NASCAR legend Cale Yarborough, a three-time consecutive NASCAR Cup champion and four-time Daytona 500 winner, passed away at the age of 84, according to an announcement by NASCAR on Sunday (December 31).
The sad news follows a statement made in April by NASCAR Vice President John Dodson, expressing concerns about Yarborough’s health and requesting fans to keep the racing icon in their thoughts and prayers.
Cale Yarborough is survived by his wife, Betty Jo, whom he married in 1961, and their daughters Julie, Kelley, and B.J. Keep reading to discover details about Cale’s passing and learn more about his life.
How Did Cale Yarborough Die?
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France confirmed on Sunday, through a statement on social media, that Cale Yarborough had passed away. Currently, an official cause of death has not been disclosed
France said in a statement, “Cale Yarborough was one of the toughest competitors NASCAR has ever seen. 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,” the statement ends.
A Quick Look Into Cale Yarborough’s Life
Cale Yarborough, an American NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver, owner, businessman, farmer, and rancher, holds the distinction of being one of only two drivers in NASCAR history to clinch three consecutive championships, securing victories in 1976, 1977, and 1978. Revered as a prominent figure in stock car racing spanning the 1960s to the 1980s, he also participated in IndyCar events. The Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II featured a special model named in his honor, underscoring his widespread acclaim.
With a total of 83 wins, Yarborough shares the sixth position on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series winner’s list with Jimmie Johnson, trailing Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip, who are tied for fourth with 84 wins each. His remarkable winning percentage stands at 14.82%, ranking ninth overall and third among those with 500 or more starts.
Yarborough’s legacy includes four Daytona 500 victories, with his initial win in 1968 for the Wood Brothers, followed by triumphs in 1977 for Junior Johnson, and consecutive wins in 1983 and 1984 for Ranier-Lundy Racing. Notably, he clinched the National Motorsports Press Association Driver of the Year Award three times (1977, 1978, 1979).
Following his retirement from racing, Yarborough transitioned to team ownership with Cale Yarborough Motorsports. Beyond the realm of motorsports, he found success in various agricultural ventures, establishing himself as a rancher and farmer on his ranch in Florence, South Carolina.