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March 14, 1927|
Conewango Valley, New York, United States
|Died||April 18, 1994(aged 67)|
|Achievements||1950 Grand National Champion|
|NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career|
|36 races run over 5 years|
|Best finish||1st (1950)|
|First race||1949 (Langhorne)|
|Last race||1953 (Rochester)|
|First win||1950 (Canfield)|
|Last win||1950 (Canfield)|
Bill Rexford (March 14, 1927 – April 18, 1994) was a stock car driver in the early 1950s.
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Born in Conewango Valley, New York, he made his name driving stock cars in the region. When NASCAR introduced its "strictly stock" series, Rexford appeared in three races that were held in the Northeast, with a best finish of 3rd. He became the first of two Northern drivers to regularly drive in the series in 1950, when it became known as the Grand National division, the other driver being his teammate, Lloyd Moore. That year, he won his first career NASCAR race at Canfield, Ohio.
By the end of the year, Rexford managed to involve himself in the race for the championship. He would end up benefitting from the misfortunes of three other contenders. Two contenders, Fireball Roberts and Curtis Turner, went through major late season slumps at the same time that Rexford was at his best. A third contender, Lee Petty, had more controversial problems, as he was stripped of 809 points (at that time, the equivalent of winning 4 races or 5 third-place finishes) by NASCAR for racing in non-NASCAR sanctioned races.
At the final race of the year in Hillsboro, Rexford had a slight lead and battled with Roberts for the championship. Rexford nearly cost himself the title, when he had an early engine failure. Roberts was able to win a championship with a top 5, but he drove aggressively and tried to win. His own engine gave out with less than 50 laps to go, giving Rexford a dramatic, and controversial championship.
Following his championship, Bill returned to racing in the Northeast in 1951, making a handful of appearances at some of NASCAR's bigger races in the southeast and a few northeastern Grand National events. His win at Canfield was his only career victory.
Over 50 years later, Bill is still the youngest driver to win a championship in what has become the Sprint Cup series. He remains the only driver from the Northeast to win a champion, and was the only non-Southerner to win a title in the series until 1989, when Missouri's Rusty Wallace won.
With only one career Grand National win, Rexford was the only series champion that was not included among NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.
Motorsports career results
Grand National Series
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)
|NASCAR Grand National Champion