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Dr. Don Tarr
Born: May 4, 1929 
Home: Miami Beach, FL
 

The Doctor Is In…The Driver’s Seat       by JEREMY T. SELLERS on NOVEMBER 19, 2009

His statistics aren’t what a racing fan would consider stellar, and his time in the cup series was short compared to today’s standards.  However, Don Tarr is perhaps one of the most unique individuals to grace the pavement in NASCAR’s premier series. 


Born May 4th, 1929, hailing from the Miami Beach area, he only competed 48 times over a five year span from 1967 to 1971.  However, out of these few events came some relatively impressive accomplishments.

 

The first physician ever to compete in Grand National, said Bill France, Sr. made the connections that resulted in driving for Ray Fox’s Chrysler team. France’s efforts benefitted both Tarr and NASCAR, putting Tarr into highly competitive cars and generating considerable promotional publicity for the races he entered. “I was a doctor,” Tarr said, “so I was a gimmick”.

 

Pairing with legendary crew chief and car owner, Ray Fox in 1967, Don set the speed record for qualifying a Dodge Charger at 187.912 mph at the new Alabama International Speedway in 1969.  This is what we now know as Talladega! 

 

Ever wonder when the "in-car" broadcasts began?  Well, at the Firecracker 400 on July 4, 1970, Tarr pioneered this concept on ABC’s Wide World of Sports communicating with commentators Jim McKay and Chris Economaki.  By the way, he finished 6th!   Also, Don was the first active driver to serve as a commentator from the pit area from Nashville Speedway on ABC in 1970.  Though he only compiled nine top ten finishes in his career at tracks such as Daytona, Charlotte, Michigan, Darlington, Atlanta, and Talladega, it was what he did off the track that perhaps made him most diverse to the sport of stock car auto racing.

 

Long before Dr. Jerry Punch took to the microphone for ESPN, Dr. Don Tarr, MD was sailing around superspeedways to earn the title of "World’s Fastest Physician".  Now over 80 years young, he looks as suave now as he did then, and still manages to see approximately 100 patients a week in his Mountain City, TN medical practice near Bristol.  A far cry from his Miami, Florida area up-bringing, but hardly ironic in his final destination. 

 

Video of Dr. Don Tarr Interview

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR RUNNER-UP:

In the dynamic racing year of 1968, Dr. Don Tarr finished as a Runner-up in the Nascar Winston Cup Rookie of the Year. Pete Hamilton took the honors and independent Dave Marcis was also a runner-up.


In February 2013, Dr. Don Tarr received the
Tim Flock Driver's Award from the Victory Lane Racing Association.
 


Late Model racing in South Florida in a 1957 Dodge

 

Winston Cup DRIVER Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1967 38 3 of 49 0 0 0 0 621 0 1,580 89 39.7 26.3
1968 39 12 of 49 0 0 0 0 1941 0 7,510 35 30.8 26.2
1969 40 12 of 54 0 0 3 0 1754 6 13,950 41 23.7 21.4
1970 41 17 of 48 0 0 5 0 2571 5 16,592 35 23.2 22.0
1971 42 4 of 48 0 0 1 0 496 0 3,995 62 24.8 26.5
5 years 48 0 0 9 0 7383 11 43,627   26.4 23.5

Other years with DNQs in this series (1983-present): 1972 (2) 

Daytona 500 Qualifying race results

Race Cars St Fin # Sponsor / Owner Car Laps Money Status Led
1972 Qualifying Race #1 35   31 59 Tom Pistone Ford 17/50 0 crash 0

Exhibition or Unclassified race results

Race Cars St Fin # Sponsor / Owner Car Laps Money Status Led
1967 Southern 500 Qualifier Race 19 12 18 54 Tom Raley Ford 7/25 0 engine 0
1967 Firecracker 400 Qualifier 22 18 20 31 Ray Fox Dodge 0/10 0 crash 0
1969 Carolina 500 Qualifier 14 11 11 0 Don Tarr Chevrolet 24/25 0 running 0

Winston Cup OWNER Statistics

Year Driver Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1968 Don Tarr 11 0 0 0 0 1699 0 5,825 35 31.4 27.1
1968 Frank Warren 4 0 0 0 0 243 0 400 42 16.2 20.8
1969 Earl Brooks 3 0 0 0 0 560 0 2,045 18 28.0 22.7
1969 J.D. McDuffie 2 0 0 0 0 354 0 1,405 14 26.0 28.0
1969 Ed Negre 2 0 0 0 0 24 0 1,870 27 39.5 39.5
1969 Dick Poling 4 0 0 0 0 410 0 1,892 50 18.5 20.2
1969 Don Tarr 6 0 0 0 0 594 0 3,465 41 31.3 26.8
1969 Frank Warren 9 0 0 1 0 1166 0 2,570 29 18.2 20.2
1970 James Sears 1 0 0 1 0 193 0 275 102 14.0 7.0
1970 Don Tarr 16 0 0 4 0 2414 5 14,542 35 23.3 23.0
1971 G.C. Spencer 1 0 0 0 0 209 0 415 34 26.0 23.0
1971 Don Tarr 2 0 0 0 0 297 0 1,060 62 27.0 29.5
1972 J.D. McDuffie 1 0 1 1 0 466 0 1,300 18 20.0 5.0
5 years 62 0 1 7 0 8629 5 37,064   24.8 23.7





 

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