Independant NASCAR driver and owner who raced between 1955 and 1979. He scored 26 top ten finishes in his 338 NASCAR starts. Famous for giving Dale Earnhardt his first Winston Cup race in 1975.
Ed Negre was born in Kelso, Washington, USA. He started racing on the local tracks in Logview, Washington before graduating to NASCAR in 1955. He competed in 338 Nextel Cup Series events between 1955 and 1979 and was one of the sport's top independents.
However without works backing Negre never had the best equipement and only finished in the top ten on twenty-six occasions, including just four top fives. He best series finish was 12th in 1971 and his best race finish was a fourth at Portland in his second year in NASCAR.
Negre took over the Number 8 midway through the 1969 season and apparently still get a percentage of the royalties of any NASCAR merchandise with the number 8 on it.
In May 1975 Negre achieved a place in NASCAR history by giving his friend Dale Earnhardt his first Winston Cup race at the World 600 at Charlotte. In Negre's Dodge he started 33rd and finished 22nd, one position ahead of Richard Childress, who Earnhardt would end up driving for.
In 1976 he entered the Grand National class in the IMSA round at Daytona, the Daytona 24 Hour race. The Grand National class was added that year to try to increase spectator numbers and over 30,000 turned up to watch. Driving with Bob Mitchell and Italian Formua One driver, Arturo Merzario, retiring the Dodge Charger after 144 laps. The class was won by David and Larry Pearson along with Gary and Jim Bowsher in a Ford Torino (17th overall).
Negre retired from driving at the end of the 1979 season but continued as an owner until 1981 without ever winning a race as driver or owner. Buddy Arrington and Dean Dalton also drove for him.