Press Box Access
May 24, 2023
Al Pearce: “Richard Petty looks at me from behind those sunglasses and . . . “
Sit down, strap in and go for a thrill ride with Al Pearce as he recounts more than five decades of writing about motorsports, particularly NASCAR. Al talks about his early days around stock car racing and how he’s covered 54 consecutive Daytona 500s. He puts us alongside iconic drivers such as Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr., and he recalls the courage and persistence of Wendell Scott, the first African-American driver to race full-time in NASCAR. Al also takes us to Montreal for Formula One racing, and he discusses how all drivers deal with the danger of their profession.
Pearce has covered thousands of races of all types: NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula One, NHRA and IHRA drag racing, APBA powerboats, SCCA, international sports cars and weekly short-track races. Motorsports has taken him to 50 states and a half-dozen countries on assignment including Japan, Australia, Mexico, Canada, and Le Mans, France. Al covered motorsports for the Times-Herald and Daily Press in Newport News, Virginia from 1969 until his retirement in 2004. He is still a NASCAR contributing editor for Autoweek magazine, which he has written for since 1973. Besides racing, Al also wrote about professional, college and high school sports throughout his 35 years in newspapers.
The Media Wing of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega, Ala. Inducted Pearce in 2003. That same year, he received the Henry McLemore Award, the highest recognition for a motorsport journalist. He’s also been honored by Langley Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Martinsville Speedway, and by the Peninsula Sports Club. Al won eight Virginia Press Association Awards, and he’s a member of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
Pearce has written 16 books about motorsports. “NASCAR 75 Years” is his latest. It was co-authored with Mike Hembree and published in April 2023. Al is a native of Rocky Mount, Virginia, graduated from Presbyterian College, and served in the Vietnam war as an officer before beginning his journalism career in 1969.
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