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R.I.P. Cotton Owens....

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R.I.P. Cotton Owens....

Post  Media Mogle on Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:51 pm

Cotton Owens, the Hall of Fame driver and car owner whom David Pearson referred to as his hero, has passed away just weeks after being selected to the 2013 class of the NASCAR shrine.
Winner of two NASCAR modified titles as a driver and a premier-series championship as a car owner, Everett "Cotton" Owens was 88. He had recently been in poor health, and was unable to attend the May 23 ceremony in downtown Charlotte where he was selected as one of the five members of the Hall of Fame to be inducted next year. He instead watched the ceremony on television back home in Spartanburg, S.C., surrounded by his children. His condition was exacerbated by the passing of his wife Dot, who died in April.
Owens passed away Thursday morning. His death was confirmed by a NASCAR Hall of Fame official.
"He was always an honest, hard-working individual, and everybody always saw him as that," Owens' grandson Brandon Davis said at the Hall of Fame ceremony last month.
Within NASCAR circles, though, Owens was seen as a giant. As a driver he won more than 100 races on the sport's modified circuit, nine more on what is now the Sprint Cup tour, and lost a close battle with Lee Petty for the 1959 Cup championship. As an owner, he fielded cars driven by some of the best of his era -- Junior Johnson, Mario Andretti, Ralph Earnhardt, Fireball Roberts, Buck Baker and Pearson, the latter of whom won the 1966 premier-series title in Owens' Dodge.
Owens, who in his later years owned a sizeable automobile salvage yard, was born in Union, S.C., but became a central figure in nearby Spartanburg back when the city was the hub of NASCAR. "I always pulled for him before I ever started racing," said Pearson, also a Spartanburg resident. "He's always been my hero. I'd go by his shop. I always liked him because he's in my hometown right here."
As a car owner, Owens was very hands-on. "Cotton did all the work," Pearson said. "He'd build motors, he'd build cars. ... He did real well in everything he did. ... He did a lot of stuff himself getting the car ready, things a lot of people hadn't done. Anybody that deserves going into the Hall of Fame, he definitely needs to."

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