCAR's Most Popular Driver Award[1]
1993 International Motorsports Hall of Fame Inductee
1994 National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame Inductee[2]
1994 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America Inductee
1996 Court of Legends Inductee at Charlotte Motor Speedway
3-Time National Motorsports Press Association Driver of the Year (1977, 1978, 1979)
1977 American Driver of the Year
South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame inductee (1978)
1996 Talladega Walk of Fame inductee
Named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers (1998)
2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
560 race(s) run over 31 year(s)
Best champ.
finish
1st (1976, 1977, 1978)
First race 1957 Southern 500 (Darlington)
Last race 1988 Atlanta Journal 500 (Atlanta)
First win 1965 untitled race (Valdosta)
Last win 1985 Miller High Life 500 (Charlotte)
Wins Top tens Poles
83 319 69
NASCAR Grand National East Series career
8 race(s) run over 2 year(s)
Best champ.
finish
13th (1973)
First race 1972 Sandlapper 200 (Columbia)
Last race 1973 Buddy Shuman 100 (Hickory)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 7 0
Statistics current as of April 17, 2013.

William Caleb "Cale" Yarborough[3] (born March 27, 1939), is a farmer, businessman and former NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver and owner. He is one of only two drivers in NASCAR history to win three consecutive championships. He was the second NASCAR driver to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated[4] (the first was Curtis Turner on the February 26, 1968 issue)[5] His 83 wins places him at number six on the all-time NASCAR winner's list (behind Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip, who are tied for fourth with 84).[6] His 14.82% winning percentage is the ninth best all-time and third among those with 500 or more starts.[7] Yarborough won the Daytona 500 four times; his first win coming in 1968 for the Wood Brothers, the second in 1977 for Junior Johnson, and back-to-back wins in 1983 and 1984.[8][9][10][11] In 1984, he became the first driver to qualify for the Daytona 500 with a top speed of more than 200 miles per hour (320 km/h). Yarborough is a three time National Motorsports Press Association Driver of the Year (1977, 1978, 1979).[12]

Beginnings[edit]

Yarborough was born to Julian and Annie Yarborough in the tiny, unincorporated community of Sardis near Timmonsville, South Carolina, the oldest of three sons. Julian was a tobacco farmer,[13] cotton gin operator, and store owner who was killed in a private airplane crash when Cale was around ten years of age. According to his autobiography Cale, Yarborough attended the second Southern 500 in 1951 as a young spectator without a ticket. Yarborough was a high school football star and played semi-pro football in Columbia, South Carolina for four seasons and was a Golden Gloves boxer. He made his first attempt in the Southern 500 as a teenager by lying about his age, but he was caught and disqualified by NASCAR. In 1957, Yarborough made his debut as a driver at the Southern 500, driving the #30 Pontiac for Bob Weatherly, starting 44th and finishing 42nd after suffering hub problems.[14] He ran for Weatherly two years later, and finished 27th.[15] In 1960, Yarborough ran one race, and had his first career top-fifteen, a fourteenth-place finish at Southern States Fairgrounds.[16] He again ran one race in 1961, finishing 30th in the Southern 500 driving for Julian Buesink.[17] In 1962, Yarborough ran eight races for Buesink, Don Harrison, and Wildcat Williams. He earned his first top-ten at the Daytona 500 Qualifying Race, when he finished tenth.[18]

1960s[edit]

Yarborough started 1963 without a full-time ride, but soon signed on to drive the #19 Ford for Herman Beam. His best finish was fifth twice, at Myrtle Beach and Savannah Speedway, respectively.[19] He began the next season driving for Beam, but soon left and finished the year with Holman Moody, finishing sixth at North Wilkesboro Speedway, winding up nineteenth in points.[20] The next season, he drove for various owners before picking up his first career win at Valdosta Speedway driving the #06 Ford for Kenny Myler, rising to tenth in the final standings.[21]

Yarborough drove for Banjo Matthews at the beginning of 1966. Despite two consecutive second-place finishes, he left the team early in the season and ended the year driving the #21 Ford for the Wood Brothers.[22] He won two races in 1967 at the Atlanta 500 and the Firecracker 400 for the Wood Brothers, but dropped to 20th in standings because he only ran 17 races.[23] Yarborough also ran the Indianapolis 500 in 1966 and 1967 driving Vollstedt-Fords. After running the season-opening Middle Georgia 500 for Bud Moore Engineering, finishing 21st, Yarborough ran the rest of the season for the Wood Brothers, winning his first Daytona 500 in a duel with Lee Roy Yarbrough, the Firecracker 400, which made him the second driver in history to sweep both Daytona events,[24] and his first Southern 500 garnering a total of six wins that season. Running a limited schedule, he finished seventeenth in points.[25] The next season, he won his third straight Atlanta 500 along with the first NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway the Motor State 500 and six pole positions.[26]

In 1969 Ford Motor Company produced a Cale Yarborough Special Edition Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II (and they also produced a Mercury Cyclone Spoiler). It was a white Mercury Cyclone (fastback) in white with a red roof and stripe. The Spoiler II was outfitted with a special aerodynamic front end. This was a limited edition homologation special that was made to satisfy the NASCAR 500-car minimum production regulations. There was only one engine choice available in the Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II, a 351 cubic inch Windsor. (A very similar car was also produced by Mercury in 1969 as a white car with blue trim as the Dan Gurney Special.)

