Bill Rexford Is NASCARS's Forgotten And Underappreciated Series Champion

NASCAR's second Cup champion receiving no love from Hall of Fame voters

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following article about CSHOF inductee Bill Rexford, written by Al Pearce, appeared in the September 13, 2018 edition of Autoweek Magazine. CSHOF President Randy Anderson and CSHOF inductee Jack Lawrence are both quoted within.

Bill Rexford

By almost any measure, the late Bill Rexford (left) is the least known and most underappreciated of NASCAR's 32 Cup Series champions. He's the only eligible champion never nominated for the Hall of Fame and the only one ignored when the sanctioning body recognized its 50 Greatest Drivers during its 50th anniversary season of 1998.


Mention him along pit road or in garages on race weekends and notice the blank stares and shrugged shoulders. Richard Petty recalls him only because Rexford beat two Hall of Fame drivers—including his father, Lee—for the 1950 championship. It was Rexford's sole claim to fame, one that barely resonates outside his hometown in far western New York state.


Dennis Rexford, 60, thinks the way his father became the champion might have contributed to his anonymity.


"I don't know that it bothers me because there's an asterisk by his name," he said from his home in California. "Didn't Lee Petty lose some points (809 of them, for running "outlaw races" not sanctioned by NASCAR) that year? That's part of why my father left NASCAR and went racing in the Midwest. He didn't think those people were happy that he'd won their championship. He was never on anyone's radar after that, so it is what it is." 

There is, in fact, no asterisk by Rexford's name in any record book. The entries simply list him as 1950 champion by 111 points over Fireball Roberts and 369 over Lee Petty. "And there shouldn't be an asterisk," said two-time Cup champion Ned Jarrett, one of the sport's most respected voices. "If Lee lost points, there must have been a good reason. Nobody's ever asked me but, yes, I think all our champions belong in the Hall of Fame." 

read more in the March newsletter...

Class of 2019 Inductees


The 38th annual Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet was held February 18 at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club. Above are eight of the nine inductees. Seated, from the left, are Steven Johnston, son of the late Charles Johnston; Terry Kye, daughter of the late Luella Kye; Cheryl Bailey; and Tiffany Decker. Standing are Vince Gullo; Mark Weaver; Mike Lopriore; and Bob Palcic. The ninth inductee is the late Jack Harper. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg.

The CSHOF also honored forty (40) of Chautauqua County's top athletes, coaches and teams for achieving New York State championships, National Championships, All-State status or All-American status in their respective sports during the past year. See the February newsletter for a list of these honorees as well as the CSHOF Legacy Society Awards winners.

Save the Date – June 15th

CSHOF golf tournament

The Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame is planning for its second annual golf tournament, Saturday, June 15, 2019, at the Chautauqua Golf Club. The tourney is open to inductees, members and friends of the CSHOF. Stan Marshaus, a 2006 CSHOF inductee, Board Director and former club pro at the Chautauqua course, and Sam Restivo a 2017 CSHOF inductee are co-chairmen of the event.

The event will be a shotgun-start scramble with men's, ladies' and mixed divisions. Thirty-one (31) foursomes will be registered. There will be food and drink on the course and a post-match meal will be provided. The projected fee is $300 per team ($75 per player.)

Further details will be announced as plans become finalized. To reserve a spot for your foursome, send an e-mail to or call 716-640-6219.

CSHOF Board & Officers Elected

CSHoF officers

2018-19 CSHOF officers, left to right, are Randy Anderson, Bob Schmitt, Ron Melquist, Lee
Johnson, Russ Ecklund and Bill Race.

The election of the Board of Directors of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame and its officers was recently held. Two directors, Phil Klinginsmith and Jim Painter, have left the Board. Their years of service to the CSHOF are greatly appreciated. Four new directors have been elected: Mike Anderson, Franni Carlson, Mike Cummings and Gary Loll. The current officers were re-elected for another term.

The CSHOF is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization with no paid employees. All officers and Board members serve without compensation or benefits.

A complete list of directors in on the About page.

Virtual Tour of the Hall of Fame Now Available

The Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame is one of several attractions in downtown Jamestown that is well worth a visit. But don't take our word for it! Click on the image below to take a virtual tour.


4-panorama 360VR Tour

panoramic tour by Dave Mariotti

Viewing tips:

  • To advance through the tour, click/tap on the Hall of Fame icon. It will float into view as you tour each section of the hall.
  • Click and hold mouse button down, drag in any direction to move the view.
  • To zoom in, press the SHIFT key.
  • To zoom out, press the CTRL key.
  • If your mouse has a wheel on it, rolling it forward or back will also zoom in and out.


Take a Virtual Tour of the Hall of Fame!

Hall of Fame

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