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William Caleb Yarborough was born on March 27, 1940. in Timmonsville,
SC. He initially tried his hand as a turkey farmer and a substitute
running back on the Sumter, South Carolina Generals football team.
Cale started racing in 1957, with a goal of becoming a NASCAR star. In
five years there were 12 Grand National starts and only $535 in prize
money. In 1965, Yarborough won once and finished in the top ten 34
In 1966, he went with the Wood Brothers and by 1967, the legend was beginning to build. In Atlanta, Yarborough won his first 500 mile race. He went to Indianapolis, qualified the Bryant Heating Special for the 7th row in the Indy 500, then flew to Charlotte and won the pole in NASCAR's World 600. 1968 was really Yarborough's year as he won both Daytona races, the Atlanta 500 and the Southern 500. He continued to drive race cars and win races until October 4, 1988, when he announced an end to a driving career that spanned 31 years.
When he retired, Yarborough had logged 83 Winston Cup wins, 50 superspeedway victories and 48 superspeedway poles. He won three consecutive Winston Cup titles in 1976, 1977 and 1978. He was also the 1977 Driver of the Year.
'78 Winston Cup Season Recap
WINSTON CUP STANDINGS (TOP 10)
Rank Driver Points
1. Cale Yarborough 4841
2. Bobby Allison 4367
3. Darrell Waltrip 4362
4. Benny Parsons 4362
5. Dave Marcis 4335
6. Richard Petty 3949
7. Lennie Pond 3794
8. Richard Brooks 3769
9. Buddy Arrington 3626
10. Richard Childress 3566
In 1978, Cale Yarborough did the unthinkable. He captured his third consecutive NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship by winning 10 of the 30 races on the schedule and turning in 23 top five finishes. Over the course of his record-setting three-year reign, Yarborough won 28 out of 90 races.
As Yarborough ran away with the title, four NASCAR legends were involved in the most intense battle for second place in the standings and were separated by 32 points after the season finale, and even less heading into it.
FIVE RACES TO GO: North Wilkesboro, NC - Cale Yarborough's third consecutive championship was within reach, especially after taking the lead from Darrell Waltrip with 19 laps to go and winning the race at North Wilkesboro. The second through fifth positions in the standings were up for grabs as Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip, Benny Parsons and Dave Marcis were within fifty points of one another. At North Wilkesboro, Allison finished third, Waltrip second, Parsons sixth and Marcis eighth.
FOUR RACES TO GO: Charlotte, NC - Bobby Allison made up a lot of ground on Cale Yarborough as he took the checkered flag at Charlotte and Yarborough finished in the 22nd position. However, the schedule was nearing an end and one good performance from Yarborough would spell the end of Allison's championship hopes. Allison was busy enough with the other contenders, as Darrell Waltrip turned in an impressive second place finish and Dave Marcis a third place. Benny Parsons was caught in a crash and finished 28th.
THREE RACES TO GO: Rockingham, NC - With a dominating performance at North Carolina Motor Speedway, Cale Yarborough got his tenth win of the season and clinched his third consecutive title. Finishing two laps ahead of Bobby Allison, Yarborough sent most of the spectators home before they could witness history. True to the championship standings, Darrell Waltrip finished third, Benny Parsons fourth, and Dave Marcis eighth.
TWO RACES TO GO: Hampton, GA - Dave Marcis' third place effort at Atlanta International Raceway, accompanied by Darrell Waltrip's accident and 28th place finish, put him in second place in the point standings going into the season finale. Bobby Allison, who finished sixth, succumbed to Marcis, as did Benny Parsons and his fifth place finish. Three-time champion Cale Yarborough finished in eighth place.
FINAL RACE: Ontario, CA - Although Cale Yarborough finished second and had already wrapped up the 1978 championship, the season finale proved to be one of the most interesting races in the history of the modern era points system. Bobby Allison took the checkered flag at Ontario which vaulted him from fifth to second in the final point standings. Consequently, Dave Marcis struggled to a 27th place finish and fell from second to fifth in the standings. Darrell Waltrip finished in fifth and Benny Parsons in eighth to break their tie at third. Waltrip ended the season five points behind Allison and Parsons ended the season 12 points behind Waltrip. Dave Marcis, previously second, finished the year 15 points behind Parsons, 32 points behind Allison in second.
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