Flock, Petty highlight new class
The NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2014 was selected Wednesday afternoon, with Tim Flock, Maurice Petty, Dale Jarrett, Jack Ingram and Fireball Roberts joining the 20 members inducted from 2010-13.
A voting panel of 54 media members, track operators, retired racers and others active in the sport selected the five from a list of 25 nominees.
Here are the new inductees:
A two-time series champion in the NASCAR premier series, Flock was one of the sport’s first dominant drivers.
Flock had 39 victories in only 187 starts. His victory total still ranks 18th on the all-time wins list. Flock won his first series title in 1952 while driving Ted Chester’s Hudson Hornet. He had eight wins and 22 top fives in 33 starts.
Flock won his second series title in 1955 driving Carl Kiekhaefer’s Chrysler. He dominated that season, posting 18 wins, 32 top fives and 18 poles in 39 races. Flock’s 18 wins stood as a single-season victory record until Richard Petty surpassed it with 27 wins in 1967.
In addition, Flock won NASCAR’s only sports car race, in 1955, driving a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL.
The entire Flock family raced at times during NASCAR’s formative years. In 1949, brothers Bob and Fonty and sister Ethel joined Tim to become the only four siblings to drive in the same NASCAR premier series race.
Flock, who died on March 31, 1998, was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers that same year.
If Richard Petty is NASCAR’s king, his younger brother Maurice certainly bears the title of prince. The chief engine builder at Petty Enterprises, Petty becomes the fourth member of the dynasty to be nominated for membership in the NASCAR Hall of Fame – following his older brother, father Lee and his cousin Dale Inman, all members of the sport’s elite body.¿¿
The man simply called Chief supplied the horsepower that propelled Richard Petty to a majority of his record 200 NASCAR victories, plus his seven NASCAR premier series championships and seven Daytona 500 victories. Lee Petty, Buddy Baker, Jim Paschal and Pete Hamilton also won with his engines. ¿¿Petty had a brief driving career – 26 premier series races with seven top-five and 16 top-10 finishes between 1960 and 1964 – but was satisfied to work behind the scenes as one of the top engine builders ever seen in the sport.¿¿
Petty, 21 months younger than his elder sibling, overcame polio as a child. Both Richard and Maurice worked on their father’s pit crew as teenagers. He later consulted with Dodge upon its return to NASCAR’s premier series in 2001.¿
Dale Jarrett was at his best on NASCAR’s biggest stages.¿¿ Jarrett is a three-time Daytona 500 winner and twice won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His 32 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories – 21st all-time – also include the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.¿¿
Jarrett won the 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship with 29 top 10s, an astounding feat considering that year’s schedule consisted of 34 races. Four victories and top-10 finishes in the season’s final eight races secured that year’s title for Jarrett.
He recorded six additional top-five championship finishes and won at least once in 11 consecutive seasons from 1993 through 2003.¿¿
With father Ned, the Jarretts are only the second father-son combination with NASCAR premier series championships after NASCAR Hall of Famers Lee and Richard Petty. Ned Jarrett was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in May 2011.¿¿
The younger Jarrett, a star prep athlete before turning down a college golf scholarship in favor of a racing career, shares his father’s passion for broadcasting and currently is a NASCAR commentator for ESPN and ABC.¿
The NASCAR Nationwide Series has had a variety of incarnations through the years but when considered collectively, an argument can be made that Jack Ingram is the series’ all-time greatest driver.
Before the formation of the series, Ingram won three consecutive championships, from 1972-74, in its precursor – the Late Model Sportsman Division. When the NASCAR Busch Series was formed, he won the inaugural title in 1982 and again in ’85.
The last two championships more or less cemented Ingram’s legendary status. In 1982, he edged another legend, two-time series titlist Sam Ard, by 49 points in the final standings. In ’85, his championship points margin was 29, over Jimmy Hensley. In ’86 Ingram nearly won another title, but those hopes were derailed by a late-season two-race suspension for a controversial rough driving incident.
In his 10 years of competition in what was called the NASCAR Busch Series, Ingram had 31 wins, a record that stood until Mark Martin broke it in 1997. All but two of Ingram’s 31 wins came on short tracks. No wonder that Ingram has called himself, only half-jokingly, "the best short-track racer ever."
Ingram was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.
Glenn Roberts, who got his legendary nickname from his days as a hard-throwing pitcher in high school, is perhaps the greatest driver never to win a NASCAR title.
He was arguably stock car racing’s first superstar, an immensely popular prototype for some of today’s competitors who are stars on and off the track.
Of course, Roberts’ fame was based on what he did when he got behind the wheel. During his career he often came up big in the biggest events, winning the Daytona 500 in 1962 and the Southern 500 in 1958 and ’63. Overall, he won seven races at Daytona International Speedway, starting with the Firecracker 250 in the summer of 1959 – the year the speedway opened.
Roberts was named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers in 1998; 40 years before that, he demonstrated a burst of greatness that is hard to fathom. He ran only 10 races in ’58 but won six of them – finishing 11th in the final NASCAR premier series standings.