Dr. Don Tarr
The Doctor Is In…The Driver’s Seat
by on NOVEMBER
aren’t what a racing fan would
consider stellar, and his time in the cup series was short compared to
today’s standards. However,
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”.
legendary crew chief and car owner, Ray
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.
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.
ROOKIE OF THE
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