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Tag:NASCAR Hall of Fame
Posted on: January 23, 2012 12:47 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2012 2:58 pm
 

Next Hall of Fame Class should be diverse

By Pete Pistone

  Members Of The NASCAR Hall Of Fame Stand On Stage
(Current Hall of Fame members represent a wide cross section of NASCAR's history)


CHARLOTTE - Three classes have been inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame with the latest going in last Friday night. That quartet - Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, Glen Wood, Dale Inman and Richie Evans - has set a precedent for perhaps some new thinking in nominating future classes.

The voting panel clearly made a statement in the 2012 class. The eclectic range of names that found their way into the Hall this time around represents an array of different contributions to NASCAR's history.

Waltrip and Yarborough are among the best drivers ever to compete at the sport's top level. Inman may be the gold standard of crew chiefs while Wood was a founding father of the legendary Wood Brothers Racing team, one of NASCAR's original organizations. Finally Evans represents the short track racer who may not have made his way to the Sprint Cup Series but nevertheless made his mark on the sport.

So going forward the focus won't necessarily have to be on drivers who excelled in the Sprint Cup Series as conventional wisdom might have led some to believe when the HOF first opened its doors only three years ago. With 60 plus years of history to recognize, NASCAR is playing catch up to some degree in comparison to other professional sports who have enjoyed having Halls for a much longer period. 

But limiting the thought process to simply the people who made their mark behind the wheel is not part of the criteria based on the first three years of voting.

My personal belief is even with that more wide open approach, the pioneers of NASCAR from whatever capacity should be recognized first. With each passing year the likes of Red Byron of Raymond Parks are not remembered the tougher telling the story of their legacy becomes.

I don't have a vote but if I did here are the next five members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame for the Class of 2013:
 

Raymond Parks 

NASCAR’s first championship-winning car owner should not be overlooked any longer. Parks was part of the original committee that helped form the sanctioning body at the famed meeting held in Florida’s Streamline Hotel and won the 1949 championship with driver Red Byron. Without Raymond Parks there would be no Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Jack Roush, Joe Gibbs or other successful team owners of today. He’s a true pioneer of the sport and belongs in the Hall. It's been one of the most unfortunate casualties of the process that Parks remains on the united list.

Red Byron 

He won NASCAR’s first race in 1948 and was the first champion in 1949 behind the wheel of Raymond Parks’ ride. A World War II veteran, Byron is NASCAR’s original hero and like his title-winning team owner a pioneer who is owed a debt of gratitude by the entire sport for paving the way. Someone who achieved what Byron did who made their living at baseball or football would have a spot in Cooperstown or Canton by now. It's a shame that NASCAR has not found a home for Byron among its HOF honorees.
 

Buck Baker

He was the first driver to win back-to-back Sprint Cup championships (1956 , '57) and finished second in '55 and '58. Baker won 46 races in Cup and also won in the Modified and Sportsman (which eventually became Nationwide) divisions. An ex-moonshine runner like many early NASCAR stars, Baker made 631 Cup starts from 1949 to 1976. He's in six Halls of Fame and the next stop should be the one in Charlotte.
 

Cotton Owens

He won 32 races as a car owner and nine as a driver in Cup and also was NASCAR's Modified champion in 1953 and 1954. Owens was runner-up to Lee Petty for the 1959 Cup championship. He doubled up as an owner and mechanic in 1961 before going on to win the 1966 Sprint Cup title with David Pearson who went to victory lane fourteen times.
 

Barney Hall

It's time to recognize some of the pioneers who helped bring NASCAR racing to millions more than those who bought tickets through the media. Hall has been the radio voice of the sport for more than 40 years and still anchors Motor Racing Network broadcasts today. The second you hear the voice of Barney Hall coming from your radio speakers you know you're listening to a NASCAR race. He's one of the sport's treasure and deserves to be recognized for his amazing contribution.

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Posted on: January 21, 2012 9:23 am
 

Cale Yarborough Hall of Fame speech

Posted by Brian De Los Santos

Cal Yarborough's Hall of Fame induction speech with introduction from Ken Squier.

KEN SQUIER

Thank you very much.  Cale Yarborough.  He was always about believing in oneself, self-reliance, and the imagination to test it and test it completely.  Dream big.  That was Cale.

Now, that was a gift that Julian and his mother, Anna Mae, they provided their three sons down there on that small farm in Timmonsville, South Carolina, and for Cale it became his strongest suit.

When he was a pup, his dad took him to a stock car race, just a couple of guys getting a little dusty.  On a Thursday night it might have been in Columbia, on Friday it would have been Florence, but Saturday was Sumter.  And he was imagining, just imagining that he would be out there someday, just ten years old, and for him that's still unforgettable.

Cale was sure, sure that his dad was going to be a racer.  And then there was that plane crash.  His number one guy, with whom he sat by his radio on the farm and listened to that first Darlington 500 and had told Cale that the next year they'd be 17 miles from Timmonsville for sure on Labor Day to see that race.  Farm folk, resilient, risk takers.  Cale just elected to take his risks a little different from the family and the neighbors.

But talk about determination and self-reliance.  Hard times?  You bet.  Dead broke?  Started racing at 15, often.

His mother later in a television broadcast, they did an interview with her, and she remembered saying to Cale, "Cale, why do you do it?"  Said the same thing when he took up boxing when he was 13, said the same thing when he took up skydiving, said the same thing when he got into the business of parachuting, one time missed the target by two miles.  And then there was the Cale Yarborough aerial and auto stunt show, three acts.  "Cale, why do you do it?"

And then there was the alligator wrestling.  Once was enough.  He went where the chances so often were slim to none, and he always did it against the biggest odds.  Persistent?  Oh, you bet.  He pushed and prodded until the Timmonsville Flash became a name to be reckoned with.

Early days in those Southern Carolina short tracks, he drove hard, he drove so hard, they would claim after race after race that he would come in and get sick to his stomach.  The first time he won a major race, that was the Atlanta 500 for the Wood Brothers, he got out of that race car, and he said he threw up two quarts of Valvoline.

Driving for Junior Johnson, childhood hero, he heard the command from Junior that really defined his style.  Four words, with which he really chimed.  Junior Johnson ordered, "Go to the front."  Good enough for him.  Fit his style.  It was a style that made a very famous American author William Neeley, Bill Neeley, later write in one of his books, "There is no doubt that Cale Yarborough will go down in history as the hardest charger who ever lived, the most aggressive of them all."

Richard Petty, he said it differently.  He said, "If Cale is just keeping up, you know he's doing as best as he can on that day.  Otherwise he'd be in front of you."  He was and still is today the real deal.  Sports followers of all stripes recognized it.  February, 1983.  When that race was over, J.J. O'Malley, lead line in the National Speed Sport News said, "Cale Yarborough took 25 million people for a Sunday afternoon ride to victory lane in the silver anniversary Daytona."

That was when he carried that CBS camera and the audio in that Waddell Wilson prepared Pontiac, No. 28, and let me add something here that wasn't talked about in the script and so on.  But prior to that race, CBS had those big meetings up in New York about how they were going to make it different.  Shoot, they'd been doing the Daytona 500 since 1979.  What are we going to do differently?

The idea was brought forth that perhaps the thing to do would be to talk to the driver during the race.  For heaven's sakes, what are you talking about?  You can't talk to the drivers while they're in the race; they're risking their lives.  What is all that about?  Well, maybe we could talk to them while they're under caution.

