2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductees

December 16, 2013 by  
Filed under News

Established in the North Carolina city of Charlotte in May 2010, the NASCAR Hall of Fame honors exceptional drivers, crew chiefs, owners and other players in this exciting sport. The 2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees are Tim Flock, Maurice Petty, Dale Jarrett, Jack Ingram and Fireball Roberts, who will join the likes of Dale Earnhardt, Bill France (Senior and Junior), Richard Petty, Lee Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, Ned Jarrett, Bud Moore, Cotton Owens, Herb Thomas, Rusty Wallace and Leonard Wood, among others, in the history annals of NASCAR.

Coming from a family of auto racing enthusiasts which included his sister Ethel Mobley (NASCAR’s second female driver) and bothers Bob Flock and Fonty Flock, Tim Flock (1924–1998) is considered to be one of the early pioneers of NASCAR. Tim Flock finished NASCAR’s first official season in 1949 in eighth place, with brothers Fonty in fifth and Bob in third overall points. After sitting out the 1950 season, Flock won seven races in 1951, and eight in 1952, the year he won his first Grand National Championship title. In 1995, Flock won his second Grand National Championship title, with 19 poles and 18 wins in the 45 races he completed that year. In 1998, shortly before his death at the age of 73, Flock was honored as one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers. Other achievements include induction in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1991; the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1999; the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 1972; the State of Georgia Hall of Fame in 1972; the Charlotte Motor Speedway Court of Legends in 1994; and the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

Known to many simply as “Chief” Maurice Petty was the engine builder and crew chief for Petty Enterprises for many years. He is the fourth member of the Petty family to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the others being his father Lee, older brother Richard, and cousin Dale Inman. Although he had a brief driving career which included seven top five and sixteen top ten finishes, his talent in the auto racing industry lay in engine building, which he did with remarkable skill.

Currently a sport commentator for ESPN/ABC , Dale Jarrett’s racing career includes winning the Daytona 500 three times and the Brickyard 400 twice. He won 32 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and was winner of the 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. With his father Ned having been inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in May 2011, the Jarretts are the third father-son inductees, the other two being Bill France Sr. and Jr., and Lee and Richard Petty.

Former NASCAR Busch Series race car driver Jack Ingram won 31 races and five poles, along with the 1982 and 1985 championships, during eight Busch Series seasons. It’s worth noting that Ingram was over the age of 45 when he claimed his victories, and held the record for the most Busch Series wins until Mark Martin broke the record in 1997. In addition to being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Ingram was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007.

Nicknamed “Fireball”, Edward Glenn Roberts (1929-1964) was one of NASCAR’s pioneering drivers who gathered a host of achievements during his career, including winning the Daytona 500 in 1962 and twice winning the Southern 500 (1958 and 1963). He was voted 1957 Grand National Series Most Popular Driver and named as one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1995. Sadly, Roberts crashed in the World 600 in Charlotte on May 24, 1964, and died from complications related to his extensive burn injuries on July 2, 1964. His accident prompted NASCAR to introduce more stringent fire-related safety measures and his memory lives on in NASCAR history.

Dale Jarrett

February 9, 2009 by  
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Born in 1956 in North Carolina, Dale Arnold Jarrett is a former NASCAR driver and champion. After years of tenacity and persistence, he had built up both his career and reputation in the NASCAR community, making him one of the sport’s more esteemed drivers. Dale Jarrett is the son of Ned Jarrett, a two-time NASCAR Grand National champion and the brother of Jason Jarrett who raced the Busch Series – clearly, racing is in his blood. He is also talented at other sports and was offered a full golf scholarship upon graduating from high school in 1974 – an offer which he declined. Instead he made his way to the racetrack three years later and he officially started racing at his father’s Hickory Motor Speedway. He continued to compete at Hickory in the Limited Sportsman Division before moving up to the NASCAR Busch Series in 1982.

Just two years after his shift to NASCAR, he secured his first Nextel Cup Series at the Martinsville Speedway. One of the biggest breaks of his racing career came in 1990 when he was offered the chance to fill in for Neil Bonnett by the Wood Brothers. A year later at Michigan International Speedway he enjoyed his first win in NASCAR’s top series. In 1992, car owner Joe Gibbs chose Jarrett to drive for his new team ‘Joe Gibbs Racing’. As part of a team with brother-in-law Jimmy Makar, Jarrett won the Daytona 500 with Dale Earnhardt coming in a nail-biting second. Jarrett continued to drive for Gibbs until about 1995 when he was given the opportunity to fill the seat of Ernie Irvan by Robert Yates. At the time he was considering starting his own team and the deal was for one-year only, but when both Jarrett and Yates realised the potential they had if they chose to work together, the two immediately reconsidered. Yates expanded to a two-car operation and Jarrett become the driver of the #88 team. The move was enormously successful and the team went on to win the Bud Shootout at Daytona in 1996, as well as coming second in the Daytona 500. The #88 team also took the Brickyard 400 and finished the year with 17 top-five finishes.

At the end of the 2006 season Dale Jarrett switched his #88 for #44 to drive the UPS Toyota Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing. Starting off the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup with pole position for the Budweiser Shootout, he finished 18th out of 21 cars. He was forced to use all five of his provisionals right at the start of the season, resulting in him missing out on eleven races in 2007. Following the 2008 Food City 500 held at Bristol Motor Speedway, Jarrett retired from points racing. His career totals included 668 starts, one championship, 32 wins, 163 places in the top-five, and 260 in the top-ten. He was the second NASCAR driver to win the Brickyard 400 twice, as well as being one of only two drivers to have won the Daytona 500 three times.

