David Pearson, the NASCAR Hall of Famer whose legacy of sharp racing and skill led to his nickname of the “Silver Fox,” died Monday at age 83.
Pearson won five NASCAR Cup Series events at Dover International Speedway, tied with Jeff Gordon for fifth all-time, and is the all-time leader in Monster Mile NASCAR Cup Series pole positions earned with six. Out of 16 NASCAR Cup Series race starts at Dover, Pearson finished in the top-5 12 times.
The Spartanburg, South Carolina, native was also one of the 32 drivers that started the first NASCAR premier series race at Dover, the “Mason-Dixon 300” on July 6, 1969. Pearson finished 23rd after wrecking following a blown tire after 65 laps. Pearson won the pole for that first race, turning a lap at 130.430 mph (27.601 seconds) in his 1969 Ford.
In 2019, Dover International Speedway is celebrating its 50th anniversary season, and will host the 100th NASCAR Cup Series race in track history on Oct. 6, 2019.
Pearson’s first win at the Monster Mile was the Sept. 17, 1972 “Delaware 500,” which he won after leading 350 laps, including 346 of the final 351. That victory started a three-race Dover win streak for Pearson, who swept both NASCAR Cup Series events in 1973, and also added victories in the spring “Mason-Dixon 500” in 1975 and 1978.
Pearson is one of four drivers honored with a marquee plaque on the Monster Monument at Victory Plaza, presented by Smithfield, which was dedicated on Sept. 24, 2013. Bobby Allison (7 Dover wins), Jeff Gordon (5) and Richard Petty (7) also have marquee plaques on the Monster Monument.
David Pearson Statistics
5 wins at Dover International Speedway
6 poles won at Dover International Speedway (track record)
12 top-five finishes at Dover International Speedway
105 career wins
113 career poles
301 career top-five finishes
3 NASCAR premier series championships (1966, 1968 and 1969)