1970s[edit]

Yarborough continued to drive a limited schedule for the Wood Brothers in 1970, winning his second consecutive Michigan 400 and the American 500 for the first time along with one of the Daytona 125 mile qualifying races and four poles.[27] At the end of the season, Yarborough was released after Ford withdrew factory support for NASCAR teams. He drove four races in 1971, posting one top-ten in Daytona in the #3 Ray Fox-owned Plymouth.[28] He also ran in the Indianapolis 500, finishing 16th in a Gene White owned, Firestone sponsored Mongoose-Ford. The next season, Yarborough ran five NASCAR races, his best finish coming at Michigan driving for James Hylton. He ended the season with two consecutive top-tens driving for Hoss Ellington.[29] He also ran his final Indianapolis 500 in a Bill Daniels sponsored Atlanta-Foyt, finishing 10th. Yarborough mostly focused on driving USAC races in 1971 and 1972. In 1973, Yarborough returned to NASCAR and ran every NASCAR Grand National race in a season for the first time in his career, driving the #11 Kar-Kare Chevrolet for Richard Howard. He won four races, including his second Southern 500, the National 500 and the Southeastern 500 at Bristol in which he led every lap, and had nineteen top-tens, finishing second in points.[30]

Cale Yarborough's #11 Chevelle Laguna

In 1974, Yarborough won a career-high ten races, but lost the championship by nearly 600 points. Midway through the season, Yarborough's team was bought by Junior Johnson with Carling sponsorship. Yarborough swept both races at Riverside International Raceway, captured his fourth Atlanta 500, and his second consecutive Southern 500 and third overall.[31] Despite his successful 1974 campaign, the team began 1975 without major sponsorship, and missed three races, before Holly Farms became the team's primary sponsor. He won three races, including sweeping the events at Rockingham, but dropped to ninth in the final standings.[32]

The following season, Yarborough won nine races, including four in a row late in the season along with the Firecracker 400, in winning his first career Winston Cup Championship.[33] He repeated his nine-win performance in 1977, a season in which he finished every race and did not finish outside of the top-five during the last eleven races of the season, earning him his second championship.[34] Another highlight of the season was his second Daytona 500 victory, earning him a cover appearance on Sports Illustrated, the SECOND NASCAR driver so honored. He also scored two victories in IROC IV, finishing second in the standings. In 1978, his team switched to Oldsmobiles and received new sponsorship from 1st National City Travelers Checks. He matched his previous career high of 10 wins, including leading every lap of the Nashville 420, his fourth Southern 500 and first Winston 500 at Talladega, and won his third consecutive championship [35] (clinching it at the American 500). In IROC V he captured one victory, finishing fourth in the standings.

Yarborough began the 1979 season with Busch Beer sponsorship and getting into a fight with Donnie and Bobby Allison after the Daytona 500, when Donnie and Yarborough wrecked while racing for the lead on the final lap. This was the first NASCAR 500 mile race to be broadcast on live television in its entirety (through CBS Sports). The confrontation and the exciting race that led up to it are credited with starting the mass growth of NASCAR.[36] Yarborough went on to finish fourth in the standings, winning four races, including the Coca-Cola 500 at Pocono Raceway and the National 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, one pole, and finishing third in the IROC VI standings.[37]

1980s[edit]

Yarborough won a career-high and modern-era record fourteen poles in 1980, captured six races including sweeping the events at Rockingham, and scoring wins at Bristol, Michigan, Texas and Atlanta. Yarborough barely missed out on his fourth championship in five years, losing the championship to Dale Earnhardt by 19 points.[38] At the end of the season, Yarborough announced he was leaving the Junior Johnson team and would run a part-time schedule for the rest of his career. He was replaced by Darrell Waltrip. Yarborough won 55 races while driving for Johnson from 1973–1980, compiling an amazing winning percentage of 26.57 percent.

Yarborough competed in 18 races in the 1981 season in the #27 Valvoline Buick for M.C. Anderson, winning his fourth Firecracker 400 and his fifth Coca-Cola 500 at Atlanta, finishing in the top-ten a total of six times.[39] Yarborough competed in 16 races in 1982, winning three, including his hometown Southern 500 for the fifth and final time.[40] He also ran the 24 Heures du Mans in 1981, finishing 13 laps before a crash ended the team's efforts.

