Earl Ross, the only Canadian to win a NASCAR Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup) race passed away September 18, 2014. He was 73.
Ross, born in Prince Edward Island, made his home in Ailsa Craig, Ontario. He won the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville Speedway on September 29, 1974 driving a car owned by NASCAR legend Junior Johnson. He had qualified 11th for the race but was more than a lap ahead of second-place Buddy Baker when the race was over. The win catapulted him to becoming the NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year; in his NASCAR career, he scored five tops fives and 10 top 10s over 26 races.
His racing career spanned four decades from the 60s to the 90s. He competed at tracks throughout Ontario, the Maritimes, and New England, as well as with the American Speed Association (ASA) and CASCAR. He won the River Glade International in 1977.
In a statement released in Daytona Beach, Florida on Thursday (NASCAR headquarters), NASCAR paid tribute to Ross.
“NASCAR extends its condolences to the family and friends of Earl Ross, a true racer whose considerable on-track success helped grow the sport internationally.
“Ross was the first Canadian driver to win a race in what is today known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and he did it at one of NASCAR’s most historic tracks for one of NASCAR’s most historic owners. His 1974 win at Martinsville for Junior Johnson helped lay the foundation for the sport’s tremendous growth in Canada, and beyond.”
He was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2000, the Maritime Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2011, and the PEI Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.