Jarrett & Petty Among NASCAR HOF Inductees
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Sports Network) – Former Sprint Cup Series champion Dale Jarrett and legendary engine builder Maurice Petty were among those selected in the 2014 class of inductees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Drivers Tim Flock, also a former Cup champion, Jack Ingram and Glenn “Fireball” Roberts will join Jarrett and Petty in the NASCAR HofF’s fifth class.
The hall’s 54-member voting panel met on Wednesday in Charlotte to vote on next year’s induction class. A national fan vote made up the panel’s 55th and final ballot. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France announced the new inductees. The 2014 Induction Day at the NASCAR HofF is scheduled for Jan. 29.
Flock garnered 76 percent of the vote, followed by Petty (67 percent), Jarrett (56), Ingram (53) and Roberts (51). The inductees came from a group of 25 nominees. Jarrett and Petty were added to that list of nominations on April 10.
The next top vote getters were Jerry Cook, Joe Weatherly and Wendell Scott.
Results for the fan vote conducted through NASCAR.com were (in alphabetical order): Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Jarrett, Benny Parsons and Roberts.
“This is always one of the most interesting days of the year for me,” France said during his opening remarks when announcing the five inductees. “I’m privileged to be a part of the voting panel. Like every year, the list of 25 nominees, all in my view, one day will be in the (NASCAR) Hall of Fame.”
Jarrett is the 1999 Cup champion, a three-time Daytona 500 winner and two-time winner of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His 32 career wins rank him 21st on the series’ all-time race winners list. He currently serves as a commentator for ESPN and ABC’s coverage of NASCAR. Jarrett’s father, Ned, is a two-time champion in NASCAR’s premier series and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011. They become the third father-son duo selected to the NASCAR HofF, following Bill France Sr. and Bill France Jr., as well as Lee Petty and Richard Petty.
“I am very much surprised that this happened on the first ballot,” Dale Jarrett said. “Once I saw that I was on the (nominee) list, I was very appreciative of that. I figured that in a few years down the road that it would probably happen. But I really came here with no idea. I just didn’t think that.”
Maurice Petty, the chief engine builder at Petty Enterprises, becomes the fourth member of the famed family in NASCAR to be chosen for membership in the hall. His cousin, Dale Inman, became the first crew chief to be inducted in 2012. Richard Petty was inducted in the inaugural class in 2010, and Lee Petty was enshrined the following year. Maurice gave Richard the horsepower he needed to claim seven Cup championships and win a record 200 races, including seven in the Daytona 500.
“The hair on the back of my neck just stood up; it really did,” Maurice Petty jokingly said of his reaction to being inducted in the NASCAR HofF. “It’s great. Golly, it’s great. That’s all I can say. I thank the Lord for it.”
Flock was one of the first dominant drivers in NASCAR. He won two Cup titles and recorded 39 race victories during his career. Flock’s first championship came in 1952. When he claimed his second title in 1955, his 18 race wins stood as a single-season victory record until Richard Petty surpassed it with 27 wins in 1967. Flock died in 1998 at the age of 73.
Before the inception of the NASCAR Busch Series in 1982, which is now known as the Nationwide Series, Ingram won three consecutive championships, from 1972-74, in its precursor — the Late Model Sportsman Division. He captured the inaugural Busch title in ’82 and again in ’85. All but two of Ingram’s 31 career wins in the series came on short tracks.
“It’s just a great, great thing to happen to somebody that put a life into short-track racing on Friday nights and Saturday nights,” Ingram said. “To be recognized for what you’ve accomplished is a good feeling.”
Roberts, who got his legendary nickname, “Fireball,” from his days as a pitcher in high school, is arguably the first superstar in NASCAR. During Roberts’ career, he won seven races at Daytona International Speedway, starting with the Firecracker 250 in the summer of 1959, the year the speedway opened. His lone Daytona 500 victory came in 1962. He also won the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in 1958 and ’63. Roberts died 39 days after an accident during the 1964 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
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