Joe Gibbs Racing

February 9, 2009 by  
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Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) is a NASCAR racing team which first appeared on the NASCAR circuit in 1991. The team, which is owned by Joe Gibbs, was originally started as a way for Gibbs to spend more time with his family. Gibbs was a man of many talents in his youth and besides owning the team he was also a successful coach for the Washington Redskins for many years. He started his team shortly after meeting up with Don Meredith who went on to become his business partner. The first people to race for the team were Jimmy Johnson and Richard Petty. Since then, JGR has seen the likes of legendary drivers such as Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart. Current drivers include Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Brad Coleman, Joey Logano and Matt DiBenedetto.

The team headquarters for Joe Gibbs Racing is located in Huntersville, North Carolina. J.D. Gibbs, Joe’s son, is currently the president of JGR. His brother Coy has raced for the team in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and currently coaches football in Washington. Over the years JGR has won the following championships: the Nationwide series twice, three Sprint Cups, one Camping World East Series and 2 NHRA.

J.D. Gibbs is credited with expanding the team since beginning his presidency in 1997. He has managed to increase the one-car operation to a three-car team of Chevrolets which are numbered 20, 18 and 11 and are sponsored by Home Depot, Interstate Batteries, Fed Ex, M&Ms, NOS and Z-Line Designs.

JGR also supports a number of Christian-based charitable organisations – many of which are designed to appeal to youths. The Joe Gibbs Racing team continues to be a favourite amongst fans and will likely continue to operate for years to come.

Robert Yates Racing

February 9, 2009 by  
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Yates Racing merged with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2009.

Robert Yates Racing is based in Mooresville, North Carolina and is an official NASCAR racing team. Robert Yates owns the team and at the moment has two cars, number 88 and 38 Fords that are racing in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. David Gilliland drives #38 and has sponsorship from Masterfoods, USA. Number 88 will be driven by Ricky Rudd during the 2007 season and is also sponsored by Masterfoods.

Ford Racing motors in partnerships with Robert Yates Racing and Roush Racing produce the powerful engines Robert’s cars have. In the past Robert’s motors have been known as the most powerful engines in NASCAR, whereas Roush has been known as a consistent motor. The combination has produced excellent and dominant engines since 2004 and since 2006 all Ford teams in the NEXTEL Cup have been using the Yates/Roush engines.

In 1996 Dale Jarrett took over driving #88 and is still part of the Robert’s team. Dale has had numerous wins over the years and has recorded the most wins out of all the drivers in Robert’s team. For the 2006 season Jarrett will move to Michael Waltrip Racing team, but #88 will still be raced in 2007.

Robert Yates took on Davey Allison as his first driver. Allison drove the #28 Havoline Ford till the mid-1993, making 15 wins and finishing 3rd in points twice over the years. A disastrous crash in a helicopter tragically killed Allison in 1993. Lake Speed, Robby Gordon and Ernie Irvan split the rest of the duties left in the season. Irvan successfully won twice and the following year he won three times in the #28 but was badly injured in a crash, leaving Kenny Wallace to take over.

In 1995 Dale Jarrett replaced Irvan who was still struggling to recuperate. That year he won at Pocono Raceway, finishing 16th in points. Ernie Irvan competed in three races in the #88 but soon switched over to the #28, expanding the racing team to a two-team setup. By 1997 his term with Robert Yates racing team came to an end. In 2003 Elliott Sadler was hired to drive #28 and with the car he won twice. Yates made a few changes; firstly he changed sponsorship to M&M’s and then changed the car number to #38. David Gilliland is the current driver of #38 and will drive in the 2007 season.

Discover the Daytona 500 Exhibit

December 24, 2007 by  
Filed under Features

Auto racing enthusiasts can take advantage of the opportunity to visit the Orlando Science Center between 30 November 2007 and 6 January 2008 to get an in depth view of what it takes to participate in, and win, the Daytona 500. The Orlando Science Centre has joined forces with Daytona International Speedway to put together an amazing exhibit which they have called “Discover the Daytona 500“.

This exhibition features authentic racing cars, racing gear and scale model racing, offering visitors a hands-on experience as they explore the history and science behind auto racing. One of the highlights of Discover the Daytona 500 is Jeff Gordon’s #24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Chevrolet. Visitors can have an up-close look at numerous past and present cars that dominate the Daytona International Speedway.

Memorabilia from Daytona 500 events, including the racing gear of renowned drivers Dale Jarrett and Richard Petty, will be on display. A life-size cutaway stock car model will give visitors inside information on the workings of these popular auto racing cars. There will also be a racing seat for visitors to strap themselves in, a working V-8 engine, a recreated pit stop area and an example of the Gatorade In-Car Drinking System (GIDS). Visitors are sure to be fascinated by the highlights of historic races that will be shown on a video wall, as well as by the driving simulator. The scientific principles relating to the auto racing world will be vividly illustrated through authentic displays and live demonstrations.

The Orlando Science Center aims to provide learning experiences for all age groups. With this in mind, the Discover the Daytona 500 exhibition will have a children’s area where little ones can enjoy a number of themed activities, including the opportunity to drive a battery-operated racecar on a miniature track. Older children can experience the excitement of racing by means of the slot car and pinewood derby tracks, or they can enjoy remote control racing.

The Discover the Daytona 500 exhibition, which is running concurrently with the Orlando Science Center’s holiday exhibit, Titanic, is an event that the whole family will enjoy. Even the most knowledgeable auto racing fan is likely leave the exhibition having learned something new about their favorite fast moving sport.