Getty Images

Clinton "Delma" Cowart, a Savannah, Ga. native who became famous for his low-budget efforts to try and race in the Daytona 500 during his career, died on Wednesday in hospice care. He was 80. Cowart's passing was announced on social media by his daughter.

Cowart worked in the small structure construction business, owning a business and specializing as a swimming pool contractor. But Cowart's claim to fame was as a hobby racer in the NASCAR Cup Series, as he spent 17 years dabbling in racing at the highest levels of stock car racing -- most notably at the Daytona 500.

He spent many years attempting to qualify for behind the wheel of car No. 0. While Cowart only qualified for 21 Cup races during his career with a best finish of 17th, he gained notoriety for the wild way he went about being an underdog driver. Cowart was notorious for his personality and nightlife escapades, once summarizing his career by stating in an Associated Press interview that "I never won a race, but I never lost a party."

In addition to the Daytona 500, Cowart's interests as a driver were on other prestigious, high-paying races such as the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte and the Talladega 500, in addition to races at tracks like Atlanta, Rockingham and Michigan.

"It's pretty simple," explained Cowart once, as recounted in a story by "All the big races pay the most money, and if you luck up and win the race, well, last place pays about $48,000. And Lord knows I can use the money. I've got three ex-wives. I'm so broke, I can't pay attention."

Although Cowart either failed to qualify or withdrew from more races (61) than he ever competed in (21), he did end up racing in the Daytona 500 a total of four times with a best finish of 25th in 1992. Cowart kept showing up until 1997. He retired in 1998 at the old Whiskey Pete's bar in Daytona Beach.