Herb Thomas passes away

SANFORD, N.C. (Aug. 9, 2000) Herb Thomas, a two-time champion of what is now known as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, died Wednesday. He was 77 and lived in Sanford. The trailblazing contributions of Thomas in what was then called NASCAR Grand...

SANFORD, N.C. (Aug. 9, 2000) Herb Thomas, a two-time champion of what is now known as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, died Wednesday. He was 77 and lived in Sanford. The trailblazing contributions of Thomas in what was then called NASCAR Grand National Racing earned him a spot on the list of 50 greatest drivers, a compilation released two years ago when the sanctioning body celebrated its golden anniversary.

"As one of NASCAR's all-time, top-50 drivers, Herb Thomas enjoyed one of the finest careers a driver has had in the 52-year history of our sport," NASCAR president William C. France said. "The two championships he earned in the 1950s were important contributions in helping establish NASCAR's place in motorsports. His mark has definitely been stamped in the record books. Our thoughts go out to his family in this time of sorrow."

In addition to winning NASCAR Grand National titles in 1951 and '53, Thomas won 48 races in his career, placing him 12th on the sport's all-time list.

Thomas competed in 230 races, winning 38 poles and recording 156 top-10 finishes.

He led the most laps and the most races on the circuit in 1952, '53 and '54.

Thomas won his first race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va., on Oct. 15, 1950, and his last at Merced Fairgrounds in Merced, Cal., on June 3, 1956.

Thomas won the Southern 500 in 1951, 1954 and 1955. The last of those three triumphs came despited being badly injured in an accident slightly more than three months earlier.

For his career, Thomas won $139,944 before retiring in 1962.

Thomas was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 1965, and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1994.

-nascar.com-

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Series Vintage , NASCAR Cup