Cotton Owens
Born 5/21/1924
Hometown Template:Country flagicon Union, South Carolina
Awards Named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers (1998)

International Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee (2008)

National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame inductee (1970)

1957 Daytona Beach Road Course winner

two time Modified Series champion (1953 and 1954)

1966 Grand National championship car owner (David Pearson)
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series statistics
160 races run over 15 years
Best cup position 2nd - 1959 (Grand National)
First race 1950 Daytona Beach Road Course
Last race 1964 Orange Speedway race
First win 1957 Daytona Beach Road Course
Last win 1964 Capital City 300 (Richmond)
Wins Top tens Poles
9 84 10
Everett "Cotton" Owens "the King of the Modifieds" (born May 21, 1924 at Union, South Carolina) was a NASCAR driver. For five straight years (1957-61), Owens captured at least one Grand National (now Sprint Cup) series win.

Modified driving careerEdit

His career began in the 1950s in what is now known as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. He earned over 100 feature wins. He was the 1953 and 1954 champion.

Grand National driving careerEdit

Cotton's NASCAR (Grand National) career began in 1950 when he ran three races. He finished 13th in the point standings. He'd enter a few races over the next several seasons without a win.

Cotton's first win came on February 17th, 1957 at the series' premiere event: the Daytona Beach Road Course). Cotton Owens drove a 1957 Pontiac to victory; beating runner-up Johnny Beauchamp by 55 seconds with the first-ever 100 mph (101.541 mph) average race on the sand. The win was also Pontiac's first NASCAR win.

He had his next trip to victory lane in 1958 at Monroe County Fairgrounds at Rochester, New York.

In 1959, Owens finished second to Lee Petty in the race for the championship. Though Cotton only won one race that season (at Richmond International Raceway), Cotton was making a name for himself as a racer. He attempted 37 races that season, with 22 Top 10s and 13 Top 5s.

In 1961 he had his most productive season with 11 Top 5s and four wins in only 17 starts. He had a win at his hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina (Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds).

Car ownerEdit

In 1962 he hired legendary driver and car owner Junior Johnson. He also started his relationship with fellow Spartanburg resident David Pearson.

He came out of retirement in 1964 to prove that he could beat Pearson. He beat Pearson in his final career win (at Richmond). Two races later he finished second in his final career race (to Ned Jarrett).

In 1965, the Chrysler Hemi engine was not allowed in NASCAR. Owens and Pearson boycotted NASCAR, and ran a Hemi in the back of a Dodge Dart drag racing car. They ran nitro and alcohol in the Experimental class.

They returned to NASCAR in 1966, and they won the Grand National Championship. They parted ways early in the 1967 season. During their six seasons together Owens and Pearson combined for 27 wins in 170 races.

Cotton was fortunate to have some of the biggest names in the sport drive his cars over the years. Drivers for Cotton Owens included many legends: David Pearson, Buddy Baker, Pete Hamilton, Marty Robbins, Ralph Earnhardt, Bobby Isaac, Junior Johnson, Benny Parsons, Fireball Roberts, Mario Andretti, Charlie Glotzbach, and Al Unser. In all, a total of 25 drivers climbed behind the wheel of Owens' cars in 291 races, earning 32 victories and 29 pole positions.

In total, as a car owner and as a driver, Owens' career statistics include 41 wins and 38 poles in 487 races.


  • Recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor awarded by the Governor of South Carolina, created in 1971 to recognize lifetime achievement and service to the State of South Carolina. September 16, 2006
  • Member Darlington Records Club
  • Member NASCAR Mechanics Hall of Fame
  • Member NASCAR Legends
  • Pioneer of Racing Award, Living Legends of Auto Racing, February 15, 2006
  • Presented with the Smokey Yunick Award for “Lifetime Achievement in Auto Racing” on May 28, 2000
  • Honored by the Vance County Tourism Dept., Henderson, NC with the “East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame Motorsports Pioneer Award” on October 16, 2005
  • Recipient of the “Car Owner’s of the 1960s” award by the Old Timer’s Racing Club, 1996


  • Prepared first car to run 200 mph in a NASCAR sanctioned event at Talladega 1970 with Buddy Baker at the wheel of his 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
  • Won NASCAR's first live televised race
  • Gave Dodge its last NASCAR victory in a wing car.
  • Earned Pontiac its first NASCAR win when Cotton Owens won on the old beach course at Daytona in 1957 driving a '57 Pontiac prepared by Ray Nichels.

External linksEdit

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