Well, that's the worst idea we've ever heard.  Can we make one phone call?  Just one.  So I called Cale, and I laid out the deal, and there was dead silence.  There wasn't a word.  And then Cale said, "I'll tell you what, I'll do it on one condition:  If you let me, from inside my car, describe what it feels like to come down to start the Daytona 500."  Jesus God, there is a Lord.  Oh, my heart.  And he did it, and he set the table for that broadcast in 1983.

Six cautions, last caution came with 33 laps to go.  Went under caution, Cale is running fourth and hanging in there.  And the world is watching and listening to him at that time talk about what he could do with this.  And it reminded me in later years of those great moments that come in sport, those very special moments when a great athlete tells you what he's going to do and he goes out and does it.

So Cale, you're running fourth, you've got the giant, Buddy Baker, fastest 500 to date in history, 1980, up in front.  You've got Joe Ruttman running in second, driving the finest performance of Joe Ruttman's life, and you've got the kid from the Dawsonville Pool Hall there, the new kid on the block, he's running pretty good, too, Bill Elliott.  Cale is tagging along.  So what are you going to do, Cale, if you're going to win this 500?  And he told us what he was going to do, that he was going to run back there, try to stay with those leaders, but when it came to the last lap, he was going to go for it, and he would be there.

That story was done 80 years before in the World Series in Chicago.  The Yankee Clipper, Joe Louis, it's one of the most remembered stories in the history of baseball.  Ruth gets up to bat against the Cubs, takes that bat, didn't like at all the pitcher on the other side, Root, and he waved that bat at him, then waved it up at center field.  Root reared back, he let her fling, and the babe ran that rascal right up over the fence.  It's one of those moments that's not forgotten.

And Cale replicated that.  He duplicated that in '83.  Gets down to it, and those last laps, the final 11 laps of that race, knows the tale.  He was giving America the most dramatic sense of what this sport was all about.

That big ol' car swishing around out there and him holding on, guiding that thing through those corners, white flag, one lap to go, he mashes the throttle, he looked like a rattlesnake striking, down to the inside, came around through 2 into the back stretch, and there was a moment as he slipped by Elliott, slipped by Ruttman, pulls alongside Baker, oh, my heart, here comes '79 all over again, the two of them start down the back stretch, and then Baker pulled away and he won that race.  This was Cale's time, and in that moment he came through, just like that babe Ruth story from 80 years past this year.

He called the shot and showed America how it was done, but more important, with that aggressive charge, he told us so much about the style that was the sport, and he said so much about the racer.  So hear it again.  You've heard it all night.  But hear it once again.  Cale Yarborough, with a faithful and trusting woman by him every step of the way, became three-time, first time in NASCAR history, consecutive champion of the most competitive racing series in the world, four-time winner of the Great American Race.  And recognized throughout the game, three-time winner, always trying to get him two more, ladies and gentlemen, it is a great pleasure and indeed biggest honor I've had that on this 20th day of January, the year 2012, to present the Hall of Fame inductee ring and the official induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame to Cale Yarborough.

CALE YARBOROUGH

Thank you, Ken.  You know, tonight as far as I'm concerned is a thank you night for so many people that have made it possible for me to be here tonight.  You know, racing is kind of like a big, tall ladder.  When you begin, you start off on the bottom step of that ladder, and it's a long, hard climb to the top.  But I feel like tonight I'm finally standing on the top step.  It's been tough, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of hard times, but there are five of us here tonight, and I congratulate each one of them, and thank you, Donnie, for doing the video for me.

But the first one I want to thank is my wife, Betty Jo, of almost 53 years of putting up with me and sticking with me throughout some awful hard times, I'm going to tell you.  She should be standing right here with me tonight.  I didn't get here tonight.  I had help, and she was my biggest help.

I would like to tell a little story about when we first moved to Charlotte in the early 60s, John Holman gave me a job at Holman & Moody's sweeping the floor for $1.25 an hour, and Betty Jo and Julie and I, she was our only little girl at the time, we moved to Charlotte.  And lived in a little old cabin that John Holman let us live in except he charged us rent.  We had to pay for it.  But the only thing that I owned to my name was my wife and my daughter.  We were flat broke when we got here.

A few weeks ago I was out in my farm shop, and the telephone rang, and I knew Betty Jo had gone to parts, I think, and I knew she wasn't going to answer, so I picked it up and answered it, and it was a lady from Columbia, South Carolina, that owns a very, very high-priced women's dress store.  And she says, "Would you please tell Betty Jo that her outfit for the induction banquet is in."  I says, "Okay, I'll tell her."  I knew this was going to hurt.

Anyway, after I hung up, I got to thinking about the hard times that we went through, and she stuck with me through some awful hard times.  We had a budget we could go by, just had to stick with it.  And we'd go to the grocery store on Saturday night to buy enough groceries to last out the week.  We were there one Saturday night and we had our grocery cart filled with everything we thought we could afford.  We had to keep a count of everything that we bought so we could pay for it when we got to the checkout counter.

Well, we were coming down the last aisle heading toward the checkout counter and happened to come upon a pallet of cans of black eyed peas that were on sale for 10 cents a can.  A big can, too.  So we talked about it, and she agreed.  We went back and put all the stuff that we bought back everywhere it was supposed to be, went back to that black eyed peas pallet and bought every can of black eyed peas that we could afford to buy.  We had black eyed peas for breakfast, we had black eyed peas for dinner, we had black eyed peas for supper, a long time.

Well, honey, I'm glad you went and bought that outfit because you look good in it, and I'm glad we could afford it.  But needless to say, this coming week we're going to be looking for another black eyed pea sale.

I've got to thank my daughters, three daughters, Julie, Kelly and B.J., all my grandkids, they're all here tonight, thank goodness.

And I've got to thank my mother.  Yeah, she did say, why did you do it, why do you do it, but she stuck with me throughout my whole racing career.  And thank you, Momma.  And she may get mad for telling this, but her next birthday she'll be 91 years old, and she's going strong, let me tell you.  And she looks like she's 60.  I wish I was in that good a shape.  And I've got two brothers, Jared and J.C., they're both here with me tonight, and thank you for coming.

As I said, this is a thank-you night for me.  All I can do is thank the people that made it possible for me to climb that long, tough ladder.  And I have one that's here with me tonight that gave me my first full-time ride as I was a young teenager on the short dirt tracks of South Carolina, and he's here as my guest tonight, J.N. Wilson.  Thank you, J.N., for getting me started.  That's been a long time ago, too.

Marion Cox, who gave me a lot of good rides early in my career, and I learned a lot from him.  Julian Buesink, who brought a car to Darlington and Daytona for me a few times during my early days, and he helped me an awful lot.  Then I teamed up with Herman Beam for the first full-time ride on the Grand National circuit, which is the Western Cook now, but back then it was called the Grand National.

And then a man by the name of Jacques Passino.  He was head of racing for Ford Motor Company, helped me an awful lot, parts, helping me get started, and I can tell you, if it hadn't been for Jacques Passino, I'm sure I wouldn't be here tonight.  Thank you, Jacques.

John Holman, who gave me my first job here at Holman & Moody's sweeping the floors.  I was glad to have it, a dollar and 25 cents an hour, but that's where it all started.  Ralph Moody, who taught me an awful lot about this sport.  Then there was Kenny Myler, who we had a good run with.  We were running a year-old car that Ford was letting us run, 1964 Ford, 1965.  Kenny gave me my first win in Valdosta, Georgia, on a half-mile dirt track in 1965.  That dirt track racing was tough back then.

