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Delma Cowart (born July 6, 1941), is a retired NASCAR and ARCA driver. While never achieving much success, Cowart achieved notoriety for being the "clown prince of racing" in the 1980s and '90s. His jovial nature made him a favorite among competitors.

Delma Cowart
Born (1941-07-06) July 6, 1941 (age 78)
Savannah, Georgia
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career
21 races run over 17 years
Best finish44th (1982)
First race1981 Atlanta Journal 500 (Atlanta)
Last race1992 DieHard 500 (Talladega)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 0 0
NASCAR Xfinity Series career
1 race run over 1 year
Best finish135th (1982)
First race1982 Goody's 300 (Daytona)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 0 0

Contents

Racing careerEdit

Cowart began competing in NASCAR in the Late Model Sportsman Division, now the NASCAR Xfinity Series. His notoriety in that series came in 1979 Permatex 300 at Daytona. On lap four, Joe Frasson had wrecked and was sitting in the middle of the race track. Cowart hit Frasson at nearly full speed igniting Frasson's fuel tank into a ball of fire. Neither Frasson or Cowart were injured in the crash although Don Williams was critically injured trying to avoid the accident. When changes to the structure of the late model series were made, Cowart decided that the rising expenses in that series would make it just as economically feasible to race in the Winston Cup Series. Cowart made his first start in NASCAR by qualifying for the 1981 Atlanta Journal 500 with owner Heyward Grooms. That day he finished 18th. In 1982, Cowart earned his best career finish, in the Firecracker 400 at Daytona, scoring 17th.

A superspeedway driver, Cowart qualified for the Daytona 500 four times, each time throwing an extravagant party for members of the NASCAR community in celebration.

Cowart's primary career was installing pools and septic tanks in the Savannah, Georgia area. He used his day job to advance his racing, once trading Junior Johnson's engine builder a swimming pool for a racing engine.

TracksEdit

Cowart's main tracks were Daytona International Speedway or Talladega Superspeedway, but he did run in the 1992 race at Rockingham, North Carolina. Cowart also tried, but failed, to make the 1994 Brickyard 400.

NumbersEdit

He mainly ran the #0 during his time in the Cup Series, but he also ran the #49 at Daytona in 1987 (also a DNQ). Cowart repeatedly joked that he was the only driver whose car number matched his chance of winning.

He also ran the #37 at Daytona in 1982 in what is now the Xfinity Series.

1992 Daytona 500Edit

Cowart made the 1992 Daytona 500 and made his trademark quote, "I ain't never won a race, though I ain't lost a party." An accident-filled qualifying race allowed Cowart to finish 13th and advance to the Daytona 500. "When we made the race," Cowart said, "I went out and hired a team physician. I figured we needed a team physician. I figured we needed one for all the physical requirements of our fine crew. What does the doctor specialize in? He's a veterinarian, because all we've got on our crew is a bunch of dogs!" A legendary party ensued at a Daytona area hotel. "I don't think he showed back up at the track until Sunday," Benny Parsons recalled.

The Daytona 500 that year was plagued by accidents, allowing Cowart to finish 25th, earning a career high $23,285. With the money, he bought a big screen TV and travelled to the following race at Rockingham, finishing 35th there.

Final yearsEdit

Cowart tried to make the Daytona 500 from 1993–1997, but failed each time. His last race was the 1997 Winston Open, but was flagged shortly after the start. Delma Cowart Racing brought two race cars to Charlotte that weekend. One was for the ARCA race as the newer Penske Ford that Delma had bought was for the Cup race. The Cup engine developed a problem so the team decided to make an engine change. The problems that followed were that the clutch components, some of the brackets, etc., were different from what Delma had as backup parts. Once the ARCA race had completed the team worked feverishly on the Cup car to make the race. It was about 4:00 pm when the team started making the engine change as well as trying make all of the pieces fit together; by the time the car was ready it was roughly 6:00 pm. The green flag was to drop at 7:30 pm. The car had yet to pass inspection. A little after 6:00 pm, the team started the car and found that there was a transmission problem . The team now had a decision to make: to quit or keep on working. The team decided to go and make the transmission swap. Later on, the command to start engines went out. At that time Delma was still in the garage area and he started his. He left the garage area and entered the track only to see the black flag displayed. A few caution laps were made and then Delma decided to pull off. At that time the NASCAR officials were present in the garage area as Delma and his crew chief had a meeting in the NASCAR trailer. In later years Delma was featured in a Growing Bolder interview. When asked to as why he did what he did, he said, "Look, it wasn't a points race, just a money race, and the crew worked so hard, I wasn't about to let them down."

