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June 15. 2014 8:25PM

Legendary NASCAR engine builder, owner, N.H. native Ray Fox dead at 98


RAY FOX (Photo from NASCAR.com) 

Ray Fox, who grew up in New Hampshire -- where he got his first taste of auto racing -- before becoming one of NASCAR's top engine builders, has died. He was 98.

According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Fox died Sunday afternoon at Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla.

"Fox ... was hospitalized a few days ago and was battling pneumonia," according to news-journalonline.com. "Two of his daughters were at his side during his passing."

Fox grew up in Pelham, and according to NASCAR, saw his first automobile race at the 2-mile board track at Rockingham Park in Salem. He served in the U.S. Army in World War II and then moved to Daytona Beach, Fla., to work as a mechanic.

"In 1960, Fox built the Chevrolet in which NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson won the Daytona 500," according to his biography on NASCAR.com. "Rookie of the year and NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson won three times in 1960 driving Fox-built Pontiacs."

He became an owner in 1962 and won nine times with Johnson driving and twice with Buck Baker behind the wheel. Others who drove Fox’s cars included Cale Yarborough, Fred Lorenzen, Buddy Baker and Charlie Glotzbach.

Following his retirement in the 1970s, he returned to NASCAR to become engine inspector in 1990. He remained in that position for six years before retiring again. He was nominated for the NASCAR Hall of Fame this year.



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