Joe Weatherly
Birthplace: Norfolk, Virginia
Born: May 29, 1922
Died: January 19, 1964
Cause of Death: racing crash
Awards: Named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers (1998)

1962 Grand National Champion

1963 Grand National Champion

1952 and 1953 NASCAR Modified National Champion

3 American Motorcycle Association championships

NASCAR Cup statistics
230 races run over 12 years.
Best Cup Position: 1st - 1962, 1963 (Grand National)
First Race: 1952 Southern 500 (Darlington)
Last Race: 1964 Motor Trend 500 (Riverside)
First Win: 1958 Nashville 200 (Nashville)
Last Win: 1963 unknown race (Hillsboro)
Wins Top Tens Poles
25 153 18

Joe Weatherly (May 29, 1922 - January 19, 1964) was a two-time NASCAR championship driver.


Weatherly was wounded while serving for the United States armed forces in North Africa during World War II. A German sniper's bullet struck him in the face in two teeth. He would use the scars to become known as the "Clown Prince of Automobile Racing".

Weatherly enjoyed behaving outrageously. He once took practice laps wearing a Peter Pan suit. Moreover, he frequently stayed out partying until the early hours, usually with fellow driver and good time buddy Curtis Turner [1].

Motorcycle careerEdit

He won three American Motorcycle Association (AMA) championships between 1946 and 1950, before he started racing stockcars.

NASCAR careerEdit

Weatherly began racing stockcars in 1950. "Little Joe" won the first modified event that he entered. He won 49 of the 83 stockcar races that he entered that season. In 1952 he won the NASCAR Modified National crown, and he again won 49 of 83 stockcar races that he entered. Weatherly won 52 more races, and won the Modified National crown again.

Weatherly had partial interested in what would later be called Richmond International Raceway from 1955 to 1956.

In 1956 he moved up to the NASCAR Grand National (later Sprint Cup) series. He drove a Ford car for Pete DePaolo Engineering.

In 1957 he drove for Holman-Moody.

Weatherly won NASCAR's Most Popular Driver Award in 1961.

He won two consecutive championships in 1962 and 1963 for Bud Moore Engineering. Moore didn't have enough resources to run the full season, so Weatherly frequently "bummed a ride".


He died on January 19, 1964 from head injuries sustained in a racing accident at the fifth race of the 1964 season at Riverside International Raceway. His head went outside the car and struck a retaining wall.

Weatherly's death would light the fire under NASCAR to mandate the window net, which was mandated in 1971. Window nets are used in most stockcar racing series to this day.

External linksEdit

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