NASCAR legend Curtis Turner was more than just a racing legend during his time in the limelight.
Born April 12, 1924, in Floyd, Virginia, he began his racing career in 1946, finishing last in a field of 18 drivers at Mount Airy, North Carolina. He wasted no time showing his talents and redeeming himself by taking first in his very next race.
His racing career literally took off from there. Over the years he would race for whatever series or sanctioning body would let him. His overall win total is expected to be somewhere around 360. Only 17 of his wins would come in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series (then Grand National). Over 17 years he ran in 183 races for racing's premier division finishing in the top ten 73 times along with 17 wins and starting from the pole position on 16 occasions.
Turner was forced to take a hiatus from NASCAR competition for a few years. In 1961 he attempted to organize drivers into a union to be called the Federation of Professional Athletes. The idea was to get the drivers a bigger piece of the purse as well as retirement benefits. However, the idea never really took off and NASCAR banned him for life for his efforts.
That didn't stop Turner from driving though; he just had to do so in races sanctioned by other governing bodies. NASCAR eventually backed off of its life ban and allowed him back into sanctioned races in 1965.
During his career he did a lot of other things that no other driver has. In 1950 he became the only driver to win two consecutive races starting from the pole position and leading every lap. Six years later he became the only driver to win 25 races in one season with the same car in each. That same year he earned the distinction of being the only driver to win a race because he had the only car still running at the end.
Sadly, his exciting career was cut short when he died in a plane crash on October 4, 1970; he was the pilot of the plane, an aero-commander 500. He was 46.