Friday, May 04, 2012

NASCAR Hall Of Fame Profile: Cotton Owens

COTTON OWENS – Driver/Owner (b. 5/21/24)

Hometown: Union, S.C.
Competed: 1950-64 (Driver); 1950-73 (Owner)
Starts: 160 (Driver); 405 (Owner)
Wins: 9 (Driver); 38 (Owner)
Poles: 10 (Driver); 33 (Owner)

There are successful drivers and there are successful owners. But, rarely are there both.

Cotton Owens joins NASCAR Hall of Fame member Junior Johnson as masters of the two crafts.

Owens was more than successful behind the wheel, winning nine times in NASCAR’s premier series competition, including the 1957 Daytona Beach road course which marked Pontiac’s first NASCAR victory. He nearly won the 1959 championship, finishing second to NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Lee Petty. Concurrently Owens raced NASCAR modified stock cars and won the 1953-54 championships. 

But as an owner, Owens stood out as one of the greats of NASCAR’s early eras. His eye for talent was unmatched. He hired Johnson in 1962, the same season in which he began a future championship relationship with another NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, David Pearson. 

Johnson spent only four races with Owens but with Pearson, well, that was another story. Twenty-seven of Pearson’s 105 NASCAR premier series victories were recorded in a Cotton Owens car. The pair teamed to win the 1966 championship after Pearson, driving an Owens Dodge, finished third in points in 1964. 

In 1998 Owens was named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers.  

This is the latest in a series of biographies profiling the 25 nominees for the 2012 class of the NASCAR Hall Of Fame. Each of the 25 candidates will be profiled in the coming weeks, in alphabetical order.

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