By Zane Miller
On Sunday, October 25th, 1959, the 1959 NASCAR Cup Series season concluded with Lee Petty defeating Cotton Owens by 1,830 points to win the 11th championship in Cup Series history. It was the third (and final) Cup Series championship for Petty. These are the top five points finishers for the season.
The 1959 season was also notable as having the first running of the Daytona 500, which was won by Lee Petty, despite Johnny Beauchamp originally being credited with the victory. Photo evidence showed that Petty was in front of Beauchamp at the checkered flag, and Petty was officially awarded the victory three days after the race.
5. #87 Buck Baker (-4,622 points)
Baker took fifth in points with one victory, 14 top-fives and 19 top-10s for an average finish of 11.8. Baker also led the most laps in one race.
4. #19 Herman Beam (-4,396)
Beam, nicknamed “The Turtle” for his conservative driving style, claimed fourth in points, taking home one top-five and 12 top-10s with an average finish of 13.1.
3. #1 Speedy Thompson (-4,108)
Thompson grabbed the third spot as he picked up five top-fives and nine top-10s with an average finish of 14.2, while leading the most laps in two races.
2. #6 Cotton Owens (-1,830)
Owens got second in points, winning one race and getting 13 top-fives and 22 top-10s for an average finish of 10.4. Owens also led the most laps in one race as well.
1. #42 Lee Petty
Petty took the championship on the strength of 11 victories, 27 top-fives and 35 top-10s as he got an average finish of 6.2 and led the most laps in three races.
Race Winners (left) & Lap Leaders (right)
Link to stats database: https://www.racing-reference.info/yeardet/1959/W
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