"Second place is just the first-place loser." - Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Ingram pleased (from 2013)
pleased to be in next NASCAR Hall of Fame class
May 30, 2013 11:12 pm | Updated: 11:14 pm, Thu May 30, 2013.
GILLISPIE Special To The Record
N.C. -- It’s not easy becoming a hall-of-fame racer.
Ingram says he wasn’t surprised when he learned he’s a new member of the NASCAR
Hall of Fame.
“Not really,” he said last Friday. “I had a
lot support last (year), and I was told by one of the voters that I’d gotten a
lot of support… He pretty much let me know.”
two-time Hickory Motor Speedway champion, was one of five men who will be
inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014. The others are Conover’s Dale Jarrett,
engine builder Maurice Petty, and two deceased drivers, Tim Flock (the winner
of the first Cup race at HMS) and Glenn “Fireball” Roberts Jr.
The Hall of
Fame voting, by percentage of vote, was Flock at 76, Petty at 67, Jarrett at
56, Ingram at 53 and Roberts at 51.
talked himself up among the voters, and he says he got twice as many votes as
he did last year.
another HMS standout, Robert Pressley, “made a big presentation to the voters.
It wasn’t what I did. He gave facts and proof.”
one of 54 voters for the hall of fame, and he was among the 21 on the
nominating committee. He says a lot of voters didn’t know about Ingram’s
(Ingram) was very worthy of going in, along with Dale Jarrett and Maurice
Petty,” Pressley said of the three living people who were voted in.
Jarrett and Petty (the brother of Richard Petty) went to the Hall of Fame last
Saturday for a ceremony, then to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday to be
“It was a
great honor to be part of the list (of nominees),” Jarrett said Sunday at
Charlotte. “But as I looked at that list, you could make a case for everyone on
there. I couldn’t even imagine going through that process of trying to pick out
just five out of those 25.
“I am very
honored, but I was … I think shocked is a good word. Once I knew I was on the
list, I knew it would come one day, but was ready to accept that would be down
like Ingram, is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of
Fame. He was a three-time Daytona 500 winner, a two-time Brickyard 400 winner
and the 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.
the championship, the highlight of DJ’s career probably came when father Ned
was announcing the 1993 Daytona 500 on CBS and was encouraged to root his son
on against Dale Earnhardt. “It’s the Dale and Dale Show,” Ned Jarrett said,
“and you know who I’m pulling for, Dale Jarrett.”
five 2014 inductees to the NASCAR Hall of Fame were being announced last week,
NASCAR boss Brian France said he was about to introduce a “short-track ace,”
and Ingram knew it was him.
when) I hit the guy on the left of me and said, ‘That’s it, I’m in here,’
because there was no one else sitting around that would fit that bill,” Ingram
said Sunday at Charlotte. “I called my wife, and I had to hang up, I was
breaking up so bad. I about lost it.”
It means a
Ingram that some voters thought his career began when the NASCAR Budweiser Late
Model Sportsman Series opened in 1982. Ingram won 31 races (then a record) and
two championships in a series that morphed into Busch Grand National, the Busch
Series and now the Nationwide Series.
He was a
three-time champion before NASCAR took over the Late Model Sportsman Series. He
also was named Stock Car Racing magazine’s short-track Driver of the Decade of
the 1970s and one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers of all time in 1998.
“A lot (of
voters) thought I started when I was 45 in 1982,” said Ingram. “It was all they
could read. I won 317 Late Model Sportsman races.”
have any more Late Model Sportsman wins?
no,” Ingram said, adding his friend Harry Gant is probably second in series
It took four
tries to get Ingram to say what the NASCAR Hall of Fame selection means to him.
“It means a
lot,” he said quickly before changing the subject.
it’s tough to be a voter for the Hall of Fame, too.
one of our toughest years,” Pressley said. “It’s getting tougher and tougher.
The first year (2010) was easy. They had to put in the Frances (Bill Sr. and
Bill Jr.), Richard Petty, Junior Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Sr. That was easy.
tougher each year, and next year will be even tougher.”
says he’d like to see drivers Joe Weatherly and Jerry Cook in the Hall. Cook,
Weatherly and Wendell Scott were the top vote-getters behind the five voted in.
ones I look at are not on the ballot, Banjo Matthews and Ray Evernham,”
Pressley said of the car builder and the crew chief.
favorite for the future is Catawba native Bobby Isaac, who has long been
honored at HMS with the Bobby Isaac Memorial race.
was on my list,” said Pressley, who like Ingram is from the Asheville area. “He
was so close to getting in this year. I can guarantee you that he will be
a future hall of famer, for sure.”
Gillispie, the co-author of “Then Junior Said to Jeff…,” writes about racing at
Hickory Motor Speedway for HDR Sports. He can be reached at email@example.com.