Sam McQuagg Dies of Cancer at 73

NASCAR has lost yet another Hall of Famer. Sam McQuagg, 73, died of cancer on Saturday, in Columbus, Georgia. The man who amazed all NASCAR fans in his very first season in the sport – being awarded the Rookie of the Year honors in 1965 – crossed his last finish line this weekend, with the funerals scheduled for later today.

McQuagg started 62 races in  most important stock car racing series in North America between 1962 and 1974, winning a single race. However, his first and last NASCAR win happened at the famous Daytona International Speedway and marked the maiden win of a spoiler-equipped car in the series (the 1966 Firecracker 400).

Overall, McQuagg added 9 more Top 5 finishes and 21 Top 10 appearances to his only NASCAR win, performances than have led to him being inducted into the Jacksonville Speedway Hall of Fame and the Georgia Automobile Racing Hall of Fame Association.

The year in which he was elected the Rookie of the Year in the series, McQuagg made a strong impact on the fans following the thrilling Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. That day was remembered as the day when Cale Yarborough almost died at the racetrack. When battling for the leading position in the race, a slight contact between the two cars caused Yarborough to literally fly all the way to the parking lot – after previously barrel-rolling six times.

No one was severely injured in the process, with McQuagg managing to finish the race but failing to hold his No 1 spot until the finish line.

McQuagg's death comes less than 2 weeks after another NASCAR legend, two-time NASCAR West Coast champion Ron Hornaday, passed away due to cancer at the age of 77, in his native California.
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