Everett "Cotton" Owens, also known amongst racing fans at "The King of the Modifieds", died on Thursday. He was 88. Kimberly Meesters, Manager of External Relations of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, confirmed his passing with the Associated Press this morning. However, no other information regarding Owens' death has been released. Although details are sketchy, it's believed that his death is related to his struggle with lung cancer.
Cotton, who was born in Union, South Carolina on May 21st, 1924, began his racing career in 1950 at the Daytona Beach Road Course. His first win, however, didn't come about until seven years later at the same event. Overall, his driving career spanned over 14 years, during which he accrued 9 wins, 84 top tens, and 10 poles. Although his last race took place in 1964, his contributions to NASCAR didn't end there.
After stepping out of the driver's seat, Cotton turned his attention to car ownership. Over the years, Owens would have a number of high-profile drivers take the wheel in one of his cars, including 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. He's considered by many to be one of the pioneers of modern NASCAR racing.
On May 23rd, it was announced that Cotton would be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2013. In addition to this honor, Cotton has also received the following awards:
- Inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009
- Inductee in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2008
- Named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998
- Inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame in 1970
- Recipient of the Order of the Palmetto in 2006
- Presented with the Smokey Yunick Award for “Lifetime Achievement in Auto Racing” in 2000
As one can imagine, the NASCAR community is saddened by Cotton's passing. To check out what some individuals are saying about the beloved driver's death, take a look at the posts embedded below, all of which have been culled from the micro-blogging website Twitter.
Photo appears courtesy of CottonOwens.com
Cotton Owens, recently elected to NASCAR Hall of Fame, died this morning. News released by his grandson. He was 88, had battled cancer.
Rest In Peace Cotton Owens. Thankful i had the opportunity to meet and speak with Cotton on a few occasions.
#NASCAR pioneer Cotton Owens passing away this morning. He will be missed
#NASCAR Hall of Famer Cotton Owens. So glad he could enjoy the news.