Then I went with Banjo Matthews.  Banjo taught me a lot.  He caught me to run those 500-mile races.  He taught me how to do it.

And then of course Glen Wood.  You can't say enough about the Wood Brothers.  They really put me in a top-notch car, and we won races.  And I'll tell you this:  I am so honored and so pleased to be inducted in the same class with Glen Wood.  It's just great -- turned out just right.  Then there was Leonard Wood.  Leonard, you won't be far behind us, bud.  You deserve every bit of it.

Then there's Ronald Bolstad who gave me my first ride at the Indianapolis 500, drove two years for him there.  And then Gene White, signed me a two-year contract to drive his IndyCars on the whole Indy circuit for two years.  And I did, because Ford had pulled out of racing and we didn't know what was going to happen the next years.  I had so many bills to pay, I had to know where a few dollars was coming in, and signed with Gene White.  I ran for Gene White for two years, and then I wanted to come back to NASCAR, wanted to come back to stock car racing, and as you heard, Junior was looking for a driver, and I was looking for a ride, and boy, we hooked up, and we had a good ride for sure.  Good ride.  Three championships, consecutive championships, my first championship, Junior's first championship.  Junior, can't thank you enough, man.  We had a good ride.

And then I decided for some reason -- Richard Petty, you don't know how many championships we might have won.  You might not have even been in the picture.  (Laughter.)

But anyway, I wanted to spend more time with my family, so I decided I'd cut my schedule back, would like to run about 15 or 16 races, and that's what I did.  I told Junior that I was going to back off some.  So I signed up with M.C. Anderson, a three-year contract to run 16 races a year.  We won so many races in the first two years, in the third year he wanted to run for the championship.  I said, M.C., that's not what the contract says.  I said, I'm going to run a limited schedule.

So I left M.C. and went to Harry Ranier, and of course Waddell Wilson.  And we did things that is almost unbelievable.  We had a great run.  I had so many good crew chiefs that helped me out so much throughout the years, and not only the crew chiefs, I had a lot of good crewmen, too.

But let me tell you, after I got through with Harry Ranier, I formed my own team like Harry did and Buddy did and a lot of us did, and I'll tell you, that was a big mistake.  And I drove part-time and I had different drivers and I got Dale Jarrett started and all.  I never could win a race in my car.  I could win in everybody else's car but never did win in my car.

The only race I won as a team owner was with John Andretti.  We won the Firecracker 400 in what year was it, I forgot.  We won that one year.  And John Andretti is here tonight, it's good to see him.

But once again, I just want to thank my family.  I want to thank my friends.  I want to thank my fans.  I want to thank the people that voted for me.  I want to thank NASCAR.  But most of all, thank you, Lord.
Posted on: January 21, 2012 9:19 am
 

Glen Wood Hall of Fame speech

Posted by Brian De Los Santos

Glen Wood's Hall of Fame induction speech with introduction from Leonard Wood.

LEONARD WOOD

Good evening, everyone.  I'd just like to -- what a night this is.  I mean, we've got like must be half of Patrick County here.  I would just like to say, this is one awesome Hall of Fame.  They've done such a great job of recognizing all the competitors, and there's so much to be seen in this place that it's well worth the tour.  I'd like to congratulate all the inductees.  All very deserving.

I was highly honored when Glen asked me to induct him into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and I told him I'd be more than happy to do so.  Glen has always been my big brother, and he still is.  Glen started racing 61 years ago.  Glen and his partner, Chris Williams and I, were riding down the road.  Chris says, what we've got to do is get some fame, and I'll have to say, this is as good as it gets.

Glen and I worked really well together.  We believed in each other, and we was at Bowman Gray practicing, and when he was on the racetrack his brakes would go to the floor.  He'd come in the pits, and he'd say, I know you think I'm lying to you, but when he come in the pits he had full pedal, and I said, no, Glen, I know you're not lying to me.

So the problem was the exhaust was blowing back on the master ceiling heating the fluid.  So we just take the exhaust completely off, he goes out and wins the race.  And I've got to tell you, nobody was better at Bowman Gray than Mr. Glen.

He had great success at Daytona Beach, he went down there three years in a row, he sat on the pole, won his class.  In '58 he sat on the pole and beat the record with 12 miles an hour, beat all the modified, finished first, and then third overall.  And then also in '59 he sat on pole at the new track in a convertible race.

And of course I know you guys have already figured it out that Glen and I both talk slow.  We went to Indianapolis, picked Jim Clark.  We just learned recently that when they heard us talk, they were talking to theirself, I sure hope they can pit faster than they're talking.

Glen has been supporting this sport for a long, long time.  They were having races on the beach back in 1947 before NASCAR was formed, and he's been to Daytona every year since.  Not only did Glen win 96 races as a driver, but he provided the opportunity for a lot of young drivers to win their first race.  75 drivers have driven for the Wood Brothers, 20 of which were the NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers.  The Wood Brothers feel extremely honored to have all those drivers driving for us, and I would like to point out there's a lot of former Wood Brothers drivers here tonight, and it's certainly a pleasure to see them.  I would like to have time to tell a story on one or two of them, but as slow as I talk, we'd be here all night.

Glen was always fair, honest, gave good advice, needed no more than a handshake.  Glen was a great race car driver, great businessman, proud of his family Eddie, Len, daughter Kim, his wife Bernice, and Glen was so proud of Eddie, Len and Kim for winning this past Daytona 500.

And speaking of this Daytona 500, Richard Petty, I would like to thank you for walking my brother Glen to the winner's circle, one of the most celebrated winner's circles ever.  And now on behalf of Eddie, Len, Kim, Bernice, the entire Wood Brothers race team and myself, it is now my honor on this, the 20th day of January, 2012, to present the Hall of Fame inductee ring and thus officially inducting one of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers, my big brother, Glen Wood.

GLEN WOOD

This is a long way from the cornfield.  Thank you, Leonard.  First of all, I'd like to thank the voters that voted for me and thank NASCAR and the France family and the Wood Brothers, all the employees at the Wood Brothers and crew members and drivers.  We've had so many great drivers, but David and Cale were most successful, so I'm proud to join them in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  And 17 other drivers have won races in Wood Brothers cars, starting with Speedy Thompson, Joe Weatherly, Tiny Lund, Marvin Panch.  I think he's here, Dan Gurney, Curtis Turner, Parnelli Jones, A.J. Foyt, Donnie Allison, Neil Bonnett, Buddy Baker, Kyle Petty, Dale Jarrett, Morgan Shepherd, Michael Waltrip, Elliott Sadler and Trevor Bayne, who won the last Daytona 500.  There's others who have driven our car, too, Jim Massey, Junior Johnson, Fred Lorenzen, Fireball Roberts, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader, Bill Elliott, Boris Said, Marcos Ambrose and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.  So you see why I had to read that.

And many thanks to Holman-Moody, who has helped me a lot in the old days and all their employees, especially engine builder Tommy Turner and Howard Dehart, and thanks to Jack Roush for his support over the years.

And we couldn't have done this without sponsors over the years.  Purolator with Paul Cameron and Citgo with Larry Britton, and I think he's here tonight.  And our current sponsors, Ford Motor Company, Motorcraft and Quick Lane.

I would like to acknowledge some of the old guys at Ford in the 1960s, Charlie Gray, Don Worman, Jack Pasinow, Mose Nolan, Don Sutherland and Peter DePaulo.  And a special thanks to the current leaders at Ford Motor Company, Alan Mullaly, Mark Fields Jim Farlane, Edsel Ford, Jamie Allison and the rest of the Ford racing staff.

