Last Updated: January 14, 2024
Richest AthletesRace Car Drivers
Net Worth:
$50 Million
Mar 27, 1939 - Dec 31, 2023 (84 years old)
Timmonsville, South Carolina
Race car driver, Farmer, Businessperson
United States of America
💰 Compare Cale Yarborough's Net Worth

What Was Cale Yarborough's Net Worth?

Cale Yarborough was an American businessman, farmer, and former NASCAR driver and owner who had a net worth of $50 million at the time of his death in 2023. Cale Yarborough won three consecutive NASCAR championships in the 1970s, and he competed in IndyCar events as well. Over the course of his 31-year racing career, Cale had 83 wins and 319 Top Tens and won 69 pole positions. He retired in 1988 and spent the remainder of his life focused on Cale Yarborough Motorsports. He was named the National Motorsports Press Association Driver of the Year in 1977, 1978, and 1979, and he was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011. In 1986, he published the memoir "Cale: The Hazardous Life and Times of the World's Greatest Stock Car Driver," which he co-wrote with William Neely. Yarborough died on December 31, 2023, at the age of 84.

Early Life

Cale Yarborough was born William Caleb Yarborough on March 27, 1939, in Timmonsville, South Carolina. He was the son of Annie and Julian Yarborough, and he had two younger brothers. Julian owned a store and worked as a cotton gin operator and tobacco farmer. When Cale was 12 years old, his father died in a private airplane crash. Yarborough attended Timmonsville High School and was a halfback on the football team, then he spent four years playing semi-pro football in Columbia. He made his NASCAR debut at the Southern 500 in 1957 and finished in 42nd place. In 1960, Cale finished 14th at Southern States Fairgrounds, the first time he had finished in the top 15. He competed in eight races in 1962 and finished in tenth place at the Daytona 500 Qualifying Race.


In 1963, Yarborough began driving the  No. 19 Ford for Herman Beam, and that season he finished in fifth place twice. During the next season, he left Herman Beam to drive for Holman Moody and came in sixth at the North Wilkesboro Speedway. He drove for a few different owners the following season before winning at the Valdosta Speedway in the #06 Ford for Kenny Myler. Cale began driving for Banjo Matthews in early 1966 and finished in second place two consecutive times. He ended the season with the Wood Brothers, driving the No. 21 Ford. In 1967, Yarborough won races at the Firecracker 400 and Atlanta 500 before winning the Daytona 500. In 1968, he won the Atlanta 500 and the Motor State 500. In 1969, Ford produced the Cale Yarborough Special Edition Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II in his honor. Cale continued to drive for the Wood Brothers in 1970 and won the American 500, Michigan 400, and a Daytona qualifying race. In 1971, he had a top 10 Daytona finish in the No. 3 Plymouth for Ray Fox, and the following year he had two top 10 finishes driving for Hoss Ellington and came in tenth at the Indianapolis 500 in an Atlanta-Foyt for Bill Daniels. Cale spent most of 1971 and 1972 focusing on USAC races, and in 1973, he drove in every NASCAR Grand National race in the No. 11 Kar-Kare Chevrolet for Richard Howard. He won the Southern 500, Southeastern 500, and National 500, achieved 19 top 10 finishes, and ended the season second in points.

Yarborough won ten races, a career high, in 1974 and three races in 1975. He won the Winston Cup Championship in 1976, 1977, and 1978, becoming the first NASCAR driver to win three championships in a row. He won the Daytona 500 in 1977, and he won 10 races in 1978. In 1979, Cale got into a fight with Donnie and Bobby Allison after he and Donnie wrecked during the final lap of the Daytona 500. He won four races that season, including the National 500. In 1980, Yarborough won 14 poles, another career high, and at the end of the season he announced that he would be racing part-time for the remainder of his career. In 1981, he won the Firecracker 400 and Coca-Cola 500, followed by a win at the Southern 500 in 1982 and the Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 500 in 1983. In 1984, Yarborough won the Daytona 500 again as well as the Winston 500 and the IROC VIII championship, and he won the Talladega 500 and Miller High Life 500 in 1985. In 1986, Cale finished in the top 10 in five races and bought Jack Beebe's Race Hill Farm team, which he renamed Cale Yarborough Motorsports. In 1987, he finished in the top five twice in the No. 29 Oldsmobile Delta 88. He switched to an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme in 1988 and finished in ninth place twice. Yarborough retired at the end of the 1988 season.

