Cotton Owens Added to List of Darlington Stripe Zone Guests
Darlington, SC - (February 19, 2007) Everett "Cotton" Owens has been added to the list of drivers scheduled to make appearances in the Darlington Stripe Zone on Saturday, May 12.
Owens, known as the "King of the Modifieds," began his NASCAR career in 1950, when he ran three races. He finished 13th in the point standings. Over the course of the next few seasons, he competed in several events, but remained winless.
His first win came on February 17th, 1957, at the series' premier event - the road course at Daytona Beach, Owens drove a 1957 Pontiac to victory, beating runner-up Johnny Beauchamp by 55 seconds with the first-ever 100 mph (101.541) average race speed on the sand. The win was also Pontiac's first NASCAR victory.
In 1959, Owens finished second to Lee Petty in the championship standings. His most productive season as a driver came in 1961, with 11 top five finishes and four wins in only 17 starts.
In 1964, Owens came out of retirement to prove that he could beat fellow Spartanburg, SC native David Pearson. He did beat Pearson at Richmond; it was his final career win. Two races later he finished second to Ned Jarrett in his final career race.
In 1965, the Chrysler Hemi engine was not allowed in NASCAR. Car owner Owens and driver Pearson boycotted the series that year, and ran a Hemi in the back of a Dodge Dart drag racer. In 1966 they returned to NASCAR and won the Grand National Championship. The pair parted ways early in 1967. During their six seasons together Owens and Pearson combined for 27 wins in 170 races.
As a car owner and driver, Owens' combined career statistics include 41 wins and 38 poles in 487 races. He is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame, and was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers during the 50th anniversary celebration in 1998.
As an owner, Owens had some of the biggest names in the sport drive his cars over the years, including, in addition to Pearson, Buddy Baker; Pete Hamilton; Ralph Earnhardt; Bobby Isaac; Junior Johnson; Benny Parsons; Fireball Roberts; Mario Andretti; and Al Unser.
Located in the Wachovia Hospitality Village outside Turn 3, the Darlington Stripe Zone gives fans an opportunity to eat, relax and interact with NASCAR personalities on race day. Stripe Zone admission is limited in number and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Darlington Stripe Zone admission includes food and beverages (including four beer tickets); live entertainment; a pre-race pit pass; a commemorative event souvenir; and question-and-answer sessions featuring current and former NASCAR superstars. In addition to Owens, Jeff Burton is scheduled to make an appearance.
The 2007 Dodge Avenger 500 weekend will include practice and qualifying for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series on Friday, May 11, followed by the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 NASCAR Busch Series race under the lights that evening. Denny Hamlin is the defending champion.
On Saturday, May 12, Darlington will host Cup Series racing for the 58th consecutive season as Greg Biffle attempts to join the short list of drivers to win three events in a row at NASCAR's most historic venue. The 2007 Dodge Avenger 500 will be run under the lights in its entirety.
Tickets for all events are on sale now. For more information, call the Raceway ticket hotline toll-free at 866.459.RACE, or visit www.racetickets.com.
Contact: Darlington Raceway Public Relations 843.395.8892