William Caleb "Cale" Yarborough (born March 27, 1939 in Timmonsville, South Carolina, near the Famous Darlington Raceway), is a former NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver and was one of the series engaging personalities.
NASCAR career totalsEdit
He is a three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion, winning the series in 1976, 1977 and1978. He is the only driver to ever win three consecutive titles. His 83 wins places him at number five in the all-time NASCAR winner's list. Yarborough also 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. In 1984, he became the first driver to qualify for the Daytona 500 with a top speed of more than 200 mph.
His Legend Began In Darlington Edit
As a young kid, he attended the First Southern 500 in 1950 as a spectator without a ticket, by 1958, he began competing at the NASCAR Grand National Circuit. In the 1965 Southern 500, he was involved in the lap 119 accident with Sam McQuagg. Yarborough's Ford sails over the guardrail after tangling with McQuagg's #24 Ford. Yarborough tried to make a daring pass on leader McQuagg. but their tenders touched and Yarborough's Ford went airborne. The car came to rest against a telephone pole outside the track. Yarborough, who was uninjured, said, "I knew I was in trouble when I saw grass, because I know there ain't on grass on the racetrack."
On February 25, 1968 Yarborough won his first big-time race as he beat LeeRoy Yarbrough by less than a second to win the 1968 Daytona 500. Yarborough would win 5 more races in 1968, including winning his first Southern 500 by four car lengths over David Pearson.
Early in his career, Yarborough also competed in the Indianapolis 500, racing in 1966-1967 and 1971-1972.
Sports Illustrated Cover Exposure Edit
He captured his second Daytona 500 in 1977, it was so important that Sports Illustrated put him on the cover after his second Daytona 500 win, one of the first stock-car drivers to appear on the cover of the legendary sports magazine (see A.J. Foyt).
1979 Daytona 500Edit
Cale is possibly most remembered for his involvement in a final-lap crash and subsequent fight with Donnie Allison at the 1979 Daytona 500. Allison was leading the race on the final lap with Yarborough drafting him tightly. As Yarborough attempted his signature slingshot pass at the end of the backstretch, Allison attempted to block him. Yarborough refused to give ground and as he pulled alongside Allison, his left side tires left the pavement and went into the wet and muddy infield grass. As a result, Yarborough began to lose control of his car and contacted Allison's car halfway down the backstretch. As both drivers tried to regain control, their cars made contact several more times before finally locking together and crashing into the outside wall in turn three. After the cars settled in the grass, Allison and Yarborough began to argue. After they had talked it out, Bobby Allison, who was lapped at that point, pulled over and began defending his brother, and a fight broke out. It all happened on the first nationally televised NASCAR race. Richard Petty, who was over half a lap behind at the time of the crash, went on to win the race. The fight made headlines all across America. The publicity was instrumental in the growth of NASCAR.
- Yarborough was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1993.
- He was inducted in the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 1994
- He was inducted in the Court of Legends at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1996.
- He was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1994.
Two episodes on the TV show The Dukes of Hazzard featured Cale playing himself: "Cale Yarborough comes to Hazzard" (1984), and "The Dukes Meet Cale Yarborough" (1979).