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• Three-time series champion (1966, '68-69) who won 105 races and 113 poles (both second alltime) over 27 years
• Took first at the 1976 Daytona 500, one of six victories at the track
• In his second and third title seasons had 27 total victories and 30 second-place finishes
• Most Popular Driver: '79 and '80
Richard Petty called Pearson a "better pure driver than I am, probably the best ever," and Petty should know: The drivers finished one-two in 63 races, with Pearson, the Silver Fox, winning 33 of those duels, including the '76 Daytona 500, during which they crashed on the final lap. In '69 Pearson became the first NASCAR driver to win more than $100,000 in back-to-back seasons. SI described him as a "relaxed driver [who] sometimes resembles a big bear just roused from hibernation." In '99 SI polled a panel of 40 NASCAR insiders, asking who had been the century's greatest driver. Pearson finished atop the list.