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The 1960 NASCAR Grand National Champion,
Rex White,
is hardly a household name today, but a look at his accomplishments reveals that he was Chevrolet's best driver in the early 60's and one of its most consistent drivers ever. If Richard Petty is the Babe Ruth of stock car racing, then Rex White is Joe DiMaggio.

Even though he didn't get his first victory until the ninth event in 1960,  he won six of his 28 career victories that year and finished in the top 10 in 35 of his 40 starts that year. White was known for running up front even if he didn't finish. He was also recognized as one of the first drivers to focus on the goal of the Grand National title. Despite his entire racing being done on a shoestring budget, he captured 36 poles and had 28 career victories in 233 starts and finished in the top-10 in the point standings six of the nine years he competed on NASCAR's elite circuit. The following year, he won seven times and finished second in points.

Rex did not always have the fastest car, but he could set up a car better than most. He had all sorts of contorted positions and the cars looked different, but he won.

"I don't have any idea what it cost to run a season, but it was more than I had," said White. "Remembering all those figures 40-something years ago is kind of tough for me. I probably didn't keep up with the costs even back then.

"I kept books in my left, rear pocket. When there wasn't any money there, I wasn't taking in enough. 
"We didn't write down anything. We had no bookkeeping system. But it got the job done.



"I never dreamed I would see the sport where it is today. But I did see that when television got into it, there would be no end to where it could go. With television you could get into everybody's house. People that had never been to a race could see it on television, and then after they went to a race, they're hooked."

Born August 17, 1929, White overcame polio as a child to have a racing career that included leading more than 50 races and more than 100 top-five finishes. From 1959 through 1963 Rex won more races than any other driver, competing against Lee Petty, Ned Jarrett, Fireball Roberts, Junior Johnson, Joe Weatherly, Curtis Turner, Buck Baker and others.

A look at his accomplishments reveals that he was Chevrolet's best driver in the early 60's. White was a member of the original Chevrolet racing team, and both he and his crew chief, Louie Clements (below, right picture), worked at the legendary Southern Engineering Development Company (SEDCO), which built Chevrolet race cars for many teams. With the exception of the last half of the 1963 season and the 1964 season, he always drove a Chevy. He amazingly finished in the top ten in just under 70 percent of his races!
  
All-time Average Finish (minimum 100 starts)
Top 10 Drivers            Starts     Avg. Finish      
 1. Lee Petty                 427          7.602
 2. Dick Hutcherson     103          8.670
 3. Herb Thomas          228          8.934
 4. Rex White              233          8.983
 5. Ned Jarrett              353          9.176
 6. Tim Flock                189          9.677
 7. Joe Weatherly         229       10.031
 8. Dick Rathmann       129        10.791
 9. David Pearson        574       11.033
10. Dale Earnhardt       676       11.061

White's championship hopes in 1960 seemed dashed until his chief rival, Richard Petty, and five other drivers were disqualified for making improper entrances to pit road in the inaugural World 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

Old-timer looks back fondly on sport's past 

Saturday, 01/13/07    Legends Session is part of local event

When Rex White won the NASCAR championship in 1960, he picked up a check for $13,000.

Jimmie Johnson, last year's champion, banked $15.9 million.

"Guess I came along too soon," White, 76, said with good humor. "We had more fun back then, even if we didn't get paid much for having it." White is among the drivers and other racing personalities scheduled to participate in a Legends Session from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at Ryman Auditorium. It's part of the Sprint Sound & Speed fan festival. Joining White will be Richard Petty, Richard Childress, Cale Yarborough, Junie Donlavey, Ernie Irvan and Bobby Allison, along with some country music stars. Across the street at Gaylord Entertainment Center, more racers and country stars will hold autograph sessions from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some vintage NASCAR cars will be on display and a concert held. Proceeds from the second annual event go to the Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

White, who lives in Fayetteville, Ga., recounts his racing roots in a celebrated biography, Gold Thunder. It chronicles his boyhood during the Depression in the poverty-wracked mountains of North Carolina, where about the only way to earn a dollar was mill work or moonshine.White, with a third-grade education, found another way. "I was always good with cars," he said. "I had a natural racing ability. I started running on some local tracks, did pretty good, and before long I had an offer to drive for Chevrolet."

