Everett “Cotton” Owens, a racer whose life touched practically every era of stock car racing, died Thursday morning. He had turned 88 years old May 21.
On May 23, it was announced that Owens was one of five new members selected for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Owens will be inducted posthumously as part of the hall’s fourth class in February.
Owens was diagnosed with lung cancer seven years ago at 81. He chose not to treat the cancer aggressively, saying he had led a full life.
His choice turned out to be the correct one. He lived for seven more years with a high quality of life.
Owens was born in Union, SC but lived most of his life in nearby Spartanburg, S.C., where he based his racing operation.
In a motorsports career that lasted most of a half-century, Owens won nine Sprint Cup (then Grand National) races as a driver and later built winning cars for other top racers. He and Hall of Fame driver Pearson teamed to win the Cup championship in 1966.