Ford gave me a chance in 1956 when they asked me to be a part of the Ford racing team, which has led to this induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and I'm proud to have been with Ford Motor Company for the last 60 years.  We started racing in 1950, and I'd like to thank all my friends and fans from the past 60 some years, and especially from Patrick County.

A special thanks to all my brothers, Ray Lee, Clay and Delano and Leonard and my sister Crystal.  I've said it before, had it not been for Leonard and Ford Motor Company, I wouldn't have been here today.  And to my family, Bernice, Eddie, Len and Kim, and Carol, Nancy and Terry and to my grandchildren John, Kevin and Jordan.

I would like to thank Quinn Collins for use of the biography the other day for all his hard work, and I'd like to thank the guest speakers who had such good words to say about me.  And to all the NASCAR Hall of Fame staff here, too.  They've been pampering me like I've never been before.

Now, this is not just about me being inducted in the Hall of Fame.  It's also about the Wood Brothers.  And it's about NASCAR.  And I'm proud to have been a NASCAR driver and car owner for the past 60 years, and I'm proud of this great honor, and this is about two families, the Wood family and the Ford family working together, which has resulted in me being here tonight.  Thank you.
Posted on: January 21, 2012 9:15 am
 

Dale Inman Hall of Fame speech

Posted by Brian De Los Santos

Dale Inman's Hall of Fame induction speech with introduction from Richard Petty.

RICHARD PETTY

Well, they just took my speech away from me there on that camera deal.  I guess I'll just start out with telling you, we started out 75 years ago, Dale did, I'm not quite that old, and again, it shows we're born in the country with dirt roads, the whole deal, we grew up, didn't know what a race car was, used to race our bicycles down to the creek, go swimming, stuff like that.  It was just plain old situation where we was country and didn't know any better.

And then my dad started racing.  That kind of took us out all over the country.  I don't guess me and Dale, either one, had been out of Randolph County until we went to race somewhere in Wilkesboro somewhere.  Anyhow, we just grew up together, grew up around it.  Neither one of us was that mechanically inclined.  We just sort of learned as we went.  My dad taught us a lot, and we learned a lot on our own.

And way back when, there wasn't no such thing as a crew chief.  You know, they had mechanics, crew mechanics, whatever they wanted to call them, and Dale was basically the first one.  He's the one that basically started the crew chief operation, because we used to -- I guess in 1958 or something, my brother and Dale drove a '57 Oldsmobile to California, run the race and drove it back home.  That was pit crew, that was the whole deal.  And that's the way it started.

So we learned as we went, and over a period of time we got lucky, we got a truck, we got a trailer, went big-time, hired two or three people to go to work for us.  Dale come back out of the service and went to work for us full-time, and when we did -- I guess that was like '62, '63, somewhere, where he went full-time.  He worked for us all that time just on weekends, went to the races, went all over the country, Daytona, whatever.  And he was involved in a lot of different things.

And over a period of time we got more people to work on the car.  Where Dale was so good, he was good with people.  Somebody just drive up in the driveway and want a job, we had a place to put them in, Dale put them in there, worked them, and he was able to take a talent and know how far he could go with that talent, know how far this guy could really come along in the company, what he could do, whether he could change tires or work on the engine or rear end or whatever.

And I guess over a period of time, I always look back, Linda and myself think every once in a while about the people that graduated out of the Dale Inman School at Petty Enterprises.  I'll read you off a few of them here, Mike Beam, Barry Dodson, Jake Elder, Tony Glover, Steve Mills, Robby Loomis, Robin Pemberton.  These guys won championships, they won races, because they learned from Dale how things needed to be done.  He was one of the first ones to come in and take a car in and completely disassemble it from one race to another instead of waiting until something broke or just checking wheel bearings and stuff like that, completely disassembled engines, the cars.

And in doing that, that made those cars almost bulletproof.  That's the reason we won a lot of races.  But the deal is people didn't really understand the strategy of what Dale sort of figured.  He knew what he was trying to do, he watched over people, he knew whether they was going to change tires, get gas, whatever.

Just showed like the Daytona in '81.  Everybody would make a pit stop.  They did their strategy.  Then he comes back and does something different.  Luckily we didn't run out of gas, and we did win the race.

But it was a gamble to a certain extent, but he knew we wasn't going to win the race if we didn't do something like that.  You see more and more of that stuff coming along.

But of the 180 some, 90 some races that we won together, there's probably dozens of them in there that I don't think about or he don't think about, made the right call at the right time to make the thing all work.  And in doing that, it made it good for me, it made it good for him, it made it good for the racing, and from the standpoint of the things that he's accomplished, from, okay, I guess 1964 to 1984, he won eight championships, and that's pretty good in 20 years.

And like I say, almost 200 wins, seven Daytonas, 27 races one year, ten in a row.  I mean, it takes a pretty good crew just to have a car running ten races and not thrown out of the race to begin with.  But the big deal that Dale had that really made the whole thing work was people.  He knew how to work with people.  If he was going to get on to you, he'd take you off to the side and tell you about it.  He didn't let you know it, get in front of somebody and really make you feel bad.  He knew how to work people.

And the deal with working people was what it was all about.  We started out, we had five or six people, then we had ten people, then we had 15 or 20 people.  And as time went on, he was able just to bring more and more people in, do different things and make the whole deal.

And I always looked at the way that Dale approached things, with attitude, confidence and focus.  That's what he did with his people, and that's the reason he was able to be a winner like what he is.

I'm supposed to say this:  It is now my honor on this 20th day of January, 2012, to present the Hall of Fame inductee ring and special induct Dale Inman into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

DALE INMAN


I'm kind of familiar with this ring.  For the last two or three years Richard has put it in my face a bunch of times.  (Laughter.)

I want to introduce my family, Mary, my wife of some 52 years; my daughter Tina; her husband Chris; my granddaughter Taylor; Logan; my son Jeffrey; his wife Melissa; and my grand daughters Peyton and Addison.  I'm so proud of all of you.

Linda is here tonight, Linda Petty.  I'm so glad you're here.  You've meant so much to me and Mary over the years, it's just -- there's no words for it.  I'm so glad you're here.

And of course Terry Labonte and his wife Kim.  Terry, the '84 season was very special.  And Terry, we're going to have to worry about the Cowboys and the Indians this weekend, will we?  They're gone.

Richard hit on me and Maurice driving the race car to Riverside, California, in 1958.  He didn't clear that up very good.  Him and Maurice was supposed to drive it, and he was out in the yard showing off and trying to walk on his hands and hurt his shoulder, so I was his substitute driver, and I won't go into that much, but you didn't race but you drove the race car to Riverside, California, run a 500-mile road course, then got home and rode down in Wilcox, Arizona, had to order a housing from another town, and it come in on the bus.  I didn't think this country boy would ever get home.

And then in today's world, we talk about track conditions.  We might have a ten-degree change in temperature.  We might have a cloud cover.  But I happen to be lucky enough to be with the Pettys on the beach in 1958, the last race on the beach.  Four miles out -- how many miles down the beach?  A long way.  And then you go through a sand bank, up the beach when the tide is out, and Junior has run there, but you're talking about track conditions, now, that was some track conditions.

