Saturday, January 03, 2009

Sam McQuagg dies at 73

Sam McQuagg, the 1965 rookie of the year in what was then NASCAR’s Grand National Series (now Sprint Cup), died Saturday morning. He was 73.

McQuagg competed in 62 races in NASCAR’s top series, getting a victory in the 1966 Firecracker 400 at Daytona in a Dodge owned by Ray Nichels.

He won more than 250 feature races at local tracks, highlighted by his 1963 season at Thunderbowl Speedway in Valdosta, Ga. That year, McQuagg won 35 of 37 features and caught the eye of a woman named Betty Lilly of Valdosta. She gave McQuagg $25,000 and he used that to finance his rookie NASCAR campaign in 1965, when he had five top-10 finishes.

McQuagg was leading the Southern 500 during his rookie year when Cale Yarborough tried to pass him. Yarborough wrecked, flying over the guardrail and rolling several times before ending up in the parking lot. Yarborough was not injured.

McQuagg got a shot with the Dodge factory-backed team in 1966 and then drove for car owner Cotton Owens the following year. At Darlington in 1967, McQuagg wrecked in his own car, rolling several times and going over the guardrail. He scaled back to more local track racing after that and made his final Cup start in the 1974 World 600 at Charlotte..

McQuagg worked as a commercial pilot after retiring as a racer. He was a member of the Jacksonville Speedway and the Georgia Automobile Racing halls of fame.

Patrick, Howard together again in endurance race

Danica Patrick will race in the Rolex 24 for the second straight year, joining the lineup for a car co-owned by NASCAR team owner Richard Childress.

Patrick will compete along with Casey Mears, a former Rolex 24 winner, as well as Rob Finlay and three-time winner Andy Wallace in the Childress-Howard Motorsports No. 2 Pontiac Crawford.

Three days of testing for the Jan. 24-25 event began Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Three-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson is among the other drivers participating this year, as are Kurt Busch, Scott Pruett and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Robby and the rally update

The Dakar Rally began its 16-day journey scheduled to cover more than 6,000 miles on Saturday.

NASCAR’s Robby Gordon completed the stage in 2 hours 50 minutes 40 seconds, leaving him 17th in the overall standings, 14 minutes 25 seconds behind the leader. The stage went from the start in Buenos Aires to Santa Rosa de la Pampa in Argentina.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember that race at Darlington very well with Cale going over the wall in Banjo Mattheus #27 Ford.

Rest in peace Sam McQuagg.

Anonymous said...

Thanks David.

Rest In Peace Mr. McQuagg.

Anonymous said...

Leave it to Poole to get it wrong. Sam was driving the Cotton Owens owned #6 Dodge in the 1967 Darlington wreck. He hit the concrete pit wall on the front stretch and bounced back into the main straightaway, tumbling a few times before stopping wheels up near the end of pit road.

David Poole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Poole said...

Anonymous No. 3 -- Sorry, I did not mean to say McQuagg owned the car he was driving when he crashed at Darlington. I can see how the blog would be read that way, however. My fault. But the source material I had described the wreck the way I wrote about it.

Anonymous said...

JUST ANOTHER SLEEPER,BORING STORY BY POOLE WHO GOT IT WRONG BECAUSE HE DON'T KNOW WHAT HES WRITING ABOUT OUT.POOLE YOUR JOB SCARED AND YOU'LL SCRAPE THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL FOR A STORY...EVEN STORIES YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT.

Monkeesfan said...

McQuagg certainly made a mark in NASCAR. At the 1991 old timers race at Charlotte he joked that Cale asked him about being sent over the wall at Darlington and McQuagg said in jest "I'd do it again if you get in the way."

Monkeesfan said...

Anonymous #6 - David makes mistakes and gets things wrong no more frequently than the bulk of the press. Before you cast aspertions on particular pieces, remember that.

Carolyn said...

David: thanks for writing this - I don't remember this, but enjoyed reading it. As far as some of these rude people that get on these blogs to show their a...; I cannot believe they are nascar fans. I am sure they are perfect!
Carolyn

Anonymous said...

Better source material with photos: "40 Years of Stock Car Racing", Greg Fielden. 1967 Southern 500.

- Anonymous No. 3

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