Byron was there at the outset, winning the sanctioning body's first race in 1948, on the Daytona Beach-Road Course.
- Inducted: 2018
Robert Red Byron
In addition to winning the first race in 1948, he went on to win NASCAR’s first season championship—in the NASCAR Modified Division.
The following year, driving for fellow NASCAR Hall of Famer Raymond Parks (2017), he won the first-ever NASCAR Strictly Stock Division (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) title. The Strictly Stock Division schedule had eight races; Byron won two of them.
Wounded in World War II, he drove with a special brace attached to the clutch pedal to assist his injured left leg—making his accomplishments even more impressive. That injury contributed to Byron’s relatively brief career, after which he continued to be involved in motorsports.
When he died in 1960 at the age of 45, he had branched out, striving to make more history by developing an American car capable of winning the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car event. In 1998, he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers for his highly significant career; the relative brevity of it notwithstanding.
Byron, racing in a Red Vogt-prepared Ford, takes the checkered flag at the end of a race in 1947. Photo by ISC Images via Getty Images.
Heading toward victory at the Daytona Beach-Road Course during the second premier series race in 1949. NHOF Collection, Raymond Parks Collection, Donated by Violet P. Parks.
Red Vogt and Red Byron with the Parks Novelty Cadillac at the inaugural Southern 500 in 1950. Photo by ISC Images via Getty Images.