And then we still get back to 1958, and back then the drivers had to be 21 years old before they could drive, and that would affect a lot of it today.  But Richard turned 21 July the 2nd, 1958, and ten days later, me and him and the Red Miler took a convertible to Columbia, South Carolina, eight miles of dirt, slick track.  We get down there and Richard had never driven.  We didn't know whether he could last or not.  Joe Willy was down there without a car, so we talked to Joe and said if Richard needs help, will you help him.  He said, well, sure.

And of course this was before radios, so we had to communicate with black boards, and the signal for a driver was go to your head.  Of course the drivers today with radios uses some gestures, but they're pretty expensive.  But Richard went to his head two or three times, and I'd go get Joe and Joe would come and put his helmet on, his little golfing gloves.  Going home, I said, Richard what was you doing, he was wanting relief and you wouldn't come in.  He said, oh, my head was itching.

So it's come a long way.  And of course you probably haven't raced until the mid '60s when we'd leave home with a race car in a period of about ten days.  We'd run five or six races where we'd come home, and that was -- I guess it was fun.  I don't know.

And then, of course, Mr. Helton hit on it last night.  He said they used to run the Daytona race, the July race on the 4th of July no matter what day it turned out on, so in '69 it turned out to be on a Friday.  And this was great.  The only problem was we had run Dover on Sunday and had never seen the place.  Nobody had ever seen it.  And of course we won that one.  (Laughter.)

Of course I'd like to say a special thanks to all branches to the military, the men and women that keep us free.  It is so great for the military.

And of course I'm proud that I served my time, you know what I mean.  And it's just -- when I look back over all this, the wins, the Daytona wins, the championships and all that, I think over the years the people I've met, the places I've seen, the friends I've made, both in and out of racing, that sticks out big.  Now, maybe years ago it wouldn't have, but I know some of us older people respect that.

I'd like to thank the entire staff here at the Hall of Fame and NASCAR, what a wonderful job they've done for us, and they've been so nice to me and my family.  And congratulations to the other four inductees and their family.  I know they're very proud.  And of course you know we're coming up on the 2012 season.  Imagine that.

And I want to wish all the luck in the world to all the active crew chiefs now, and especially to the 9 and the 43; get after 'em, boys.

I just want to thank everybody.  It's been such a big night tonight, really a thrill for me, and thank you so much.  Thanks everybody.


Posted on: January 21, 2012 8:46 am
Edited on: January 21, 2012 9:15 am
 

Darrell Waltrip Hall of Fame speech

Posted by Brian De Los Santos

The following video is from Darrell Waltrip's post-HOF induction press conference. The transcript of his HOF speech is below.




Transcript of Darrell Waltrip's Hall of Fame speech:  

I've got to straighten something out before we can get to any of this other stuff.  It wasn't that I talked that much.  Those other guys didn't talk at all.  So it just looked like I was talking a lot.  I had to fill in the blanks.  If there is something that needed to be explained, DW had to explain it.  So it looked like that I talked a lot, but I honestly didn't.  I just want you to know that, for you new fans that have listened to all this stuff tonight.

But Jeff, thank you so much.  Hammond and I, we've had a great driver-crew chief relationship, and that's the success in this sport, just like Dale and Richard, Hammond and I, we went through a lot of ups and downs.  We won the Daytona 500 together, with Stevie helping us a little bit along the way.  We retired from racing together.  We started our FOX journey together.  Here he is tonight, and he just whispered in my ear, "Don't kiss me like you did Brian France."  And I can't get Mike Joy to come out here because he's afraid I'm going to grab him and start yelling, is this the Hall of Fame.

I left a strong impression on both of them.  This is a red letter night.  You have to admit.  Bobby Allison said I deserved to be in the Hall of Fame.  Does anybody in here know how big that is?  That's big.  And he swore to me that they weren't holding a gun to him or anything, he did it right out of the goodness of his heart.  So thank you, Bobby.

Richie Evans, I want to congratulate the Richie Evans family, great job tonight.  I watched Richie win race after race after race at Martinsville, and in my world, it's what I call a wheel man, and Richie Evans was the best wheel man I ever saw, and when he raced at Martinsville -- guys, old guys particularly, is there not a race car -- is there not a first race car that we ever painted that we didn't have to go get the paint from somewhere, or mix up a whole bunch of spare cans of paint, mix them all together and see what the heck we're going to get?  I know somewhere in Rome, New York, I saw these guys, there's a men's shop missing a whole bunch of orange ties.  Just like that street department is missing a whole bunch of orange paint.

Dale Inman, I tell Dale this all the time, and I'm serious, if I got into a little run-in with Richard, all Richard ever really did, he just poked me in the chest with -- it looked like ET's finger, so I knew he'd go away.  But Dale on the other hand, if I had a problem and Dale remembered I had a little problem with Richard one race at Richmond, I wasn't looking for Richard to apologize, I was looking for Dale to apologize because Dale Inman would hurt you.

Mr. Wood, Leonard and Glen and David Pearson, my great hero friend David Pearson, when I came into this sport, not a lot of people warmed up to my style.  I couldn't understand why; charming, nice, friendly, very conversational, but a lot of guys didn't seem to warm up to that.  But David Pearson did, and if I had a problem, if I needed help, I could go to Leonard Wood and David Pearson.  If I had a problem with my car, Leonard was there.  If I had something I needed to know about driving, David was there, and I always appreciated that very much.

This is hard for you to believe, I know, but when Cale said he was going to cut back on his schedule in 1980, he came to me and told me before he told anyone else.  He knew that Junior liked my style - thank you, Junior.  He liked my style until he hired me, and then he thought maybe I needed to work on it a little bit.  Cale has been one of my best friends through the years.  He gave me a great tip to go drive for Junior, and how many of you guys in here have had another driver give you a nickname as great as Jaws?  I mean, that's a buddy right there.

You know, this night, these men and the people in this room, they're what inspire me.  They are what inspired me to be a race car driver.  They are what inspired me to -- Cale said he climbed a ladder.  I feel like I climbed a lot of mountains, and the climbing was rough.  But these men in this room inspired me to be successful and to be good, and they gave me great examples of how to do that for every one of them from all the inductees from the prior hall classes, Richard, Bobby, David, thank you very much for being patient with me and helping me when I needed it.

You know, before the night started and I was talking to Stevie, and I said, boy, honey, I just hope I don't get emotional and break down somewhere along the way and tear up, and she said, "DW, when you talk about something you're passionate about, you're going to get a little emotional."  Well, I'm passionate about a lot of things.  I'm passionate about what I've done.  I'm passionate about my career, but I'm most passionate about my family.

My mom, sitting right up here on the front row in her wheelchair, Momma, thank you for being here tonight.  What an effort it took for her to be here.  I called mom and I said, "Mom, are you going to be okay?  It's a long evening.  Do you think you can hang in there?"  She said, "Son, I've been with you all the way.  I'm not going to miss this for anything in the world."  So Mom, thank you for being here.

I can tell you a quick story about mom.  When I started racing, we started racing go-karts.  We had a little storage room that we worked on the go-kart in.  It wasn't even a garage.  So in order to build the engines for the go-kart, we needed a place to work on them.  So it always ended up being in the kitchen, in mom's kitchen.  Daddy would wash the parts in the sink.  I know now why that fried chicken always tasted like gasoline, by the way.  We'd wash the parts in the sink and then we'd take the parts over to the kitchen table.  You ever see one of those yellow formica kitchen tables back in the 60s?  We chipped it one time, and that just about ended my go-kart career, messing up mom's kitchen table.

