After a brief interruption of a couple of days, we’re continuing with our profiles of 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees to be inducted during a special ceremony at the Hall in Charlotte on Feb. 8, 2013. Today’s profile is Cotton Owens.
Some NASCAR competitors are successful as car owners and some are successful as drivers. A rare few are successful at both, and Owens is one of those few.
Owens won nine times as a driver at NASCAR’s top level between 1950 and 1964. Only nine wins in 15 seasons, what’s so great about that? I thought you may be asking that. Those 15 seasons weren’t full-time seasons. Owens only made 160 starts as a driver in the series that is now known as the Sprint Cup Series. Now that nine-win-tally looks pretty good, doesn’t it?
Competing on a part-time basis as a driver, Owens never claimed a championship at NASCAR’s top level, but in 1959 — the season during which he ran the most races — he came close to winning the title, instead of actual champion Lee Petty.
As a car owner, Owens fielded cars for other drivers including Junior Johnson and David Pearson, both already in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Johnson’s stint as a driver for Owens was short-lived, but Pearson stuck with the car owner for awhile and it paid off. Pearson, the second-winningest driver in NASCAR Cup level history claimed 27 of his 105 wins from behind the wheel of an Owens-owned entry.
The duo of driver Pearson and car owner Owens won a title in 1966. As a car owner, Owens can boast 38 race wins.
In 1998, Owens was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest drivers.
Photo courtesy of ISC Archives/Getty Images
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