Legendary NASCAR owner/driver Everett “Cotton” Owens has passed away at the age of 88.
The Union, South Carolina native had been in ill health for some time, and erroneous rumors of his passing circulated two weeks ago, shortly after the announcement that he will be inducted into the sport’s Hall Of Fame early next year.
As a driver, Owens won nine races in NASCAR's premier series, including the 1957 Daytona Beach road course; claiming the first-ever NASCAR victory for Pontiac. He finished second in the 1959 championship standings, behind NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty. He also claimed the 1953 and 1954 Modified Division championships, earning the nickname, “The King of the Modifieds.”
After retiring as a driver, Owens continued his career as a car owner, hiring future Hall Of Famer Junior Johnson to drive his machines in 1962. That same year, he began a long running association with Hall of Famer David Pearson that resulted in 27 of “The Silver Fox’s” 105 NASCAR premier series wins. Pearson finished third in 1964 championship points driving an Owens-built Dodge, and the pair subsequently claimed the1966 NASCAR Grand National championship.
In 1998, Owens was named one of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers.
Photo Credit: cottonowens.com