It was during those glory "factory days'' of the 1950s that White blossomed. From 1959-63 he won more races (28) than any driver, competing against Lee and Richard Petty, Ned Jarrett, Fireball Roberts, Junior Johnson, Curtis Turner, Joe Weatherly and Buck Baker.

It has been said that if Richard Petty is stock car racing's Babe Ruth, then Rex White is the sport's Joe DiMaggio. "I had a good run," said White, who beat Petty for the 1960 championship.White ran his last race in 1964.

"Chevy dumped us," he said. "I went to Mercury but it was a dud. I took a job with a car dealership and never went back to racing. I regret it. I wish I'd stayed longer." The big money is not the only dramatic change White sees in NASCAR. "The press coverage is unbelievable nowadays," he said. "Back when I raced, the press didn't pay much attention to us. "The cars are also completely different. And back then we drivers worked on our cars and hauled them to the track. Now all a driver does is drive."

How would the titans of his era compare to today's racers? "Guys like Tiny Lund and Cale Yarborough would wring the steering wheel off," he said. "Most drivers aren't strong and stocky like that now but I'm sure Tony Stewart would have done good back then." White has fond memories of Nashville. "I raced at the Fairgrounds five or six times and sat on the pole every time," he said. "I won two or three races. I remember it was a hard track to drive, but back then they were all hard. There weren't any easy paychecks in those days."

====================================================================================

1960 Season Recap

Rex White showed stellar consistency throughout the season and ran away from a young Richard Petty in the season long point standings. A number of star drivers jockeyed for top five positions in the standings throughout the year, however.

FIVE RACES TO GO: Martinsville, VA - Points leader Rex White held a commanding lead over young upstart Richard Petty with five races remaining in the 1960 season. Petty, in turn, was far ahead of the third place battle, which was heating up. Bobby Johns, two-time champion Buck Baker, Ned Jarrett, and defending champion Lee Petty were engaged in a serious competition for third place in the standings, all separated by less than 500 points. At Martinsville, White built on his lead with his fifth win of the season Richard Petty saw his championship hopes dashed when he was caught in a crash with his father, Lee, on lap 290. Bobby Johns was also involved. Richard Petty finished 32nd, Lee finished 23rd and Johns 24th. Ned Jarrett had engine trouble and came in 28th. Buck Baker was the only contender of the group with his fifth place finish.

FOUR RACES TO GO: North Wilkesboro, NC - Rex White extended his lead over Richard Petty with his second straight win, this coming at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Petty looked stuck in the runner-up position in the standings, finishing 6th in the race. Among his closest competitors, Buck Baker and Ned Jarrett had respectable finishes with their 5th and 7th place finishes. Lee Petty crashed for the 3rd time in his last 6 races, finishing 20th. Bobby Johns was not entered in the race.

                            1960 Grand National Top Ten Points


1. Rex White     (21,164)

 2. Richard Petty      (17,228)
 3. Bobby Johns       (14,964)
 4. Buck Baker         (14,674)
 5. Ned Jarrett          (14,660)
 6. Lee Petty            (14,510)
 7. Junior Johnson     (9,932)
 8. Emanuel Zervakis (9,720)
 9. Jim Paschal         (8,968)
10. Banjo Matthews   (8,458)

When asked to compare past champions against Winston Cup's 2002's winner, Tony Stewart, Rex replied: "Tony Stewart finished dead last in 2002's Daytona 500 and took in $218,000 for last spot. The only catch to that is he did win the 125-lap Qualifying Race. "I never took in anywhere near that much money in my entire racing career. When I won the championship, I got almost $13,000. You can see what a big difference there is between then and now.