In early 1998, at age 56, Cowart announced his retirement at Whiskey Pete's, a saloon in Holly Hill, Florida. "I'm a dinosaur," Cowart said "There ain't no room for guys like me no more. To me, racing was a hobby. Now, you gotta have money."

Motorsports career resultsEdit

NASCAREdit

(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Winston Cup SeriesEdit

NASCAR Winston Cup Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 NWCC Pts
1981 Heyward Grooms 0 Buick RSD DAY RCH CAR ATL BRI NWS DAR MAR TAL NSV DOV CLT TWS RSD MCH DAY NSV POC TAL MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR NWS CLT CAR ATL
18
RSD NA -
1982 DAY
33
RCH BRI CLT
32
POC RSD MCH 44th 410
H. L. Waters Racing ATL
23
CAR DAR NWS MAR TAL NSV DOV DAY
17
NSV POC TAL
30
MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV NWS CLT
DNQ
MAR CAR ATL RSD
1983 DAY
31
RCH CAR ATL DAR NWS MAR TAL NSV DOV BRI CLT RSD POC MCH DAY
35
NSV POC TAL MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR NWS ATL
24
RSD 49th 277
Chevy CLT
35
CAR
1984 DAY
DNQ
RCH CAR TAL
DNQ
MCH
DNQ
BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR CLT NWS CAR ATL RSD 64th 152
Buick ATL
36
BRI NWS DAR MAR TAL NSV DOV CLT
22
RSD POC MCH DAY NSV POC
1985 Chevy DAY
40
RCH CAR ATL
DNQ
BRI DAR NWS MAR TAL
DNQ
DOV CLT
DNQ
RSD POC MCH DAY
DNQ
POC TAL
37
MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR NWS CLT CAR ATL RSD 80th 95
1986 DAY
DNQ
RCH CAR ATL BRI DAR NWS MAR TAL
19
DOV CLT
DNQ
RSD POC MCH DAY POC TAL
29
GLN MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR NWS CLT
39
CAR ATL
DNQ
RSD 60th -
1987 49 DAY
DNQ
CAR RCH ATL DAR NWS BRI MAR TAL CLT DOV POC RSD MCH 107th -
0 DAY
DNQ
POC TAL
24
GLN MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR NWS CLT
DNQ
CAR RSD ATL
DNQ
1988 DAY
DNQ
RCH CAR ATL DAR BRI NWS MAR TAL CLT DOV RSD POC MCH DAY
DNQ
POC TAL
DNQ
GLN MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR CLT NWS CAR PHO ATL NA -
1989 DAY
DNQ
CAR ATL RCH DAR BRI NWS MAR TAL
DNQ
CLT
DNQ
DOV SON POC MCH DAY
DNQ
POC TAL GLN MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR CLT NWS CAR PHO ATL NA -
1990 Ford DAY
DNQ
RCH CAR ATL DAR BRI NWS MAR TAL CLT
DNQ
DOV SON POC MCH DAY POC TAL
DNQ
GLN MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR NWS CLT
DNQ
CAR
DNQ
PHO ATL NA -
1991 DAY
DNQ
RCH CAR ATL DAR BRI NWS MAR TAL CLT DOV SON POC MCH DAY
DNQ
POC TAL
DNQ
GLN MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR NWS CLT
DNQ
CAR PHO ATL
DNQ
NA -
1992 DAY
25
CAR
35
RCH ATL DAR BRI NWS MAR TAL
DNQ
CLT
DNQ
DOV SON POC MCH DAY
DNQ
POC
DNQ
TAL
37
GLN MCH
DNQ
BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR NWS CLT CAR PHO ATL 54th 198
1993 DAY
DNQ
CAR RCH ATL DAR BRI NWS MAR TAL
DNQ
SON CLT DOV POC MCH DAY
DNQ
NHA POC TAL GLN MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR NWS CLT CAR PHO ATL NA -
1994 DAY
DNQ
CAR RCH ATL DAR BRI NWS MAR TAL
DNQ
SON CLT DOV POC MCH DAY
DNQ
NHA POC TAL
DNQ
IND
DNQ
GLN MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR NWS CLT
DNQ
CAR PHO ATL NA -
1995 DAY
DNQ
CAR RCH ATL DAR BRI NWS MAR TAL
DNQ
SON CLT DOV POC MCH DAY
DNQ
NHA POC TAL
DNQ
IND GLN MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR NWS CLT
DNQ
CAR PHO ATL
DNQ
NA -
1996 DAY
DNQ
CAR RCH ATL DAR BRI NWS MAR TAL
DNQ
SON CLT
DNQ
DOV POC MCH DAY NHA POC TAL IND GLN MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR NWS CLT
DNQ
CAR PHO ATL NA -
1997 DAY
DNQ
CAR RCH ATL DAR TEX BRI MAR SON TAL CLT DOV POC MCH CAL DAY NHA POC IND GLN MCH BRI DAR RCH NHA DOV MAR CLT TAL CAR PHO ATL NA -
Daytona 500Edit
Year Team Manufacturer Start Finish
1982 Heyward Grooms Buick 37 33
1983 H. L. Waters Racing 38 31
1984 Chevrolet DNQ
1985 30 40
1986 DNQ
1987 DNQ
1988 DNQ
1989 DNQ
1990 Ford DNQ
1991 DNQ
1992 27 25
1993 DNQ
1994 DNQ
1995 DNQ
1996 DNQ
1997 DNQ

