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Crash and Burn: 5 Of the Worst NASCAR Crashes of All Time 13

Posted on March 14, 2014 by Dixie Somers
Fireball Roberts died following a 1964 crash in Charlotte.

Fireball Roberts died following a 1964 crash in Charlotte.

When it comes to NASCAR, many people only see cars driving in circles for a few hours, with zero excitement, competition, or intrigue. However, this is a fast-paced, dangerous sport that is never short of close calls and frightening accidents and crashes. Yes, crashes are common in NASCAR, however, some look a lot worse than they actually are. The following are some of the worst crashes we’ve seen since the beginning of NASCAR:

Fireball Roberts, Charlotte 1964
Glenn “Fireball” Roberts was part of a deadly domino effect during the 1964 World 600 when he tried to avoid the crashed cars of Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett. Roberts’ Ford hit the wall and burst into flames. Badly burnt, he was taken to the hospital where he died weeks later after slipping into a coma. This wreck prompted the development of mandatory fire suits, rubber fuel cells and in-car fire extinguishers.

Richard Petty, Darlington 1970
Richard Petty was part of a bad crash took place in Darlington on May 9, 1970. He broke his shoulder during the Rebel 400 when his Plymouth rolled after making contact with the retaining wall.

It was the first NASCAR accident shown live on TV, and viewers could see Petty’s arm dangle out the side window opening when the car flipped and eventually landed on its roof. This incident prompted NASCAR to install mandatory protective nets subsequently in all its race cars.
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Sports Memories: Fireball Roberts 1

Posted on July 02, 2009 by Dean Hybl

Fireball Roberts won the first Forecracker 400

Fireball Roberts won the first Forecracker 400

Much fanfare is being made this week regarding the 25th anniversary of Richard Petty’s record setting victory in the 1984 Firecracker 400. While Petty is certainly worthy of being honored, let’s also not forget the accomplishments of the man who won the first Firecracker race 50 years ago: Glenn “Fireball” Roberts.

When the Daytona International Speedway opened in 1959, the big summer race at the speedway was originally scheduled to be an open wheel (Indy car) race. However, after a flurry of accidents at an April event, open wheel racing was permanently barred from the track.

That left an opening for a second NASCAR event to go with the season opening Daytona 500.

Originally called the Firecracker 250, the race was 100 laps until being expanded to the current 400 miles (160 laps) in 1963.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

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