Pearson finds success with Masoni ride

Sunday, May 28, 1961 – Future Hall of Fame driver David Pearson scores his first win in NASCAR’s premier series when he captured the World 600 – while driving on three tires and a rim. Pearson’s No. 3 Pontiac, owned by Daytona Beach, Fla.-businessman John Masoni, had a three-lap lead on Fireball Roberts when the right-rear tire trouble surfaced. He nursed the car around the 1.5-mile track for the final lap and a half, with a shower of sparks coming off the rim.

Pearson, 26, had won Rookie of the Year honors the previous year, driving his own entry in 22 of 44 races. For ’61, he took the ride with Masoni and chief mechanic Ray Fox. The 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway was one of three wins for Pearson and the team that season.

Richard Kagle of Green Belt, Md., lost his left leg when his No. 2 Ford was pierced by the guard rail during a crash. The metal severed his leg below the knee. Kagle, who was transported to a local hospital, was making his 25th start in the series.

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