David Pearson: Super Sub
Jimmie Johnson’s throwback yellow and blue No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet pays tribute to two NASCAR legends, both of whom gave the original yellow and blue Osterlund Racing No. 2 Chevrolet (and Oldsmobile) one heck of a ride with a lot of success. When Dale Earnhardt was injured at Pocono in July of 1979, David Pearson was called to fill in for four races while he recovered.
Pearson picked up where Earnhardt left off, bringing the Lowe’s No. 2 Oldsmobile home second in his first race back at Talladega. Below is the Talladega 500 race review from the November 1979 issue of Stock Car Racing. In this article you will hear Pearson talk about his return to NASCAR racing and how he proved his doubters wrong in a race he believes he should have won. (right-click and 'view image' to enlarge)
The next race was the Champion Spark Plug 400 at Michigan, where Pearson qualified his Chevrolet on pole and finished fourth. The following weekend he was credited with a seventh place finish after handing the car over to relief driver Lennie Pond (a common practice in those days, as explained in the Darlington race report below) in the Volunteer 500 at Bristol.
His fourth and final ride before Dale’s return in the No. 2 Chevrolet was in the Darlington Southern 500. In this report from the December 1979 issue of Stock Car Racing, Pearson talks about the ultimate satisfaction: showing the world he still had it with his record ninth triumph at ‘The Lady in Black.’ On the cover Pearson is seen man-handling the blue and yellow No. 2 (notice Pearson’s white helmet – different from Earnhardt’s yellow lid).
Thanks to the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame and the Memory Lane Museum for their assistance in this story. Both museums, located in Mooresville, North Carolina have many of the original cars being thrown back to at Darlington, including the Osterlund Oldsmobile driven by Dale Earnhardt, and by David Pearson at Talladega, at Memory Lane. After the Southern 500 we will be announcing a special promotion with the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte (who have many of the original throwback cars as well), so stay tuned!