Cale Yarborough, a three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion in the 1970s, has died at the age of 84.
Yarborough’s crowning achievements include four Daytona 500 victories and five Southern 500 wins.
His championships in 1976, 1977 and 1978 made him the only driver to win three straight NASCAR titles until Jimmie Johnson‘s run of five in a row from 2006 to 2010. Yarborough and Johnson are tied on NASCAR’s career wins list with 83.
“Cale Yarborough was one of the toughest competitors NASCAR has ever seen,” NASCAR chairman and CEO Jim France said in a statement. “His combination of talent, grit and determination separated Cale from his peers, both on the track and in the record book. He was respected and admired by competitors and fans alike and was as comfortable behind the wheel of a tractor as he was behind the wheel of a stock car. On behalf of the France family and NASCAR, I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Cale Yarborough.”
Yarborough competed in NASCAR’s top series for more than four decades, making his debut in the 1957 Southern 500 and closing his career in Atlanta in 1988. He won his final race in Charlotte in 1985.
He also competed in open-wheel racing, including four appearances in the Indianapolis 500 with a best finish of 10th in 1972.