"I don't think racing itself is so much different. There was things back then that irritated you just like they have today. There's a lot more rush and lot more coverage because it's so much bigger, but I don't think it's any different." White's career was not as long as many drivers, since he only raced nine seasons. "I may have quit too soon," said White. "I might could have won some more races, but I had a couple bad deals with Chevrolet.

"They walked into the garage in East Point, Georgia one morning and said, 'the racing team is dissolved.' One week before Daytona, they said 'Chevrolet is out of racing.'

"We had a lot of hopes to go racing. We had built on to my shop and built another racecar with good horsepower. We had made a lot of plans for that year, but we just had to cancel them.

"Then I went with Mercury, but they weren't really competitive, and I had a hard time adapting to leaf springs they had in Mercurys. It never was a real winning race car. And all I got was a car and parts. At the end of the year, Mercury said, they were going to cut that off, so that was another one that shut me out.

"Then I drove four races for Bud Moore in 1963 and they cut back on Bud, and he had Darel Dieringer as his number one driver, so I lost out there, and decided to go find a different pasture to play in.


"I got a job working for the Chrysler-Plymouth dealer in Forrest Park, Georgia and never got back in it. I made more money selling cars than I ever made racing them."



There was a No. 4 Chevrolet was perhaps the best car White ever drove.

"I got the car from Harold Doharty," continued White. "He came to the 1962 Atlanta race, which I won, and it was his first race, ever. I never met him until after he had built the car.

"I spent a lot of time in racing, and I could tell you a lot of funny stories. When I got out of racing in 1965, I went to Mexico and built some Chevelles to race there.

"I went off a cliff down there. On one side of the road they don't even come get you. They just put a candle out where you went off. On the right side of the road, it's about 90 feet down.


"I was riding with the owner of the Chevelles. He was trying to play a little bit of race car driving and maybe trying to impress me a little bit. 

"We came up on two cows in the middle of the road. In trying to miss the cows, he lost control, and I knew it. So I got over and was trying to get control of the steering wheel when we went off.

"I broke my back, was pinned in the car and it was about 24 hours before I got to the hospital. It happened about one in the evening and at five o-clock the next day I got to the hospital.

"But I healed up and won Sportsman Races after that. About 10 weeks later, I won a race in Harris, North Carolina with the brace still on.

"My best finish was over Marvin Panch in the 4 car right here in Atlanta in the 1962 Dixie 400. The last fuel stop was out of sequence and my crew chief put on the pit board that he questioned my gas.

"So I knew we weren't going to make it to the end without fueling. I hung on to Marvin and just drafted. He ran out
of gas with two laps to go, and I went all the way to the bank."

White says one of his funniest and scariest moments happened on the old Daytona Beach Course.
"We were testing the car and I kept telling the owner it was miss-firiing," said White. "So he said, you go back around and come by me wide open. I didn't think about it at the time where he was going to be sitting.
"So I came by him wide open, and just as I got by him, I realized I was hitting the diamonds in the road where they tell you to shut off going into the south turn.

 

Race Artist Bill Rankin

"So, when I went into that sand in the corner, I was all out of shape, and sliding sideways. There was a car parked right in the middle of the turn, with two elderly people next to it.

"The lady was on the other side of the car going to the bathroom. As I slid by them, I seen her pulling her britches up. I thought I was going to run over them. It scared me as much as them, because I was afraid I was going to hit them.
"That's a true story. We all laughed about it, and I even talked with the couple afterwards."

In 1974, White was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. White placed White 31st in NASCAR's Top 50 drivers in1998. He also is inducted into the Georgia Motorsports Hall of Fame at Thunder Road in Dawsonville, Georgia.

White currently resides just outside Atlanta, Georgia.

=============================================

The first mystery 427 Chevy (above right) engine during test and development at the Desert Proving Grounds in Mesa, Arizona.  Although the car in the picture is a 1963 Chevy Impala SS,  this picture was made in November of 1962.  This car ran in excess of 180 mph during tests for the up-coming 1963 Daytona 500.

The man in the car is Rex White, the 1960 NASCAR Grand National Champion.  Standing beside the car is crew chief and engine Louie Clements.


