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Pete Hamilton
Born: July 20, 1942     Died: March 22, 2017
Home: Dedham, MA


Daytona Beach News-Journal (Photo: Nigel Cook)

Pete Hamilton, winner of consecutive Daytona 500s, died Wednesday, March 22, 2017. He was 74.

Richard Petty Motorsports and NASCAR both announced Hamilton's death.

Hamilton won four career Cup races, all on superspeedways, including the Daytona 500 in 1970 and 1971. He also won twice at Talladega Superspeedway in 1971.

Hamilton's 1970 Daytona victory was in the No. 40 Plymouth Superbird fielded by Petty Enterprises. His teammate was Hall of Famer No. 43 Richard Petty.

"We ran two cars in 1970, and Plymouth helped introduce us to Pete," Petty said in a statement. "They wanted us to run a second car with him on the bigger tracks."

Hamilton was teamed with Hall of Fame mechanic Maurice Petty, and Richard Petty said that tandem was the difference.

"Pete and `Chief' won the race, and it was a big deal," Petty said. "It was great to have Pete as part of the team. He was a great teammate."

Maurice Petty said Hamilton was "as fast as anyone on the superspeedways in 1970."

Hamilton had 26 top-five finishes in 64 career starts from 1968-73.

Pete Hamilton    "The Gentleman Racer"

Pete Hamilton started his racing career driving a street division racer in 1962 at the Norwood Arena. He went on to be the Thompson World Series Twin 50ís champion in 1965, and won the NASCAR National Sportsman championship in 1967 driving the Worcester Sand & Gravel #69.

Hamiltonís star really began to shine when he moved South at the end of the 67 season. He was the 1968 Grand National Rookie of the Year and went on to win 12 of 26 Grand American Division (pony cars such as Camaros, Mustangs, etc.) in 1969.

Pete made 64 NASCAR Grand National (now Nextel Cup) starts with impressive results. He scored 33 Top Ten finishes, 26 Top Fives, and 4 Wins along with 3 Pole Positions.

But unquestionably, Pete Hamiltonís greatest victory came in 1970 when he won the Daytona 500 in the Petty Enterprises #40 Superbird. He won twice more at both Talladega races in 1970 and won his fourth and final super speedway win at the July race at Daytona driving for Cotton Owens. He also won a Daytona 125 qualifier in 1971.


     

He was the first driver to win $100,000 on a super speedway in a single season. He retired later in 1971 at the height of his career because of a recurring neck injury suffered in a 1969 Grand American race. Pete Hamilton later went on to be a successful car builder.  (Thanks to CottonOwnens.com)

 

 

 

Racer Profile: Pete Hamilton
Posted on September 21, 2005  at SpeedwayMedia.com By Allen Madding

Pete Hamilton was born on July 20, 1942 in Dedham, Massachusetts. In 1967, Hamilton won the NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Championship title. He made his NASCAR Grand National Division debut in 1968 driving Rocky Hintonís #5 Ford in 10 of the yearís 49 events. In his third Grand National event, the Tidewater 250 at Langley Field Speedway, Hampton, Virginia, Hamilton finished 5th. Hamilton then recorded a second place finish behind race winner Richard Petty at the Smoky Mountain Raceway at Maryville, Tennessee. Hamilton then made 6 more starts driving A. J. Kingís #1 Dodge. In 16, starts, Hamilton logged 3 top-5s and 6 top-10s. His strong showing earned him the 1968 NASCAR Grand National Division Rookie of the Year title.

Hamilton returned to NASCARís premier division in 1969 driving Kingís #1 Dodge at Daytona. He qualified 2nd for his Twin 125 qualifier race for the Daytona 500 and finished 8th. Unfortunately, a crash on lap 44 took Hamilton out of the event. He then drove Banjo Matthewís #27 Ford in the Atlanta 500 qualifying 21st and finishing 5th.

In 1970, Richard Petty put Hamilton behind the wheel of the #40 Petty Enterprises Plymouth and Hamilton rose to the occasion. He won the Daytona 500 after starting 9th. He finished 3rd in the Atlanta 500 and then won again in the Alabama 500 at Talladega. He qualified on the pole for the Motor State 400 at Michigan and finished second to Cale Yarborough. He qualified 4th for the Talladega 500 and recorded his third win of the season. He finished 3rd in the Southern 500. Dick Brooks put Hamilton in his #32 Plymouth for the Tidewater 300 at Hampton, Virginia and Hamilton brought it home in 3rd place. For the season, Hamilton made 16 starts and recorded 1 pole, 3 wins, 10 top-5s, and 12 top-10s driving Plymouth Superbirds. Chrysler/Dodge pulled is financial support from the NASCAR teams in the later part of the 1970 season and Petty Enterprises was forced to reduce the number of cars it fielded. Hamiltonís #40 was not in the budget without Chryslerís backing.

In 1971, Cotton Owens chose Hamilton to drive his #6 Plymouth. 1972 PlymouthHamilton won his Twin 125 qualifier at Daytona, but an engine failure dropped him from the running in the Daytona 500. He qualified on the pole for the Yankee 400 at Michigan, but once again suffered an engine failure during the running of the event. Hamilton qualified on the pole for the Texas 500 at College Station, Texas and finished 4th. Despite 6 engine failures during the season and a handful of other mechanical failures, Hamilton recorded 2 poles, 11 top-5s and 12 top-10s in 22 starts. 

In 1972, Hamilton drove the Housby Racing #5 Plymouth in 5 events suffering engine failures in 3 events, and crashing out of the fourth event. In the American 500 at Rockingham, North Carolina, Hamilton qualified 4th and finished 5th to record his only top-5 of the year. In 1973, Hamilton started 2 events and lost an engine in both failing to score a top-10 finish. Hamilton retired from racing in 1973. He would later be quoted to say, "Years ago my wife Suzy and I made a decision to go forward instead of looking back. We wanted to continue living life."

                           

 

   

 

 

 

In 1975, the Rattler 100 at the Twin City Speedway (now the South Alabama Speedway) was all Pete Hamilton. Hamilton set a new track record of 16.50 in qualifying, then dominated the race to capture the $1,300 winner's purse. Neil Bonnett, driving Bobby Allisonís Coca-Cola sponsored machine, finished second. Jody Ridley was third with C.L. Fisher fourth.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 



Gathering of champions at the Short Track Summit in 2005

 

Michael Waltrip, Pete Hamilton, Junior Johnson, Darrell Waltrip

 

 

 

 

 

Career Accomplishments:

1967 NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Championship

1968 NASCAR Grand National Division Rookie of the Year

1970 & 1971 Daytona 500 Winner

OTHER:

- He was inducted into the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame in 1998 in its first class.

- Hamilton won the 1974 Snowball Derby in his late model racecar.

- After he retired, he became a successful car builder.

 

 

PETE HAMILTON  Grand National / Winston Cup Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn  Miles
1968 25 16 of 49 0 3 6 0 3555 42 8,239 32 10.6 17.2 2591.9
1969 26 3 of 54 0 1 2 0 421 14 5,435   13.3 19.0 723.5
1970 27 16 of 48 3 10 12 1 4069 338 131,406 21 7.0 8.2 6210.2
1971 28 22 of 48 1 11 12 2 4525 224 60,440 24 4.8 14.7 6895.0
1972 29 5 of 31 0 1 1 0 1044 8 8,005 48 10.8 22.2 1630.3
1973 30 2 of 28 0 0 0 0 71 0 2,905 114 6.0 39.5 140.3
6 years 64 4 26 33 3 13685 626 216,430   7.7 15.3 18191.3


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