Born: March 27, 1939
Home: Timmonsville, SC
One of six children, LeeRoy grew up in the “blue collar” side of town. His passion was always working on and racing cars.
His big break came in 1967 landing a drivers seat with Junior Johnson. LeeRoy drove for the Junior Johnson Race Team from 1967 through 1970.
One of the most amazing feats in Stock Car Racing was the record LeeRoy complied in 1969. His seven speedway victories almost doubled the most major wins in a single season by any previous driver. Yarbrough won the Daytona 500 followed by wins in the Rebel 400 at Darlington, the World 600 at Charlotte, the Firecracker 400 at Daytona, the Dixie 500 in Atlanta and the Southern 500 for a clean sweep at Darlington and the American 500 in Rockingham.
He earned $188,605 that season, setting another NASCAR record for the most money earned by a driver in a single season.
With his victories in the Daytona 500, the World 600 and the Southern 500, Yarbrough was the first to capture NASCAR’s “Triple Crown” by winning the richest, the longest and the oldest NASCAR races in a single season. All totaled, Yarbrough claimed 14 Grand National (now Sprint) victories and 11 pole positions.
For his achievements in 1969, Yarbrough was the American Driver of the Year and Ford’s Man of the Year.
Unfortunately, injuries Yarbrough received in a crash shortened his career. Battling alcoholism, LeeRoy Yarbrough died in 1984 at the young age of 46 years old.
“LeeRoy had the most raw talent I’ve ever seen” said Junior Johnson. “He was beyond any other driver there was at that particular time with taking chances and just going beyond what anybody thought anybody would do. He just out-nerved most of the drivers that he ran against. It was unbelievable. LeeRoy had no, you might say, respect for fear at all. He just didn’t. Whatever it took to beat somebody, that’s what he did.”