Sam McQuagg Passes

1965 Rookie Of The Year McQuagg Dies

Sam McQuagg, the 1965 rookie of the year in what was then NASCAR?s Grand National Series (now Sprint Cup), died Saturday morning. He was 73. McQuagg competed in 62 races in NASCAR?s top series, getting a victory in the 1966 Firecracker 400 at Daytona in a Dodge owned by Ray Nichels. He won more than 250 feature races at local tracks, highlighted by his 1963 season at Thunderbowl Speedway in Valdosta, Ga. That year, McQuagg won 35 of 37 features and caught the eye of a woman named Betty Lilly of Valdosta. She gave McQuagg $25,000 and he used that to finance his rookie NASCAR campaign in 1965, when he had five top-10 finishes. McQuagg worked as a commercial pilot after retiring as a racer. He was a member of the Jacksonville Speedway and the Georgia Automobile Racing halls of fame.