Pearson feted by officials, fellow drivers

Tuesday, July 10, 1973 – Less than one week after his victory in the Medal of Honor Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway, driver David Pearson was honored by city and state officials, fellow competitors and citizens of his hometown of Spartanburg, S.C. “David Pearson Day” paid tribute to the 38-year-old, three-time NASCAR premier series champion who had scored a series-best 20 superspeedway victories.

Taking part in the festivities were South Carolina Gov. John C. West, Lt. Gov. Earle Morris, as well as numerous other political figures from the local and state level.

Among the drivers who turned out to honor Pearson were Richard Petty, Bobby Isaac, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison and Donnie Allison. Members of the Wood Brothers Racing team, which fielded the No. 21 for Pearson, were on hand as was country musician and racer Marty Robbins.

At a “Roast Pearson” luncheon, much was made of the driver’s somewhat miserly ways. He was presented with a framed cancelled check for $5.22, Pearson’s first prize money from racing. After Pearson stated the amount was likely “about right,” promoter/publicist Joe Littlejohn quipped “You know it’s right. You’ve probably still got it.”

The story was also told about how Pearson was reluctant to spend $15 in order to compete at NASCAR sanctioned events early in his career. Eventually he was convinced and it paid off handsomely. In ’73 he became only the second driver to earn more than $1 million during his career.

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