Here we see the 61 Pontiac (right) of Bob Welborn and the 61 Chevy of Rex White
in a tight Draft during the running of the 1961 Daytona 500. The Pontiacs had the
most HP, so the Chevy's did a lot of drafting that day. A restoration of this
original 1961 Chevrolet Grand National car was recently completed.


In 1960, driving a 348 powered Chevy Impala, Rex  White and Louie Clements won the NASCAR National Championship.   In this picture we see them in victory lane ceremonies at Ashville-Weaverville Raceway posing for an early advertising photo for Perfect Circle Piston Rings.  

Note:  the McGurk shirt Louie is wearing and Rex  is wearing a Pure Racing Gas t-shirt.  This was formal racing attire for this time period.  No Pepsi or Coke in hand either.

This is a picture (right) of the original 1957 Chevy Factory Team. These were the famous "Black Widow" race cars assembled at Sedco in Atlanta.  In the picture, the race car 44 was driven by Rex White.  From left to right is Louie Clements, Bill Steele, Rex White, Crawford Clements,  and unknown for the last two. 

These cars started life as the light-weight Chevy 150 Business Coupe.  They were then converted for racing use by the team of factory race mechanics.  Among these modifications were the addition of the potent 283ci fuel injected Chevy small block that produced 283 hp.  This was the first American engine to produce one hp per cubic inch.  The cars also received the required NASCAR roll cage, half ton Chevy pickup real axels,  six lugs per wheel, Chevy pickup front spindles, steering linkages and brakes.  These cars clocked better than 140 mph on the sands at Daytona Beach.


Louis Clements and Crew - Rex in the middle


REX WHITE'S 1959 CHEVY CONVERTIBLE           By Don Lalla

Yankee 500
NASCAR Grand National Race
Norwood Arena Speedway
June 17,1961

        
Rex White (4), Emanuel Zervakis (85), Buck Baker (86), Ernie Gahan (55), Ned Jarrett (11) and the rest of
the 18 car field prepare to line up for the start of the Yankee 500.  
Photo courtesy of James "Fitzy" Fitzgibbons Collection

The NASCAR Grand National Division (known as the Winston Cup Division beginning in 1971) ran its only race at Norwood Arena in June 1961. This was the 29th race in the 1961 52 race schedule that took the Grand National Division all over the US as NASCAR toured the country trying to establish a fan base.

A new 1961 Karman Ghia Cabriolet from Herb Anderson Volkswagen was the pace car for the event. The manufacturer rated this cars top speed at 87 mph. Qualifying Pole Speed for the race was 55.87 mph. The average Race Speed was 53.827 mph.

The track opened at noon with qualifying from 2-5pm. Ticket prices were $3, $4 and $5. Minimum wage in June 1961 was $1 per hour, going to $1.15 per hour in September of 1961. The race started at 8:00pm and ended 2 hours, 19 minutes later. Only 1 caution flag was brought out for an engine failure.

A total of 18 cars (all 1959-1961 models) started the race with 11 cars running at the end. It was first thought that Rex White had won the race. Analysis of the scoring information placed Emanuel Zervakis 1/4 lap ahead of White at the finish line.

Well known local drivers Ed Flemke and Ernie Gahan ran the race. Flemke broke an axel on lap 231 to finish 12th. Gahan logged 335 laps to finish 11th.

