'Silver Fox' David Pearson, 3-time Daytona 500 champ, has died at age 83

Headline Surfer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Richard Petty's greatest rival in the heyday of old-school NASCAR racing was David Pearson, the two combining for 10 Daytona 500 victories.

With a record-setting seven Daytona 500 championships, Petty was the undisputed "King" of the superspeedway, with Pearson, known as the "Silver Fox," notching three Daytona 500 wins in his own right, including a last-lap crash involving the two drivers with Pearson crossing the checkered flag in the 1976 Daytona 500 after Petty's STP car slid off the track and stalled in the grass.

"I have always been asked who my toughest competitor in my career was. The answer has always been David Pearson," Petty said Monday night in a prepared statement after leaning Pearson had died at age 83. "David and I raced together throughout our careers and battled each other for wins -- most of the time finishing first or second to each other.

"It wasn't a rivalry, but more mutual respect," Petty continued. "David is a Hall of Fame driver who made me better. He pushed me just as much as I pushed him on the track. We both became better for it."


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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.