NASCAR America: Richard Petty, Leonard Wood remember David Pearson

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When David Pearson was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011, one of the people he thanked was Richard Petty.

“And I want to thank Richard Petty too,” Pearson said. “He’s probably the one that made me win as many as I did.

“I’d run hard because he’d make me run hard.”

Richard Petty paid remembrance to Pearson on Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America.

“The better he was, the better I had to be to compete with him,” Petty said. “I think it was just one of those deals that came through. Two personalities were lucky enough to have winning cars.”

And win they did. Pearson amassed 105 wins, second only to Petty’s 200.

They finished first and second in the same race 63 times. Pearson won just over half of them: 33. 

Pearson found his greatest success with the Wood Brothers – and they had their greatest success win him – 43 of Pearson’s 105 wins came while driving the famed No. 21.

Leonard Wood, who was Pearson’s crew chief from 1972-79 called in to offer his memories.

“He was just the greatest driver I ever worked with,” Wood said. “I can’t say enough about how much he knew how to enter and exit a corner is just unbelievable. He had the perfect line. … If you set the car up and it wasn’t correct, he knew how to find a line that did work the best for that particular setup.”

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