Yankee 500 Race Results

     
Car #
Money Won
Laps Lead
Driver Home Town
Age
Start
Finish
Owner/Sponsor/Car
Laps
Status
Monroe Shock Chevrolet -1960
Emanual
Zervakis
Richmond, VA
31
3
1
85
500/500
$2,250
running
361
White-Clements Chevrolet - 1960
Rex White Spartanburg, SC
31
1
2
4
500/500
$1,000
running
125
B.G. Holloway Chevrolet - 1961
Ned Jarrett Newton, NC
28
9
3
11
$800
running
14
491/500
Buck Baker Chrysler - 1961
Buck Baker Charlotte, NC
41
5
4
86
476/500
$700
running
0
Jim Reed Chevrolet - 1961
Jim Reed Peekskill, NY
35
4
5
7
473/500
$600
running
0
Julian Petty Pontiac - 1961
Jim Paschal High Point, NC
35
2
6
14
467/500
$500
running
0
Buzz Woodward Ford - 1959
Buzz Woodward Coatesville, PA
?
11
7
90
456/500
$400
running
0
Dominic Persicketti Trenton, NJ
?
14
8
27
Ford - 1959
450/500
$300
running
0
Matt DeMatthews Ford - 1961
Sammy Packard Barrington, RI
?
13
9
38
444/500
$275
running
0
Wendell Scott Chevrolet - 1960
Wendell Scott Danville, VA
39
8
10
34
426/500
$250
running
0
John Koszeln Chevrolet - 1959
Ernie Gahan Dover, NH
34
7
11
55
335/500
$225
running
0
Ed Flemke New Britain, CT
30
17
12
60
Dodge - 1961
231/500
$175
axel
0
Budd Olsen Chevrolet - 1960
Budd Olsen Paulsboro, NJ
36
12
13
56
168/500
$175
DQ
0
wheel bearing
Harold Wilcox Bangor, ME
?
15
14
64
Oldsmobile - 1959
112/500
$150
0
rocker arm
Bob Devine New Fairfield, CT
?
10
15
24
Chevrolet - 1961
92/500
$150
0
Jimmy Pardue Chevrolet - 1961
Jimmy Pardue North Wilkesboro, NC
30
16
16
54
2/500
$150
piston
0
Cafe Burgundy Ford - 1960
Hoss Kagle Mt. Ranier, MD
?
6
17
66
2/500
$125
engine
0
Jimmy Mairs Wheaton, MD
?
18
18
57
Chevrolet - 1961
2/500
$125
con rod


Crawford Brothers working on Rex's '60 Chevy


#4 Rex White 1963 World 600 - Chasing Curtis Turner in the Smokey Yunick #13


Still chasing . . . . .

Rex White Win Summary

Race
Win#
Date Race Name Track
1 11/3/1957 Champion Speedway (1958 season) Champion Speedway-Fayetteville
2 6/29/1958 Asheville-Weaverville Asheville-Weaverville
3 5/24/1959 Fairgrounds Speedway Fairgrounds Speedway-Nashville
4 6/27/1959 Bowman Gray Stadium Bowman Gray Stadium
5 6/28/1959 Asheville-Weaverville Asheville-Weaverville
6 8/21/1959 Bowman Gray Stadium Bowman Gray Stadium
7 9/27/1959 Martinsville Martinsville
8 4/5/1960 Columbia Speedway Columbia Speedway
9 7/17/1960 Montgomery Air Base Montgomery Air Base
10 8/14/1960 Asheville-Weaverville Asheville-Weaverville
11 8/18/1960 Columbia Speedway Columbia Speedway
12 9/25/1960 Martinsville Martinsville
13 10/2/1960 North Wilkesboro North Wilkesboro
14 3/5/1961 Asheville-Weaverville Asheville-Weaverville
15 4/3/1961 Bowman Gray Stadium Bowman Gray Stadium
16 4/16/1961 North Wilkesboro North Wilkesboro
17 6/10/1961 Bowman Gray Stadium Bowman Gray Stadium
18 8/9/1961 Bowman Gray Stadium Bowman Gray Stadium
19 9/8/1961 Hickory Speedway Hickory Speedway
20 10/1/1961 North Wilkesboro North Wilkesboro
21 11/12/1961 Asheville-Weaverville Asheville-Weaverville
22 3/18/1962 Orange Speeway Orange Speeway
23 4/1/1962 Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds
24 4/23/1962 Bowman Gray Stadium Bowman Gray Stadium
25 6/23/1962 South Boston Speedway South Boston Speedway
26 7/7/1962 Columbia Speedway Columbia Speedway
27 9/7/1962 Hickory Hickory
28 10/28/1962 Atlanta Atlanta

