Cale Yarborough | Class of 2012

NASCAR Hall of Fame member

As competitive as the sport has always been, NASCAR has had very few dynasties. Cale Yarborough’s reign in the late 1970s, though, was one of them.

(b. 3/27/39)

Hometown: Timmonsville, S.C.

Competed: 1957-88

Starts: 562

Wins: 83

Poles: 69

His string of three consecutive NASCAR premier series championships from 1976-78 was unprecedented — and unmatched until 2008, when Jimmie Johnson was crowned champion for the third straight year. Johnson won his fourth and fifth consecutive titles in 2009-10.

During his three-year dominance, Yarborough won 28 races — nine in 1976, nine in ’77 and 10 in ’78. His final championship points margin in those three years was never fewer than 195 points and was as much as 474 in 1978.

Those three years made Yarborough’s career, but he enjoyed success before and after. The fiery competitor was the series championship runner-up in 1973 and ’74 and again in 1980.

Yarborough totaled 83 victories in his 31-year career, ranks sixth all-time. His 69 poles rank fourth all-time. And he won the Daytona 500 four times (1968, ’77, ’83-84), a mark that ranks second only to Richard Petty’s seven.

When NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers list was compiled in 1998, suffice to say that William Caleb Yarborough was a shoo-in.


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