Remembering Bobby Isaac

Tom ThomasonCorrespondent IOctober 9, 2009

When you think of the drivers of yesterday, you think of Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison, King Richard Petty, David Pearson and of course Junior Johnson. But, you don't read too much bout Bobby Isaac.

Who Was Bobby Isaac? Isaac was born on August 1, 1932. The son of a mill worker and one of nine brothers and sisters, Isaac was very poor and didn't own a pair of shoes until he was 13. His father died when he was a child and he quit school while still a pre-teen.

He began racing full-time in 1956, but it took him seven years to reach the Grand National division. Isaac won the championship in 1970 driving the #71 Dodge Charger Daytona sponsored by K&K Insurance. His crew chief was legendary Harry Hyde.

Isaac won 37 races in NASCAR's top series during his career, including 11 in his championship season, and started from the pole position 50 times. He took 20 poles in a single season in 1969. This NASCAR record will  probably stand the test of time because, there are currently 36 races on the schedule.

 According to Isaac a "voice" in the car told him to stop driving because it said he would be killed. Isaac's "hearing voices" was portrayed in the movie "Days of thunder". The deceased character Buddy Bretherton was based on Isaac.

In 1969, Isaac won 17 races, and earned 20 poles. The 20 poles in a single season remains a NASCAR Cup Series record. The following year, Isaac and the K&K team became one of Nascar's elite teams. They won 11 races and won the championship. "Winning the champion­ship gave me personal satisfaction, but I'd rank it second to the Texas win," said Isaac. "The way I look at it, it took me seven years to win a superspeedway race and only three years to win the championship."
At the end of his career, Isaac was back driving a Sportsman car, competing weekly at his old Hickory Speed­way stomping grounds. On the night of Aug. 13, 1977, he ­suffered a heart attack after getting out of his car during a 200 lap race. He died the next day.

Isaac was a great driver who was probably way to rough to ever drive in todays Nascar. But, I know history will never forget him. To be honest, Isaac's records will never let us forget.