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Personal Life

Cale married Betty Jo Thigpen on April 8, 1961, and they welcomed three daughters, Kelley, Julie, and B.J., together. Cale and Betty Jo remained together until his death in 2023. Yarborough owned the car dealership Cale Yarborough Honda, which was located in Florence, South Carolina, for more than two decades. In 1972, Cale was elected to the Florence County Council as a Republican, but he campaigned for Democrat Jimmy Carter, a longtime friend, during the 1976 presidential election and was reelected to the county council as a Democrat.


On December 31, 2023, Cale passed away at the McLeod Hospice House at the age of 84. His cause of death was complications from a "rare genetic disorder." NASCAR chairman Jim France said of the sad news, "Cale Yarborough was one of the toughest competitors NASCAR has ever seen. His combination of talent, grit and determination separated Cale from his peers, both on the track and in the record book. He was respected and admired by competitors and fans alike and was as comfortable behind the wheel of a tractor as he was behind the wheel of a stock car. On behalf of the France family and NASCAR, I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Cale Yarborough."


In 1993, Cale was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, followed by the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 1994 and Charlotte Motor Speedway's Court of Legends in 1996. NASCAR named Yarborough one of its 50 greatest drivers in 1998 and one of its 75 greatest drivers in 2023. He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011 and the South Carolina Hall of Fame in 2013. Part of South Carolina Highway 403 that runs through Timmonsville has been renamed Cale Yarborough Highway. Cale was named the NASCAR Grand National Series Most Popular Driver in 1967 and American Driver of the Year in 1977.

Cale Yarborough Career Earnings

  • 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup
    $56.1 Thousand
  • 1987 NASCAR Winston Cup
    $88.5 Thousand
  • 1986 NASCAR Winston Cup
    $106 Thousand
  • 1985 NASCAR Winston Cup
    $260.5 Thousand
  • 1984 NASCAR Winston Cup
    $385.9 Thousand
  • 1983 NASCAR Winston Cup
    $254.5 Thousand
  • 1982 NASCAR Winston Cup
    $218.3 Thousand
  • 1981 NASCAR Winston Cup
    $150.1 Thousand
  • 1980 NASCAR Winston Cup
    $432.3 Thousand
  • 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup
    $379.5 Thousand
  • 1978 NASCAR Winston Cup
    $423 Thousand
  • 1977 NASCAR Winston Cup
    $385.6 Thousand
  • 1976 NASCAR Winston Cup
    $294.6 Thousand
  • 1975 NASCAR Winston Cup
    $126.5 Thousand
  • 1974 NASCAR Winston Cup
    $226 Thousand
  • 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup
    $143.7 Thousand
  • 1972 NASCAR Winston Cup
    $11.3 Thousand
  • 1971 NASCAR Grand National
    $3.9 Thousand
  • 1970 NASCAR Grand National
    $115.9 Thousand
  • 1969 NASCAR Grand National
    $73.5 Thousand
  • 1968 NASCAR Grand National
    $134.1 Thousand
  • 1967 NASCAR Grand National
    $57.3 Thousand
  • 1966 NASCAR Grand National
    $23 Thousand
  • 1965 NASCAR Grand National
    $24 Thousand
  • 1964 NASCAR Grand National
    $9.4 Thousand
  • 1963 NASCAR Grand National
    $5.6 Thousand
  • 1962 NASCAR Grand National
    $2.7 Thousand
  • 1961 NASCAR Grand National
  • 1960 NASCAR Grand National
  • 1959 NASCAR Grand National
  • 1957 NASCAR Grand National
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