Track Summary

Track Wins Poles
Asheville-Weaverville 5  
Atlanta 1  
Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds-Richmond 1  
Bowman Gray Stadium 6  
Champion Speedway-Fayetteville 1  
Columbia Speedway 3  
Fairgrounds Speedway-Nashville 1  
Hickory Speedway 2  
Martinsville 2  
Montgomery Air Base 1  
North Wilkesboro 3  
Orange Speedway 1  
South Boston Speedway 1  

Rex White winning a race at Sharder Field (Lynchburg Speedway) in
the early 1950's
L-R Rex White, AMS Chaplin Bill Brannon, Jimmy Mostella and Raymond Parks all had a few stories to tell about Rex. You can tell by the look on Rex's face he loved everyone of them.


Gold Thunder: NASCAR Champion Rex White

story by Anne B. Jones, PhD (Excerpted from her book, Gold Thunder)

At eight years old, working on his parents' Model T, Rex White had no idea the skills he was learning would change his life. He was unaware the car on which he labored represented hope to people around him, frustration to those trying to stop illegal moonshine. Automobiles were seen as transportation. It would be a half-century before they were symbols of a billion-dollar sport.

"I knew drivers who adapted their skills for quick mountain turns could modify their cars to run at high speed," he says today. "It was a source of pride to the boys, racin' through the valley impressin' their girls."

At that age, fish and deer held his interest longer than girls, but the screeching of tires would interrupt his dreams. At night, he'd lie in bed listening as liquor-laden cars raced by. Their sound would start as a hum in the distance and grow to a roar, a throbbing rolling thunder, echoing through the hills and piercing the night.

White was born in Taylorsville, N.C., during the depression. Like others who lived on a farm, his childhood was hard.

"Some people believe we survived on luck, but if we did, we created our own. You make yourself available for your luck to work for you. My Dad believed in workin' from can to can't, 'from mornin' when you can, 'til dark when you can't.' He said, 'Hard work ain't never killed nobody.'

"I was a mischievous child, tryin' to get out of chores, always sneakin' away. My biggest chore was plowing fields. Walking behind the mule, I learned perseverance. They weren't as fast as tractors, and they were slow. One walked in the furrow just plowed, and the other walked the new ground. I'd find a groove, set my pace, and follow along. I found if I hung in there, I'd get the job done. I learned that on the farm, before I ever raced, and it was on that farm I fell in love with speed. I was always tryin' to make somethin' go fast, the horse, the buggy, the washin' machine. I used to run our horses chasin' Indians.

Inexpensive Travel Accomodations. Nothing fancy here!"The first thing I ever raced was an old wagon. I had a couple of 'em I'd run off the bank behind our house and a hill near our church. My friend "Nom" and I would attach wheels to a homemade wooden axial, add a seat, tie a rope to the wheels for steerin' and be ready to roll.

"I finally got a bicycle and went flyin' through the woods and the roads. When we got cars on the farm I helped fix them, always having to improvise, especially with tools. We used what we had and I served as a tool myself. My hand was so small I could reach right in the transmission. I used to sit in our old Model T and my mind would go wild with imaginin'. I'd play with the wheels and press all the pedals."

When he was ten, White was stricken with polio. The illness left a damaged right leg and a limp. Although young and small for his age, he was determined to overcome it.

"At fifteen, eager to get away, I stole a few of my mama's chickens to sell, left home and headed for Washington. I found a bed on a park bench and a job at the Toddle House. Lying about my age, I became a cook.

"I was married and working in a gas station in Maryland when a man came by with a racing sign. He asked if he could put it in the window. I looked at that sign for weeks, savin' my pennies. When the time came for the race, my wife and I were there. Seeing the first race-car, I knew. I turned to my wife and told her that was what I wanted to do."

It was hard to talk to drivers or get near the pits. Seeing a few loose boards on a fence, he let himself in. Volunteering help, he worked himself into a job, eventually becoming a driver. Only 5'4" and having to adjust the car to his foot, he was an unlikely candidate. He just hung around the tracks until taken seriously.