But you know, she let me follow my passion, and she was there for me, her and dad, and they did a lot.  They went to every race.  But the other part of my family is my brothers and sisters.  Five kids, dad drove a Pepsi truck, mom worked at the IGA and we didn't have a lot of extra cash.  So it took a lot to keep me in business.  It took a lot for me to be able to race my go-kart and pursue my dream, and my brothers and sister, Caroline who's worked for me for 30 years, Bob Wall who helped me start the race team in 91, my sweet sister Connie.  And by the way, Michael and I, we're the only two brothers that have ever won the Daytona 500, so I appreciated him for that.

And then it's been the most important people in my life are right here on the front row.  This has been a big week for DW.  Not just tonight.  I mean, this is huge for my career, but in my family life, we found out that Fausto and Jessica, my oldest daughter and her husband, are expecting their first child.  So I'll be a grandfather.  And if you ever want to see DW speechless, my Sarah, who was on a mission trip in the Philippines, as early as Wednesday, we talked to her earlier in the week, Dad, I wish I could be there, I know it's a big night, I'm sorry I can't make it.  When I checked into the hotel room last night and I opened the door, my Sarah was there.  She flew 25 hours to be here tonight, and she's got to turn around Sunday and fly 25 hours back to the Philippines.  That's sweet.  That means a lot to an old dad, trust me.

And then there's the redhead.  If there was a Hall of Fame for drivers' wives, Stevie would be in the first class.  We've been married 42 years, and like a lot of drivers and people in racing, it was tough back in the day.  I mean, it was just one week to the next.  What you won one week, you paid enough bills so you could make it to the next week.  I'll drop this in right here, Cale:  You said about starting your own team.  Well, I started my own team, as you well know, but I was eating those black eyed peas before I was in the business very long, like you said.

But the funny thing about Stevie is when she came to the sport in 1972, I know you're going to find this hard to believe, but there could be no women in the pits.  You could have no women in the pits, in the garage.  There just was kind of a -- it was men only.

I didn't like that, Stevie didn't like that.  So I talked to I think the competition director was Bill Gaswin.  I said, what do I got to do.  He said, you can have car owners and crew members, and that's it.  The next week, Stevie was the car owner and she was a crew member.

Now, to say it went smooth would be an understatement.  My very first race in the Daytona 500, we had only run short tracks all over the country, a lot of short tracks.  Hundred lappers were about as long a race as we'd ever run.  We get in the Daytona 500 and it's not going very well.  I'm getting slower and slower, and Jake Elder was there, and Jake said what's wrong with him, and Stevie said, "I think he's hungry," and Jake said, "He's hungry?"  She said, "Yeah, he's never driven a race this long, I'm pretty sure he's hungry."

So Jake kind of blew that off and went about his business, and Stevie figured she'd better run to the truck and make me a sandwich.  So she ran to the truck, got some ham and cheese, made a sandwich, ran back out to the pit, and when I came in the pit to make my green flag pit stop, guess who came over the wall.  Stevie Waltrip handed me a ham and cheese sandwich.

Now, can anybody in here top that?  Handed me a ham and cheese sandwich.  Jake and them are changing tires and I take this sandwich, and I look at her, and about that time the jack dropped and I knew I had to go, so I just threw the thing out the window, and as I drove away they said Stevie was standing there shaking her head going, I thought he liked ham and cheese.

But this is the best one yet:  So Jake Elder, who was old school like Herb and like Leonard and some of them, he kept saying, we're never going to win a race as long as that woman is in the pit.  I said, really?  You can't have a woman in the pit.

I said, all right, let me put it to you this way, Jake:  We get 4.2 miles to the gallon of gas.  This is a two-and-a-half-mile track, and it's a 500-mile race.  How many miles can we go on a tank of fuel?  Go get that woman.

You know, Stevie says this all the time, not so much anymore, but she likes to say she's been married to two men with the same name.  For you folks who are maybe new to the sport, I hope you feel the same way.  I have had two lives, and I've had two careers.  When I came onto the scene, I was not a nice guy.  I was an antagonist.  It just seemed to work for me.  Nobody else seemed to -- I always thought that a lot of people say they take the path of least resistance.  I took the path I couldn't resist.  You know why?  There ain't nobody on it.  So a lot of times I was off on my own.

But through a lot of hard work, and Richard Petty, you may never remember this, but he put his arm around me one day and he wasn't even mad at me, and he said, "Boy, keep going like you are, you're going to have a hard time finding a sponsor."  Does any of this sound familiar?  Antagonist, hard time to find a sponsor, a little trouble on the track?  If it doesn't, it should.  And I took that to heart, because Richard Petty, he gave you good advice.  When he told you something, you take it to the bank.

So I worked hard on changing my image, and by golly, in 1989 and 1990 I was able to win the most popular driver of this sport, and that's one of the biggest awards in my whole career.

A lot of people have been with me on this amazing journey.  Junior, I could have never -- I wouldn't be standing here tonight.  I was just some big-mouthed driver from Tennessee that Junior calmed me down and taught me how to win a lot of races and how to win championships.  He gave me some good advice, too, when I started my own team.  Somebody asked him about it, and he said, yeah, well, he's finally got an owner as smart as the driver.

But one of his favorite things to do to me, he inspired me a lot, he called me Cale a lot.  When I first started driving for him, he'd come on the radio and he'd say, "Pit next time by, Cale."  I'd say, "Dadgummit, Junior, my name ain't Cale."  "10-4, Cale."  I loved driving for Junior Johnson.  He taught me a lot.  It was fun to work for him, and of course went on and did other things.  But it's kind of interesting that I drove -- I rode on that Pepsi-Cola truck with my dad selling Pepsis and Mountain Dew, and by golly we had Mountain Dew and Pepsi for a sponsor.  I always just thought that was such a cool deal, from a little boy on a Pepsi truck to them sponsoring my race car.

And I had Rick Hendrick, and Rick told me, DW, if we get the right people we'll build the right cars, and Richard Petty was a big people person and he gave me some good advice.  He said, always remember this:  You can be multi-rich but you can't be multi-broke.  Think about that.

He's not here so I can tell you this.  I tell David Hill all the time, and if you don't know David Hill, I wish we could have a meet and greet tonight and you could meet him.  This man is a genius, not because he hired me, that was just a stroke of luck, I think.  But he gave me a chance for a second career, and it's something I'm equally as passionate about.  Working on television keeps me in the sport, and it lets me share my passion with all the great fans that we get to tune in every week on NASCAR on FOX.

I've got the greatest team.  I tell the guys all the time on the NASCAR on FOX team, and most of them are here tonight, and thank all of you for coming, this is the best race team I've ever been on.  They do the best job week in and week out, and they like me, and I think it's contagious.  Larry, who is a passionate crew chief, Jeff, who is a passionate crew chief, I'm a passionate driver, and I think that enthusiasm and the love for this sport is contagious, and it shows every week when we go on television, so thank all my NASCAR on FOX buddies for the great job that y'all do.

I've got a little mafia back here, a little posse, the Nashville posse, John and Ed and Melvin and Gordon, these are people that have been my friends.  They flew over for this tonight.  Thank y'all for coming.

I've got to mention Floss because Floss took good care of Stevie and I and gave us a place to lay our head down a lot of nights when we didn't have somewhere to go, so thank you, Floss.

Joe Carver, my good buddy from Nashville taught me a lot about how to do interviews and how to work with media, and thank you, Joe.

