Pete Hamilton, New England Racing Hall Of Famer And Daytona 500 Winner, Passes

Pete Hamilton after winning in 1970 at Talladega Superspeedway (Photo: RacingOne/Getty Images)

In 2015 Middletown native Joey Logano won the Daytona 500 for the first time. But long before Logano was born, it was Pete Hamilton that became the first driver from New England to win stock car racing’s biggest event.

Hamilton, the 1970 Daytona 500 winner and a native of Newton, Mass., passed away Wednesday.

Hamilton was 74 years old.

Hamilton was inducted in the New England Antique Racers New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame as part of the Hall’s first induction class in 1998.

Hamilton rise through the sport was meteoric. He began his racing career at the former Norwood (Mass.) Arena 1962 and after racing locally for a short period NASCAR National Sportsman championship in 1967.

Hamilton began racing in NASCAR’s top level Grand National division (Monster Energy Cup today) in 1968 and was named the divisions Rookie of the Year that season.

In 1970, driving for Petty Enterprises, Hamilton won the Daytona 500. He went on to score two more victories in the top level division that season at Talladega Superspeedway.

Hamilton retired from full-time competition after the 1971 season because of a neck injury.

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Comments

  1. Mike Ray (@MikeRay7Va) says:

    R.I.P. Prayers for family, friends and fans…

  2. I remember Pete driving #69 at Thomson speedway . He was always the man to beat whenever he showed up. Always used to see him at the Thompson club after the races. One day his hauler broke down on the way to the track so he ended up driving the race car to the track. He raced with all the past great ones Leo clearly , gene Bergin, Ed flemkie, Bill slater …I watched on closed circuit screen at the busnel in Hartford when he won the 500 …… Thanks Pete RIP

  3. RITA M. GORMAN says:

    Pete was a joy to watch and a gentleman to all the fans. Early in his career, he raced at one of Upstate NY’s popular tracks, Fonda Speedway. Pete was a rather shy individual, but he always managed to speak with the fans after the race. Prior to his leaving the New England area, he attended the Dale Carnegie School of Communication near Albany, NY. When that information became public, I just had the feeling that he was destined for a larger role in NASCAR. And the rest is history. RIP to Pete and thank you for so many memories.

  4. beserious says:

    Hello Bob
    I was also at the closed circuit broadcast in Hartford that day. There can’t be many around that were there back then. That was the absolute best way to see a racethat I have ever witnessed. Better than sitting in your living room and better than sitting in the stands at Daytona with binoculars. The fantastic energy of a big crowd (about 500 people, I forget if that was a bigger place) with the comfort of being in a nice place and the good view of a broadcast on a giant screen. We also went to Springfield, MA and Albany NY on the other years.Long time ago. Hamilton was just a kid; hard to believe he is gone at 74 already.

  5. 1970 was the first Daytona 500 attended….i still can see David Pearson losing it in the fourth turn and Pete in the Petty Blue Plymouth beating him to line…….also his return visit to Stafford…..RIP Pete and thanks for the memories……

  6. Buddy race fan Byron says:

    Pete was one of the great ones

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