In the early days, he raced without a sponsor. He'd sometimes pool his money with his crew, sleep in his car, and bathe in streams. Clever and resourceful, he learned to draft and cut corners. He adapted parts for each track and added inventions. When a sponsor came, it was Chevrolet. Drawing on his modification and driving skills, he raised the car's performance to its highest level.

W_H_O_O_M came Rex White, shocking Chevrolet fans and taking on big muscle cars. One of the winningest drivers in history, he currently ranks 21st on the Nascar all-time circuit, but hasn't raced in nearly forty years. One of NASCAR's "Top Fifty Driving Legends", his honors include:

  • 1960 Nascar Champion and Driver of the Year,

  • Winner of the Atlanta Motor Speedway Race in 1962,

  • and placement in the top ten Nascar Grand National drivers for six consecutive years.

Rex White Career Stats:

1 Championship(1960- finishing nearly 4000 points ahead of 2nd place winner Richard Petty).
He scored 6 wins and 35 top tens in racing that year.

* 28 Wins
* 36 Poles
* 110 Top Five
* 163 Top Ten
* 233 Races Entered
* 4583 Laps Led
* 66 Races Led
* 48,367 Laps Completed
* 36,674 Miles Completed

Anne Jones, PhD is a freelance writer living in Jonesboro, Georgia. A feature writer and columnist for The Kudzu Life and Bearing Good News, she is a die-hard NASCAR fan. You can reach Anne at annebjones@email.msn.com. Special thanks to Harlow Reynolds of Lynchburg, VA for submitting photos from his collection.*
 
















Above: Rex White-1960 Grand National Champion


Left: Jimmy Mostella, Raymond Parks and Rex White pose in front of the famous Richard Petty statue at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Fewest career wins when championship won:

This list shows the year of the first time a driver won the championship, his career
wins up to and including the year he won the title, and his overall
career wins.
                           Career Wins
                           After Winning   Total Career
    Year   Driver          Championship        Wins
-------------------------------------------------------
 1. 1950 - Bill Rexford         1                1
 2. 1949 - Red Byron            2                2
    1973 - Benny Parsons        2               21
 4. 1984 - Terry Labonte        4               22
 5. 1992 - Alan Kulwicki        5                5
 6. 1980 - Dale Earnhardt       6               76
 7. 2003 - Matt Kenseth         7                7
 8. 1951 - Herb Thomas          8               48
    1961 - Ned Jarrett          8               50
10. 1995 - Jeff Gordon          9               62
11. 1960 - Rex White           13               28
12. 2002 - Tony Stewart        15               15
13. 1952 - Tim Flock           16               39
    1989 - Rusty Wallace       16               54
    2000 - Bobby Labonte       16               20
16. 1954 - Lee Petty           18               54
17. 1962 - Joe Weatherly       22               25
    1999 - Dale Jarrett        22               31
19. 1956 - Buck Baker          26               46
20. 1966 - David Pearson       28              105
21. 1988 - Bill Elliott        29               43
22. 1970 - Bobby Isaac         32               37
23. 1964 - Richard Petty       36              200
24. 1981 - Darrell Waltrip     39               84
25. 1976 - Cale Yarborough     59               83
26. 1983 - Bobby Allison       79               84    (as of 12/03)
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Unsurprisingly, the first two years of NASCAR produced the champions
with the fewest career wins.
Half of the top 10 are from the modern era, which did surprise me a
little.
What really shocked me was how late into his career Bobby Allison won
his title.

