Hall inductees have strong ties to MIS

David Pearson: 9-time MIS winner and 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee

The second class of NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees was announced this week with two having strong ties to Michigan International Speedway.

Inductees of the 2011 class include David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Lee Petty, Ned Jarrett and Bud Moore. They will join current members Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr. and Junior Johnson, who were all inducted into the inaugural class last year.

“Congratulations to all the NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees,” MIS President Roger Curtis said. “These drivers are the foundation of the sport and helped build it into one of the most popular sports among fans today. Their success on the racetrack, especially here at MIS, put NASCAR racing on the map here in the Midwest.”

Pearson and Allison in particular had great success in the Irish Hills of Michigan in their careers, most notably Pearson, who holds MIS track records of nine NASCAR Cup victories and 10 pole positions.

Pearson reeled off an impressive string of nine wins from 1969 to 1978, making him the winningest driver in NASCAR Cup history at MIS, just ahead of Cale Yarborough (8 wins) and Bill Elliott (7). His 10 pole positions at MIS are four better than Elliott’s six, thus giving him two track records that won’t be touched for many years to come. He also won the IROC event here in 1975.

Sprint Cup drivers Mark Martin (5 MIS wins) and Jeff Gordon (5 MIS poles) are the only current competitors even close to Pearson’s success at MIS. He posted a stellar 20 top-10 finishes at MIS in just 29 starts with his last coming in 1986 (he finished 10th that year).

“David’s nine Cup victories and 10 poles here may be records that stand for a long time,” Curtis said. “To think that most of his success came in only a 10-year stretch of racing in the Irish Hills is ever more impressive. We salute him for all his tremendous racing accomplishments he had here at MIS. He is a wonderful ambassador for NASCAR and the sport of racing as a whole.”

Overall, Pearson is a three-time NASCAR champion whose career total of 105 victories is second on the all-time list. Pearson won his titles in 1966, ’68 and ’69. He also won the sport’s biggest event, the Daytona 500 in 1976. In 1998 he was named one of NASCAR’s “50 Greatest Drivers.”

Although he was born in Florida, Allison immediately became a fan favorite at MIS and still currently attends and supports many track events in the Irish Hills each summer. His on-track success at the speedway is also impressive, posting four NASCAR Cup wins, 25 top-10s and one pole in 37 career starts. His final Cup race at MIS came in 1987, where he placed seventh. He also won USAC Stock Car and IROC events at the track in 1978.

“Bobby is a truly great man who still holds so much passion for the sport,” Curtis said. “He has supported many charity events for MIS in the past and continues to do so each year, which we appreciate very much. Like Pearson, Bobby deserves a spot in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Because of him, the Allison family name runs deep in NASCAR and all of us here at MIS congratulate him in on all of his success.”

Allison, winner of the 1983 NASCAR premier series championship, ended his career with 84 victories, tied for third on the all-time list. In 1972, he won 10 races, had 12 second-place finishes and was the NASCAR premier series runner-up (to Richard Petty). Allison captured the NASCAR Modified Special Division championship in 1962 and ‘63 and then went on to win the Modified Division the following two years. In 1998, Allison was named one of NASCAR’s “50 Greatest Drivers.”

The NASCAR Hall of Fame broke ground in Charlotte on Jan. 25, 2007, and opened to the public on May 11, 2010. The facility honors the history and heritage of NASCAR and the many who have contributed to the success of the sport. More information can be found at www.NASCARHall.com.

Nestled in the lush Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan, Michigan International Speedway is the Great Escape, a venerable NASCAR national park where fans can get away and enjoy the very best in racing and camaraderie. It’s the love of racing and the thrill of a great time for race fans and drivers alike. 

The best, guaranteed lowest prices in 2011 will go to renewal customers and new customers who make a $30 goodwill deposit. Renewals are under way for 2010 ticket holders. New customers can log onto www.MISpeedway.com or call 800-354-1010 to leave a deposit. That deposit ensures race fans get the best pricing for 2011.

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