Born: April 6, 1923
Died: Aug. 9, 2000
Hometown: Olivia, N.C.
Thomas was truly one of NASCAR's first superstars. He was the first to win two Cup Series championships (1951, '53). He finished second in the points standings in 1952 and '54 giving the North Carolina veteran top-two championship finishes in four consecutive seasons.
He finished outside the top two in the championship only once (fifth in 1955) between 1951-56. Thomas won the '51 championship driving self-owned cars.
Thomas won the second running of Darlington Raceway's famed Southern 500 in 1951 and with back-to-back victories in 1954-55 was the race's first three-time winner.
Thomas won 48 times in series competition, a number that ranks 12th all time. His 48 victories in 228 starts equates to a series-record winning percentage of 21.05. Thomas won races in seven consecutive seasons from 1950-56.
After retiring from competition following the 1962 seasons, Thomas went on to start a trucking company and sawmill. He was named one of NASCAR's "50 Greatest Drivers" in 1998.