Budweiser Late Model Sportsman SeriesEdit

NASCAR Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 NBLMSS Pts
1982 Heyward Grooms 37 Chevy DAY
17
RCH BRI MAR DAR HCY SBO CRW RCH LGY DOV HCY CLT ASH HCY SBO CAR CRW SBO HCY LGY IRP BRI HCY RCH MAR CLT HCY MAR 135th 112

ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde SeriesEdit

(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 ABMHSC Pts
1987 00 Chevy DAY
11
ATL TAL DEL ACS TOL ROC POC FRS KIL TAL FRS ISF INF DSF SLM ATL 92nd -
1990 H. L. Waters Racing 0 Ford DAY ATL KIL TAL FRS POC KIL TOL HAG POC TAL
14
MCH ISF TOL DSF WIN DEL ATL 90th -
1991 DAY ATL KIL TAL TOL FRS POC MCH KIL FRS DEL POC TAL
10
HPT MCH ISF TOL DSF 72nd -
00 TWS
10
ATL
1994 H. L. Waters Racing 0 Ford DAY
DNQ
TAL FIF LVL KIL TOL FRS MCH DMS POC POC KIL FRS INF I70 ISF DSF TOL SLM WIN ATL NA -
1995 DAY
16
ATL
16
TAL
14
FIF KIL FRS MCH I80 OWO FRS POC POC KIL FRS SBS LVL ISF DSF SLM WIN ATL
16
41st 860
1996 DAY
25
ATL SLM TAL
27
FIF LVL CLT
16
CLT
11
KIL FRS POC MCH FRS TOL POC MCH INF SBS ISF DSF KIL SLM WIN CLT
20
ATL
31
38th -
1997 8 DAY ATL SLM CLT CLT POC MCH SBS TOL KIL FRS MIN POC MCH DSF GTW SLM WIN CLT TAL
DNQ
ISF ATL NA -

External linksEdit