1983 racecar

In 1983, Anderson closed his operation, and Yarborough moved to the #28 Hardee's Chevrolet owned by Harry Ranier, competing in 16 events. He won four races, including his third Daytona 500, his sixth Atlanta Coca-Cola 500, and swept both events at Michigan, along with three poles.[41] In 1984 he repeated by winning his fourth Daytona 500, becoming the second driver to score back-to-back wins, the Winston 500 at Talladega, a race that featured 75 lead changes, and the Van Scoy Diamond Mine 500, along with four poles.[42] Yarborough also captured the IROC VIII championship. In 1985 after his team switched to a Ford, he won his first Talladega 500 and scored his final win in the Miller High Life 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.[43] He also finished eighth in the final standings of IROC IX.

In 1986, Yarborough won his final career pole at the Firecracker 400, and had five top-ten finishes.[44] He scored a victory at Talladega during IROC X and finished third in the standings. In 1987, he left the Ranier-Lundy team and purchased Jack Beebe's Race Hill Farm team. Yarborough took the Hardee's sponsorship and began running the #29 Oldsmobile Delta 88 as an owner/driver, posting two top-five finishes.[45] He ran his final season in 1988 in an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, entering ten races and posting two ninth place finishes.[46] He retired at the end of the year.

Ownership[edit]

See Cale Yarborough Motorsports for more info about the team.

Cale Yarborough bought out the Race Hill Farms team in 1986 and moved the team from Connecticut to South Carolina and he renamed the team Cale Yarborough Motorsports. He got one win in 1997 at the Pepsi 400 and closed his team in 2000.

Motorsports career results[edit]

Indy 500 career[edit]

Yarborough made four career starts in the Indianapolis 500 beginning in 1966. His best finish was 10th in his last start in 1972.

Year Car Start Qual Rank Finish Laps Led Retired
1966 66 24 159.794 15 28 0 0 Crash FS
1967 21 20 162.830 30 17 176 0 Crash T3
1971 21 14 170.770 19 16 140 0 Cam Cover
1972 21 32 178.864 33 10 193 0 Flagged
Totals 509 0
Starts 4
Poles 0
Front Row 0
Wins 0
Top 5 0
Top 10 1
Retired 3

Daytona 500 results[edit]

Year Manufacturer Start Finish Team
1962 Ford 21 48 Julian Buesink
1964 Ford 22 17 Herman Beam
1965 Ford 32 9 Gary Weaver
1966 Ford 19 2 Matthews
1967 Mercury 8 39 Wood
1968 Mercury 1 1 Wood
1969 Mercury 5 38 Wood
1970 Mercury 1 37 Wood
1971 Plymouth 13 33 Ray Fox
1972 Plymouth 16 6 Ray Fox
1973 Chevrolet 3 22 Richard Howard
1974 Chevrolet 4 2 Richard Howard
1975 Chevrolet 6 3 Johnson
1976 Chevrolet 14 42 Johnson
1977 Oldsmobile 4 1 Johnson
1978 Oldsmobile 1 2 Johnson
1979 Oldsmobile 3 5 Johnson
1980 Oldsmobile 5 19 Johnson
1981 Oldsmobile 29 8 Anderson
1982 Buick 3 2 Anderson
1983 Pontiac 8 1 Ranier
1984 Chevrolet 1 1 Ranier
1985 Ford 2 36 Ranier
1986 Ford 13 27 Ranier
1987 Oldsmobile 22 10 Yarborough
1988 Oldsmobile 32 38 Yarborough

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

(key)

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1981 United States Stratagraph Inc. United States Billy Hagan
United States Bill Cooper
Chevrolet Camaro IMSA GTO 13 DNF DNF

Acting[edit]

Two episodes on the TV show The Dukes of Hazzard featured Cale playing himself: "The Dukes Meet Cale Yarborough" (1979) Season 02 Episode 07, and "Cale Yarborough comes to Hazzard" (1984) Season 07 Episode 09.

He appeared in the 1983 Burt Reynolds movie Stroker Ace.

Legacy[edit]

Yarborough was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1993, the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1994, the Court of Legends at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1996 and was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers (1998).

In 2009, Yarborough was one of the 25 nominees for the first class to be inducted in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, though he was not selected. In 2010, he was nominated for induction in the second class of the Hall of Fame, and again he failed to make the cut. In 2011, Yarborough finally was elected to the NASCAR HOF. A stretch of South Carolina Highway 403 through Timmonsville is named Cale Yarborough Highway in his honor.

In March 2013, Yarborough was inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame.[47]

Personal life[edit]

In high school Yarborough was a halfback, then played four years of semipro football and was offered a tryout with the Washington Redskins.

