Bobby Isaac

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Robert Isaac
Born (1932-08-01)August 1, 1932
Catawba, North Carolina, United States
Died August 14, 1977(1977-08-14) (aged 45)
Hickory, North Carolina, United States
Cause of death Heart attack
Achievements 1970 Grand National Series Champion
Holds Sprint Cup Series record for most poles in a season (20 poles in 1969)
Awards Named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers (1998)
National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame (1979)
International Motorsports Hall of Fame (1996)
NASCAR Hall of Fame (2016)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
308 races run over 14 years
Best finish 1st (1970)
First race 1961 World 600 Qualifier #1 (Charlotte)
Last race 1976 World 600 (Charlotte)
First win 1964 Daytona 500 Qualifier #2 (Daytona)
Last win 1972 Carolina 500 (Rockingham)
Wins Top tens Poles
37[1] 170[1] 49[1]
NASCAR Grand National East Series career
8 races run over 2 years
Best finish 30th (1973)
First race 1972 Hickory 276 (Hickory)
Last race 1973 Buddy Shuman 100 (Hickory)
First win 1972 Albany-Saratoga 250 (Malta)
Last win 1972 Coalminers 200 (Lonesome Pine)
Wins Top tens Poles
4 6 4
Statistics current as of April 17, 2013.

Bobby Isaac (August 1, 1932 – August 14, 1977) was an American stock car racer.

Early life[edit]

Isaac grew up on a farm near Catawba, North Carolina, the second youngest of nine children. He finished school after the sixth grade, which led to the incorrect rumor that he could neither read nor write.[2]

NASCAR career[edit]

Isaac's No. 71 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

He began racing full-time in 1956, but it took him seven years to break into the Grand National division. Isaac won the championship in 1970 driving the #71 Dodge Charger Daytona sponsored by K&K Insurance. His crew chief was legendary Harry Hyde. Isaac & Hyde took the car to Talladega in November and set a closed-course speed record.

Isaac won 37 races in NASCAR's top series during his career, including 11 in his championship season, and started from the pole position 50 times. Isaac currently holds the NASCAR record for most poles in a single season, with 20 in 1969. In 1970 he turned a 201.104 mph lap at Talladega that stood until 1983. According to Isaac a strange "voice" in the car told him to retire from the Talladega race in 1973 because it threatened he would be killed. (Earlier in the race, another driver named Larry Smith died in an accident.)

Land speed records[edit]

Isaac also made his mark outside of NASCAR.[3][4] In September 1971, he went to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah and set 28 world speed records, some of which still stand to this day.[3][4]


Bobby Isaac was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 1979, and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1996. In 1998 NASCAR honored Isaac as one of its NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers of all time. On May 20, 2015, Isaac was announced as a member of the 2016 Class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.


On August 13th, 1977, he pulled out of a Late Model Sportsman race at Hickory Motor Speedway with 25 laps left, and called for a relief driver, collapsing on pit road. Though he was revived briefly at the hospital, he later died from a heart attack in the early morning hours.


External links[edit]

Preceded by
David Pearson
NASCAR Grand National Champion
Succeeded by
Richard Petty