March Birthday Madness
It seems that the month of March produces champion race drivers. No less than six NASCAR Cup Series kings were born this month. March 12, 1915 is the birth date of NASCAR’S first champion, Red Byron. Byron was thought to be disabled by a World War II injury to his leg, but upon his discharge from hospitals and the military service, Byron went on to become one of the greatest drivers of his generation. Byron won the first NASCAR-sanctioned race on February 15, 1948 and the first two NASCAR championships in 1948 and 1949. Buck Baker, the first driver with back-to-back Cup Series championships in 1956 and 1957 came into the world on March 4, 1919. He made a name for himself in the premier series after winning hundreds of races in the modified ranks.
March 14 produced two champions. Lee Petty, NASCAR’s first three-time champion with titles in 1954, 1957 and 1958 was born on that day in 1914 while Bill Rexford, who won the championship in 1950, was born in 1927. Rexford is still the youngest Cup champ winning at the age of 23. Another March baby is Cale Yarborough, the first driver to capture three consecutive championships in 1976, 1977 and 1978. Yarborough was born on March 27, 1939. And most recently, the final Winston Cup champion, Matt Kenseth, who took the crown in 2003, first saw the world on March 10, 1972.
A few “honorable mentions” among the Cup ranks of March drivers looking for their first Cup championship include Travis Kvapil born on March 1, 1976, David Reutimann born on March 2, 1970, Casey Mears born on March 12, 1978 and Aric Almirola born on March 14, 1984.