Yarborough has been married to Betty Jo Thigpen since 1961 and they have three daughters (Julie, Kelley, and B.J.). He has owned Cale Yarborough Honda in Florence, South Carolina for over 25 years. He currently resides in Sardis, SC. Yarborough is not related to fellow NASCAR veteran Lee Roy Yarbrough.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ ":: National Motorsports Press Association ::". Nmpaonline.com. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  2. ^ ":: National Motorsports Press Association ::". Nmpaonline.com. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  3. ^ Hawkins, Jim (2003). Tales from the Daytona 500. Sports Publishing LLC. p. 107. ISBN 1-58261-530-6. 
  4. ^ "Great Day at Daytona: Cale Yarborough Wins the 500." Sports Illustrated, 2/28/1977
  5. ^ "CURTIS TURNER". Sports Illustrated. 1968-02-26. Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  6. ^ "Jayski'sŽ NASCAR Silly Season Site - All Time Sprint Cup Winners". Jayski.com. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  7. ^ "Jayski'sŽ NASCAR Silly Season Site - All Time Sprint Cup Winners". Jayski.com. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  8. ^ "1968 Daytona 500". Racing-Reference.info. 1968-02-25. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  9. ^ "1977 Daytona 500". Racing-Reference.info. 1977-02-20. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  10. ^ "1983 Daytona 500". Racing-Reference.info. 1983-02-20. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  11. ^ "1984 Daytona 500". Racing-Reference.info. 1984-02-19. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  12. ^ ":: National Motorsports Press Association ::". Nmpaonline.com. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  13. ^ Caraviello, David (2014-01-14). "TOP 10 DEBUTS WITH NEW TEAMS". NASCAR. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  14. ^ "1957 Southern 500". Racing-Reference.info. 1957-09-02. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  15. ^ "1959 Southern 500". Racing-Reference.info. 1959-09-07. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  16. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1960/W
  17. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1961/W
  18. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1962/W
  19. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1963/W
  20. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1964/W
  21. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1965/W
  22. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1966/W
  23. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1967/W
  24. ^ Caraviello, David (2013-07-08). "Link to Allisons, history sweetens Johnson's Daytona sweep". NASCAR. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  25. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1968/W
  26. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1969/W
  27. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1970/W
  28. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1971/W
  29. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1972/W
  30. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1973/W
  31. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1974/W
  32. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1975/W
  33. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1976/W
  34. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1977/W
  35. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1978/W
  36. ^ Woody, Larry. "The Top 10 Daytona 500s Ever - No. 2: The 1979 Daytona 500". Howstuffworks. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  37. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1979/W
  38. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1980/W
  39. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1981/W
  40. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1982/W
  41. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1983/W
  42. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1984/W
  43. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1985/W
  44. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1986/W
  45. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1987/W
  46. ^ http://racing-reference.info/drivdet/yarboca01/1988/W
  47. ^ Dickerson, Brad (March 26, 2013). "WWII hero Farrow, NASCAR great Yarborough join S.C. Hall of Fame in Myrtle Beach". The Sun News. Myrtle Beach, SC. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bechtel, Mark. He Crashed Me So I Crashed Him Back: The True Story of the Year the King, Jaws, Earnhardt, and the Rest of NASCAR's Feudin', Fightin' Good Ol' Boys Put Stock Car Racing on the Map, Little, Brown and Company, 2010, ISBN 978-0-316-03402-9.
  • Hinton, Ed. Daytona: From the Birth of Speed to the Death of the Man in Black, Warner, 2001, ISBN 978-1-61680-101-4.
  • Menzer, Joe. The Great American Gamble: How the 1979 Daytona 500 Gave Birth to a NASCAR Nation, Wiley, 2009, ISBN 978-0-470-22869-2.
  • McGinnis, Joe. They Call Him Cale: The Life and Career of NASCAR Legend Cale Yarborough, Triumph Books, 2008, ISBN 978-1-60078-051-6.
  • Yarborough, Cale with William Neely. Cale: The Hazardous Life and Times of the World's Greatest Stock Car Driver, Times Books, 1986, ISBN 978-0-8129-1261-6.
Preceded by
Richard Petty
NASCAR Winston Cup Champion
1976, 1977, 1978
Succeeded by
Richard Petty
Preceded by
Bobby Allison
IROC Champion
IROC VIII (1984)
Succeeded by
Harry Gant
Preceded by
Mario Andretti
Daytona 500 Winner
1968
Succeeded by
LeeRoy Yarbrough
Preceded by
David Pearson
Daytona 500 Winner
1977
Succeeded by
Bobby Allison
Preceded by
Bobby Allison
Daytona 500 Winner
1983, 1984
Succeeded by
Bill Elliott