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NASCAR NOTES: Herb Thomas and the Hudson were hard to beat

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Photo Credits: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR Photo Credits: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR
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Over the years, NASCAR drivers, owners, sponsors and automakers have enjoyed many great relationships. Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Richard Childress, Jeff Gordon and DuPont, and Jack Roush and Ford are but a few. However, the relationship between Herb Thomas and the Hudson Hornet is considered one of the best that NASCAR has ever seen.

Thomas and his Hornet raced their way into the Hall of Fame this past weekend and was the first two-time champion in NASCAR's senior division.

"With the highest winning percentage in NASCAR history, Herb Thomas receives my utmost admiration for all he accomplished in such a short time," said noted NASCAR driver Carl Edwards as he introduced Thomas to the audience at the Hall of Fame ceremonies.

Winning was everything to Thomas. His driving skills and the performance of his Hudson Hornet set marks that will not be surpassed over time.

"He recorded 48 wins in only 228 starts and captured two championships in NASCAR's Premier Series, becoming the series' first two-time champion," continued Edwards.

He was not only successful behind the wheel but as an owner.

"As an owner," said Edwards, "Herb's drivers won 44 times and he became the first of only six individuals to win the series championship driving a car that he owned."

Success like that doesn't come without help, and Thomas was the first to point out that he owed a lot of thanks to the folks who worked on his car.

"Smokey Yunick at the time was the best mechanic out there," said Thomas' son Victor as he accepted his father's induction into the Hall. "When you put Daddy with the Hudson and Smokey Yunick, you have combination that really was a powerful thing from '51 through '54, until Hudson got out of the racing."

The Hudson Company had several teams on the NASCAR circuit back then, but Thomas was by far their standard bearer.

"On the records Daddy won, I think, 38 races with Hudson, and that's a big number for one car, you know, one little, small car," continued Victor on his dad's accomplishments. "Hudson was back then a very small company, and for them to compete against that and the Oldsmobiles and General Motors and Ford was a great accomplishment."

Despite praises from the fans of the time, Thomas was a very humble man who garnered the respect of his competitors and future stars of the sport after he retired.

"He considered himself fortunate to race against Buck Baker, Lee Petty, Cotton Owens, Tim and Fonty Flock as well as many NASCAR greats," reflected Victor on his dad's legacy. "He also valued the friendship and bonding that came with racing on NASCAR's Premier Series."

You know, my dad once told me that it's not what you accomplish in life that's important, it's how you accomplish it that counts. That is how Herb Thomas lived his life and now he will be forever enshrined in NASCAR's Hall of Fame.

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