NASCAR Hall of Fame profile: Herb Thomas

Our third installment in Stock Car Spin’s NASCAR Hall of Fame profile series focuses on Herb Thomas. Tomas is one of the five men selected to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame during a special ceremony at the Hall in Charlotte, N.C., on Feb. 8, 2013 (live coverage of banquet to be seen on SPEED). Other inductees include Buck Baker, Cotton Owens, Rusty Wallace and Leonard Wood.

Thomas was one of the early stars in NASCAR. He was third first driver to become a two-time champion at the sport’s top level when he claimed the title in 1953, withe his first coming just two years prior in 1951. His performance was none too shabby in that 1952 season in between, either. In 1952, Thomas ended the year second in championship points. As a matter-of-fact, the only season between 1951 and 1956 in which he didn’t finish out the year first or second in points was 1955 when he was fifth.

Thomas only competed in three more races after 1956, running two races in 1957 and making an appearance again for one race in 1962. And in the two seasons prior to his dominance of the sport, 1949 and 1950, he competed in a total of 17 out of 27 races.

Needless to say, when Thomas was on the track, there was a pretty good chance the day was going to end in victory lane. He posted two-consecutive 12-win seasons in 1953 and 1954, and that was while competing in only 37 and 34 races each year.

Thomas only competed in NASCAR’s top series for a few years, but he made that time count. In 228 starts, he won 48 times, so he was victorious in more than 20 percent of the races he entered. Thomas posted top-five finishes in more that half of starts, 122 to be exact.

No wonder he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.

After his racing career, Thomas ran a trucking company and a sawmill. He passed away in 2000.

Photo courtesy of ISC Archives/Getty Images

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