Fast Facts: Richie Evans

Credit: Howie Hodge/NASCARMedia
Richie Evans will become the first inductee into the NASCAR Hall of Fame from outside the Cup Series, and it’s a fitting tribute to the man whose name is synonymous with NASCAR’s oldest division, the Modifieds. Evans was known as “the king of the Modifieds,” and with good reason – he dominated the division. Here is a quick look into the life of one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers of all-time.
  • Evans began street drag racing in his native Rome, New York as a teen, later becoming involved in organized drag racing. He was persuaded to give oval track racing a try at nearby Utica-Rome Speedway, and in 1962, Evans entered his first race in the hobby stock class, moving up to the Modifieds in 1965. Evans won his first track championship at Fulton Speedway in 1970, and his first National Modified Championship in 1973.
  • Evans and his fiercest rival, Jerry Cook, who also hailed from Rome, accounted for every Modified title from 1971 to 1985, tallying more than 800 wins between them. While Cook would take six of those NASCAR Modified titles, Evans earned nine, including eight in a row from 1978 to 1985 – that accomplishment is listed on his International Motorsports Hall of Fame page as “one of the supreme accomplishments in motorsports.” Evans took the checkered flag more than 475 times in his career, including 10 at Martinsville, three at Pocono and two at Daytona.
  • Evans was killed at Martinsville Speedway in October 1985 during practice for the weekend’s Modified race; he had wrapped up his ninth title the week prior. It is expected that his death was caused by an injury similar to that which killed Dale Earnhardt in 2001: Basilar skull fracture.
  • Evans was voted number one on the list of NASCAR’s All-Time Greatest Modified Drivers in 2003 ans was also listed among NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers of All-Time. He has been inducted into numerous other halls of fame, including the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of fame in 1986 and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1996. His car number, No. 61, was retired by the Whelen Modified Tour; it is the only number retired in any NASCAR series.
Fast Facts: Richie Evans Fast Facts: Richie Evans Reviewed by Paula on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 Rating: 5