Most seasons with multiple wins

Richard Petty         23
Cale Yarborough   17
Bobby Allison       17
Dale Earnhardt       16
David Pearson       15
Darrell Waltrip       15
Rusty Wallace       11
Lee Petty                  9


---------------------------------------------------
Multiple wins in a single season
Seasons in a row with multiple wins in each season
* - denotes streak that is still active (as of '01)

1.  Richard Petty        18 years (1960-1977)
2.  Cale Yarborough  13 years (1973-1985)
3.  Bobby Allison      10 years (1966-1975)
     Darrell Waltrip       10 years (1977-1986)
5.  Lee Petty                9 years (1952-1960)
     Dale Earnhardt       9 years (1983-1991)
6.  David Pearson       8 years (1971-1978)
    Jeff Gordon             8 years (1994-2001)*
8.  Bobby Allison       7 years (1978-1984)
9.  Herb Thomas         6 years (1951-1956)
    Buck Baker              6 years (1953-1958)
    Jack Smith               6 years (1957-1962)
    Fred Lorenzen         6 years (1961-1966)
    David Pearson        6 years (1964-1969)
    Benny Parsons       6 years (1976-1981)
    Bill Elliott                 6 years (1984-1989)*

   Rusty Wallace       6 years (1986-1991)*
    Davey Allison        6 years (1987-1992)
    Dale Jarrett              6 years (1996-2001)*

17. Rex White    5 years (1958-1962)
    Jeff Burton              5 years (1997-2001)*

                             Gov Cup Dixie 400

Winston Cup Career Wins (not current - as of '98)

         1. Richard Petty, 200
         2. David Pearson, 105
         3. Darrell Waltrip, 84
             Bobby Allison, 84
         5. Cale Yarborough, 83
         6. Dale Earnhardt, 76
         7. Lee Petty, 54
             x-Rusty Wallace, 54
         9. x-Jeff Gordon, 53
        10. Ned Jarrett, 50
            Junior Johnson, 50
        12. Herb Thomas, 48
        13. Buck Baker, 46
        14. x-Bill Elliott, 42
        15. Tim Flock, 40
        16. Bobby Isaac, 37
        17. Fireball Roberts, 34
        18. x-Mark Martin, 32
        19. Rex White, 28
        20. x-Dale Jarrett, 27
        21. Fred Lorenzen, 26
        22. Jim Paschal, 25
        23. Joe Weatherly, 24
        24. Terry Labonte, 22
        25. Benny Parsons, 21
              Jack Smith, 21
         x- still active


Rex racing Tim Flock # 83 at Charlotte 1961


Rex outside pole Martinsville 1960

               With legendary car owner Raymond Parks

J. B. Day   Augusta International Raceway, Georgia


In 1960, this is what most competitors saw.....

                          
                                                               Rex, Left, Tiger Tom Pistone, Right
                                                          Who's the man in the middle? Email Me

                                                          Jim Bray writes:  I think is Joe Lee Johnson maybe.

                         
                                                 Atlanta Win 1962. Looks like he's rather have the trophy girl!

Here is a list of the Most Popular Drivers 1956-1997
1956 Curtis Turner
1957 Fireball Roberts
1958 Glen Wood
1959 Junior Johnson
1960 Rex White
1961 Joe Weatherly
1962 Richard Petty
1963 Fred Lorenzen
1964 Richard Petty
1965 Fred Lorenzen
1966 Darel Dieringer
1967 Cale Yarborough
1968 Richard Petty
1969 Bobby Isaac
1970 Richard Petty
1971-73 Bobby Allison
1974-78 Richard Petty
1979 David Pearson
1980-83 Bobby Allison
1984-88 Bill Elliott
1989-90 Darrell Waltrip
1991-97 Bill Elliott

 

Nascar Legends at LLOAR Volusia Mall autograph signing 2002: (Left to Right)

Sammy Packard: An original member of the NASCAR founding board

Rex White: 1960 Grand National Champion

Marvin Panch

 

 


 

Rex White at autograph session always enjoying the attention of kids

 

Pictures and story found at Living Legends of Auto Racing Website

White awarded: Rex White, the 1960 Winston Cup (then Grand National) champion,
received the Smokey Yunick Award for pioneering achievement.

 

Charlotte 1961
Charlotte 1961 - Who is Rex talking with? Email Here
Jim Bray writes: This is Bobby Johns

 


 

Thanks to the vast web resources and the following for the material contained:
Gerald Hodges (The Racing Reporter), Stats: James Wheeler, Motorsport America, Nascar.com and some photos: Doug Allan.

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