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Tag Archives: Cale Yarborough

Matt McLaughlin Mouths Off: Hall’In Class

I’ve gotten a lot of email from readers asking me which five people I hope, or think, will make up the first set of inductees into NASCAR’s Hall of Fame. I’ve debated the topic with more than a few fans and have to agree that narrowing the group down to just five individuals is a difficult task -- though, in my mind, selecting four of the first five folks so honored is a no-brainer few can dispute. Let me preface my picks by saying that I feel no active driver, or even semi-active driver, should be considered for induction into the Hall of Fame.

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Mirror Driving: Logano A Legend Already?, Loudon’s Last Gasp, And Who’s Hall of Fame Worthy

*Joey Logano's surprise win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway made him the youngest driver ever to win a Sprint Cup race. Where does his season rank among other active drivers' rookie campaigns?* Jeff: Well, he’s probably the highest paid … But I am not surprised. Beth: He has actually surprised me.

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The Southern 500 and Darlington: Same As It Ever Was, Only Different

Saturday night’s Southern 500 at Darlington was more than just a trip down memory lane. The walls weren’t the only things that were a throwback at the minnow pond "Too Tough To Tame." Oh, sure, there were the usual reminders of how things have changed – the Car of Tomorrow, the race being run on a Saturday night in May instead of Labor Day weekend, Kyle Busch giving yet another tired, predictable, curt, and testy response before sprinting away like Usain Bolt after downing some tainted Taco Bell – but much like the last few weeks of racing, it was a refreshing look at no matter how much the face of racing has changed here, many things still remain the same.

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Not Yarborough vs. Johnson; Yarborough AND Johnson

Excuses, excuses. Everyone loves a good excuse, and this week, in the wake of Jimmie Johnson’s record-tying third straight Sprint Cup championship, I think I’ve heard them all. There are excuses why Johnson’s accomplishment isn’t as valid as Cale Yarborough’s was when he took three titles in a row in 1976-1978, compared to reasons why it was harder for Johnson to win the title under the Cup series’ current rules and with today’s competition. Over and over again, you hear this kind of "logic," and I use the term loosely, trying to explain away one driver’s accomplishments compared to an earlier or later time in the sport’s history. Well, the time for excuses is over.

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Is Jimmie Johnson’s Three Year Run As Good As Cale Yarborough’s Was?

In the wake of a seemingly inevitable third straight title for Jimmie Johnson and crew, John Close at CloseFinishes.com recently compared Johnson to the only other driver in the history of the sport to achieve that feat, the mighty Cale Yarborough. It’s a natural comparison to make, but Close was the first I saw to make it. So I decided to be second. Close hands the “better” title to Yarborough…“hands down”…based on comparing certain statistics—total wins, Top 5s, Top 10s, laps led, poles won. In that regard, Yarborough’s numbers are better. But to say that Yarborough scored better finishes and led more laps than Johnson did in their dominant three-year periods, while not an invalid argument, is not entirely a big-picture one.

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Drivers I Never Got To See, But Wish I Had

My first week in the States, I watched a "Beyond the Glory" program which focused on NFL quarterback Kurt Warner. Not knowing his story — remember, I’m a transplanted Brit — I was mesmerized by Warner’s meteoric rise from shelf stacker to Super Bowl MVP. Whether you like the guy or not, it would be churlish to deny his is an incredible "against all odds" tale — the very sort that makes sport so compelling to all of us. After coming so late (and so fast) into NASCAR, one of the most enjoyable parts of learning the sport has been researching the history of drivers and teams long past. Already through this column, I’ve exchanged email with a man whose father took him to the very earliest races on Daytona Beach -- a reminder that the sport's beginnings are still not forgotten 60 years after NASCAR began in 1948. I’ve learned quickly that there are many legendary drivers I’ve already missed out on, and so many stories that have already played out.

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That’s History Profile: Cale Yarborough

William Caleb Yarborough was born the son of a tobacco farmer on March 27th, 1939, just outside of Darlington, S.C. Later on in life, Cale would raise not tobacco but turkeys. He had little interest in the product, but more so what was happening down the road. 1950 was the first year of the Southern 500, the first super speedway oval specific to NASCAR, and one of the first to feature banking. Cale didn't have a ticket, so he slipped through a break in a chain linked fence to watch the action. A few years later he attempted to make the race, lying about his age to gain entrance. His first start at the track would be in 1957 driving a Pontiac for owner Bob Weatherly. Starting dead last, he'd only improve two positions to 42nd, a failed hub ending his day, but not his desire to race.

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