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Tim Flock, a pioneer of big-time stock car racing and one of NASCAR's top 50 drivers, died Tuesday at his home after a battle with liver and throat cancer. He was 73.

Flock was the youngest of three brothers who were among the most colorful drivers in the early years of the sport. He raced eight times with a monkey -- Jocko Flocko -- as a passenger in 1953.

He won 40 times in 189 career starts at stock car racing's highest level, and his winning percentage (.212) remains the best in NASCAR history. He's still tied with current Winston Cup star Bill Elliott for 13th place in career victories, and set a NASCAR record with 19 poles in 1955. He won the Winston Cup title in 1952 and 1955.

Driving the No. 300 Chrysler owned by millionaire Carl Kiekhaefer, Flock won 18 races on his way to his second championship. That stood as the circuit's record until Richard Petty won 19 races in 1967.

"He was truly one of the heroes of his day," NASCAR president Bill France said.

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