Bill France, Jr., one of my biggest honors ever was the night I got the Bill France Award of Excellence, and Bill in 2000 when he was so sick came all the way to New York sitting in his wheelchair right there to see me accept that award.  That was a huge, huge deal for me.  We started our careers together in 1972.  It was kind of known as the modern era.

They always told me, if you're going to dream, dream as big as you possibly can because you know what, it might just come true.  And tonight, I'm living proof of that.

I do want to point out one thing real quick.  Stevie's sister and her family are all over here, Carol and the kids.  They went to the races with us all the time.  I'm glad they're here tonight.

I wanted to mention my grandmother who took me to races when I was a little boy, seven years old.  I got bit by the bug.  G.C. Spencer was her hero, he became my hero, and I told granny one Sunday when we were standing in victory circle with G.C. Spencer, I said, "Granny, someday I'm going to do that," and she said, "Boy, that's impossible."  I took that word and I broke it down, I'm possible, I'm possible, and I took that with me everywhere I ever went.

The picture that's up there is the 1975 race, my first win, and guess who was in victory circle with me, my granny.  My grandmother was there, Jake has got his arm around her.  Robert G. is over here, he's on the right, that's Dale, Jr.'s grandfather, Stevie up there, and that's my grandmother and grandfather, my mom and dad are back there, and that was on Mother's Day weekend in 1975, and by golly, that's where the dream started, and here's where it ends tonight.

'85 was a great year, '82, man, we dominated everything in '82 as Jeff said.  '85, we didn't dominate but we were able to turn the heat up on Bill a little bit and we were able to win the 1985 championship.  That year we made up 206 points after the Southern 500 to win that '85 championship.

When Junior Johnson, when he turned up the wick, like Hammond said, when he said get it done, we all went to work and got it done, and that was the motivation that I had, one thing when I drove for Junior, I never wanted to disappoint him.  I always wanted to do the best I could.  In 1987 I went with Rick Hendrick in the tide ride and everybody said, finally a sponsor that will clean up his act, and by golly, they were right.  And on my 17th try driving car No. 17 and the purse was $1.7 million and I got 17 letters in my name and my 17 handicap is 17, so on and so on, and in my 17th try I won the Great American Race, the Daytona 500.

I started my own team, and not too sure that was a good idea, but kind of hard-headed, had to try it.  Rick Hendrick always told me if I would have stayed with him -- like Cale said if he would have stayed with Junior, if I would have stayed with Rick Hendrick he said I would have won 100 races and ten championships.  Based on he's doing and how I did, I'm inclined to agree with him.  I think he's probably right.

It all comes down to this, folks:  I've had a marvelous career.  My faith is important to me.  One of my biggest accomplishments that I never get a chance to talk about is Motor Racing Outreach.  Our president is here tonight, Billy Malden.  I had a lot of things out of order, and my priorities were one of them.  I loved racing.  It's all I cared about.  I didn't care about anything else, and it bit me.  After a while it got me, and I finally realized that I had my priorities wrong.  It was God, family and racing, and when I got that straight, I became a much better man, and I actually ended up being NASCAR's most popular driver.  I was blessed; I was given a second chance.

In closing I'll say this:  It's not about me.  It's not about what I've done.  It's not about wins, statistics or anything else.  Tonight it's about family, thank the good Lord that they're all here.  It's about all my friends who came from miles away to be here, and it's about all the fans that are back there that have supported me all through the years, and it's about NASCAR and what they've been able to do with it sport, and I'm just glad I was able to be a part of it.

I'm probably running a little bit long but I've got to tell you this quick story.  Just one more story, I promise.  You see this ring right here?  In 1982, I won the championship, and Bill France -- in '81 I won the championship and they gave me a ring and it was a little rinky-dink ring.  I didn't think it was very pretty and it wasn't very big, and I thought, man, that's really not very indicative of how hard you have to work to get this thing.  So in '82 Bill France called me up and he said if you win the championship again this year, you can pick the ring.  So I picked this ring, and if any of the champions here have got their ring on tonight, it started in 1982.

I've worn it every day since I got it, but tonight I'm taking it off and I'm putting on the Hall of Fame ring because this is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

Thank you very much.  





Posted on: January 20, 2012 11:51 am
Edited on: January 21, 2012 9:33 am
 

2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame Class an eclectic mix

Posted by Pete Pistone

The 2012 Class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame will be inducted Friday night in Charlotte and the five new members represent an eclectic cross-section of the sport's history.

Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough were two of the most prolific drivers and personalities to ever compete in NASCAR racing.

Dale Inman set the gold standard for crew chiefs helping lead Lee and Richard Petty to a phenomenal eight Cup titles during his career.

Glen Wood started one of NASCAR's founding organizations in the Wood Brothers team that continues to compete in the sport today and won last season's Daytona 500 with young driver Trevor Bayne.

Richie Evans won an incredible nine championships in the Modified division, NASCAR's oldest series, and his induction helps shine the spotlight on the still-important grass roots level of racing.

All made their mark in stock car racing and will be deservedly honored with their induction into the Hall of Fame.


Darrell Waltrip (competed 1972-2000)
Highlights:
  • Three-time Cup champion (1981-82, '85)
  • 84 career Cup wins, 276 top fives, 390 top 10s
  • 1989 Daytona 500 champion
A three-time NASCAR premier series champion (1981-82, ’85), Waltrip won all three with legendary driver/owner Junior Johnson. Waltrip is tied with Bobby Allison for third all-time in series victories with 84. His 59 poles rank fifth all-time in NASCAR Sprint Cup history. He competed from 1972-2000, another highlight being his 1989 Daytona 500 victory in a Rick Hendrick-owned Chevrolet. 

Waltrip’s first series title came in 1981, when he finished with 12 wins and 21 top fives in 31 races. He won the title by 53 points over Bobby Allison. In his second championship season, 1982, he finished with 12 wins and 20 top 10s in 30 races, sweeping both races at four tracks (Nashville, Bristol, Talladega and North Wilkesboro). In his third championship season, 1985, Waltrip finished with three wins and 21 top 10s in 28 races. 

Waltrip and his wife, Stevie, reside in Franklin, Tenn. He was nicknamed "Jaws" during his career because of an outspoken demeanor. He currently is a commentator on FOX’s NASCAR broadcasts. He was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.
Darrell Waltrip (Getty Images)

Cale Yarborough (competed 1957-88)
Highlights:
  • Three-time Cup champion (1976-78)
  • 83 career Cup wins, 255 top fives, 319 top 10s
  • Four-time Daytona 500 champion (1968, ’77, ’83-84)
As competitive as the sport has always been, NASCAR has had very few dynasties. Cale Yarborough’s reign in the late 1970s, though, was one of them. 

His string of three consecutive NASCAR premier series championships from 1976-78 was unprecedented – and unmatched until 2008, when Jimmie Johnson was crowned champion for the third straight year. Johnson won his fourth and fifth consecutive titles in 2009-10. 

During his three-year dominance, Yarborough won 28 races – nine in 1976, nine in ’77 and 10 in ’78. His final championship points margin in those three years was never fewer than 195 points and was as much as 474 in 1978. 

Those three years made Yarborough’s career, but he enjoyed success before and after. The fiery competitor was the series championship runner-up in 1973 and ’74 and again in 1980. 

Yarborough totaled 83 victories in his 31-year career, ranks tied for fifth all-time. His 69 poles rank fourth all-time. And he won the Daytona 500 four times (1968, ’77, ’83-84), a mark that ranks second only to Richard Petty’s seven. 

When NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers list was compiled in 1998, suffice to say that William Caleb Yarborough was a shoo-in.
Cale Yarborough (Getty Images)

Dale Inman (competed 1958-92)
Highlights:
  • Eight Cup titles as crew chief
  • 193 career Cup wins as crew chief
  • Wins: 193; Poles: 129
Behind every legendary driver, there is usually a legendary wrenchman. 

That was Dale Inman, without whom Richard Petty might never have been The King. 

Inman, Petty’s crew chief at Petty Enterprises for nearly three decades, set records for most wins (193) and championships (eight) by a crew chief. 

Inman won seven of those championships with inaugural Hall Of Fame Inductee Petty (1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, and 1979), and another one in 1984 with Terry Labonte. 

Credited with revolutionizing the crew chief position, Inman’s standout year was 1967. That season, Inman and Petty won a NASCAR-record 27 races –- 10 of them consecutively. All 27 victories were in the same car they built a year earlier. 

Inman retired from NASCAR in 1998, and in 2008, helped unveil the first artifact at the NASCAR Hall of Fame -– the Plymouth Belvedere that Petty drove to 27 wins in 1967.
Dale Inman (Getty Images)

Glen Wood (competed 1953-present)
Highlights:
  • Starts: 62 (driver); 1,369 (owner)
  • Wins: 4 (driver); 98 (owner)
  • Poles: 14 (driver); 118 (owner)
Glen Wood laid the foundation for the famed Wood Brothers racing team as a driver in the NASCAR premier series. Competing on a semi-regular basis, mostly at tracks close to his southern Virginia home, Wood won four times – all at Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. His best season was 1960 during which Wood won three times and posted six top-five and seven top-10 finishes in just nine races. He also won 14 poles during a 62-race career. 

Wood, of course, is best known for his collaboration with brothers Leonard and Delano in Wood Brothers Racing. The Stuart, Va.-based team, which dates to 1950 and remains active, has amassed 98 victories in 1,367 races. The team’s all-time roster of drivers is a virtual who’s who of NASCAR and includes David Pearson, Curtis Turner, Marvin Panch, Dan Gurney, Tiny Lund, Parnelli Jones, Junior Johnson, Cale Yarborough, Fred Lorenzen and Bill Elliott. 

The Wood Brothers have excelled outside the NASCAR world as well, winning the 1965 Indianapolis 500 with Jim Clark.
Glen Wood (Getty Images)

Richie Evans (competed 1973-85)
Highlights:
  • Nine-time Modified series champion
  • Starts: 1,300 (estimated)
  • Wins: 475 (estimated
The recognized "king" of Modified racing, Richie Evans captured nine NASCAR Modified titles in a 13-year span, including eight in a row from 1978-85. 

In the first year of the current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour format in 1985, Evans won 12 races, including a sweep of all four events at Thompson, Conn. 

Evans ranked No. 1 in the 2003 voting of the "NASCAR All-Time Modified Top 10 Drivers," and he was named one of NASCAR’s "50 Greatest Drivers" in 1998.
Richie Evans (Getty Images)


Posted on: January 19, 2012 12:34 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2012 9:36 am
 

HOF anticipation high for Darrell Waltrip

Posted by Pete Pistone

AUDIO: LISTEN TO DARRELL WALTRIP ON SIRIUS/XM NASCAR RADIO

On the eve of one of the biggest days in his life, Darrell Waltrip was his usually candid self Thursday morning when he visited on Sirius/XM NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive."

Waltrip will be on of five new members into the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Charlotte on Friday night joining Cale Yarborough, Dale Inman, Glen Wood and Richie Evans as part of the Class of 2012.

The current broadcaster talked about having some nerves regarding his acceptance speech and what it means to be enshrined as one of only fifteen member of the NASCAR HOF.

 
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Posted on: June 14, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2012 9:38 am
 

Hall of Fame voting process far from perfect

By Pete Pistone


2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame Class Announced
(Yarborough, Waltrip, Inman, Evans and Wood are the Class of 2012)

The voting process for the NASCAR Hall of Fame is certainly an inexact science and that was on display once again as the Class of 2012 was announced. 

That’s probably a good thing. 

Setting up some specified criteria that relies on numbers, statistics or other numerology would suck half the fun out of the proceedings. 

Rather than following a defined plan each year’s five inductees are voted upon by a 54-member nominating committee in a free form forum that provides great debate, passionate discussion and at least a little controversy. 

That was all part of the equation when the latest five members of the Hall were unveiled on Tuesday. 

It’s politically correct to say everyone on the list of nominees is a deserving consideration but in the case of at least this stage in the NASCAR HOF process that statement is very true. 

When you have more than sixty years of history under your belt before opening the doors to your Hall of Fame the worthy candidate list is plentiful. 

And this year’s five inductees; Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Inman, Richie Evans and Glen Wood are most certainly a fine representation of NASCAR’s long and storied history. 

But at the risk of sounding disrespectful and raining on the well-deserved parade that went on in Uptown Charlotte after the ceremony, I’m more than a little confused and definitely disappointed at the turn of events. 

My disappointment comes after once again the pioneers of the sport were ignored by the voting panel. For the third straight year trail blazers such as Raymond Parks, the sport’s first championship-winning car owner or Red Byron, who won the inaugural NASCAR stock car title in 1949 were snubbed. 

The more time passes by that these legends aren’t recognized for their accomplishments the more difficult their road to the Hall becomes. “Bigger” names and contemporaries have already overshadowed these deserving individuals and that will only be compounded in the coming years when more become eligible for consideration. 

It’s a shame. Without a Raymond Parks there would not be a Rick Hendrick or Richard Childress, both wildly successful team owners who are among this year’s list of nominees.  Multiple championship-winning crew chief Inman blazed a trail that has been followed by better known names such as Ray Evernham or Chad Knaus, two HOF slam dunks in coming years. And Waltrip or Yarborough wouldn’t have had their chances to shine or be inducted into the Hall, as NASCAR became a prominent sport in the 1970s and 1980s, without the exploits of early stock car stars Joe Weatherly, Tim Flock, Curtis Turner and Fireball Roberts

The time for those who made their mark on NASCAR is more recent years will come. But the expiration date to remember those who truly helped create the sport is going to run out unless they receive the honor deserved in a much more timely fashion.

Sadly none of those thoughts were considered this time around and with each passing year these contributions by such amazing men will continue to fade away.

Voters chose to go outside the Sprint Cup ranks this year for the first time and induct modified legend Richie Evans into the Hall of Fame. Evans was the Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt of his day running in NASCAR’s oldest division, the open wheeled modifieds that in many ways gave birth to professional “stock car” racing. 

Evans won nine championships including eight straight and every major race in the history of the division before tragically losing his life at Martinsville Speedway in 1985.

There is no doubt in my mind that Evans belongs in the NASCAR HOF. 

However not as one of the first fifteen names inducted. 

I understand the Hall is not a Sprint Cup-only shrine and the entire history of NASCAR should be represented. But at this early stage in its formation and with so many other names that have made significant contributions to the top level of the sport not enshrined, it makes little sense to me to recognize a driver who quite honestly excelled at the regional rather than national level. 

Judging by the vote percentage many inside the nomination room agree with me as Evans received only 50 percent of the votes. 

The conversation will again become heated a year from now when the Class of 2013 is announced. There will be some sure things, a couple of long shots and most certainly a surprise or two when the next five names are unveiled. 

And there’s a very good chance I won’t agree with all of the inductees. 

Yep, that’s probably a good thing.

 
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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com