May 23, 2011
On Monday night, the five members of the 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame class were inducted in Charlotte.
Bobby Allison, Ned Jarrett, Bud Moore, David Pearson and Lee Petty made up NASCAR's second Hall of Fame class. Here are the highlights of the five acceptance speeches.
Bud Moore, a World War II veteran, won 63 races in 37 seasons as a car owner in NASCAR. Some of his drivers included Allison, Dale Earnhardt and Pearson.
"Looking back, I feel like I had a hand in a lot of contribution to our sport, whether it was running the first small block motor, the first two-way radio, tire testing in Atlanta, or just trying to build a safe race car. Tonight, being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, those contributions are being honored," Moore said.
"My daughter-in-law Carol Lee asked me how I [want] to be remembered. The answer is simple: one who made many contributions to building the sport, whose handshake was as good as any contract, who always gave a straight answer."
Ned Jarrett won 50 races and two Cup championships even though he retired at age 34. He then moved to the broadcasting booth, where he's most famous for his call of his son Dale Jarrett's win in the 1993 Daytona 500.
"I'm humbled by this huge honor. I don't take it lightly. I am so pleased the voting panel looked at all the various things I was privileged to do in this sport. I'm proud of my driving career, what we were able to accomplish on the racetrack in a relatively short period of time," Jarrett said.
"I'm equally as proud to have been able to get on the ground floor of broadcasting races and cherish my time as a promoter at the Hickory Motor Speedway for nine years. I am thankful for all three of those distinct careers."
Lee Petty, the patriarch of the Petty family and Petty Enterprises, won 54 races and three championships, the first driver to do so. Who eclipsed him? His son Richard Petty, who spoke Monday night. (Lee Petty passed away in 2000.)
"Get to talking about the things that Lee Petty was, he was tough, OK? He was pretty good with the grandsons and stuff like that, but pretty hard on me, but real hard on the outside world. He lived in his world and he didn't want anybody to tell him how to live in his world. His big deal was to take care of his own. If you got in the way, didn't make a whole lot of difference to him, he got you out of the way," Richard Petty said.
"Again, I just want to say thank you for everybody here that voted on dad. Hopefully he's up there somewhere saying, 'OK, I know I'd get there, might have to push somebody out of the way to get there.'"
Bobby Allison won the 1983 Cup title and officially won 84 races, though he's always stood by his claim that he actually won 85. (He crossed the finish line first in a race in 1972, but officially isn't credited with the win because he was in a Grand American car.)
"I think about it. I did win 85 times. Scout's honor, 85 times. But just to try to put that into perspective a little bit, that was in nine different brands of cars for 14 different race teams. Now, the way I look at it now, I did drive pretty good most of the time. But, boy, I couldn't keep a job.
"Had great times. As the career wound down, I got some really good wins. They tell me I won Daytona in '88." (A crash later that season left Allison with no memory of his Daytona win.) "They tell me that I won Thursday and Saturday and Sunday that year at Daytona. What I remember about Daytona '88 is I did win the fishing contest in the infield. I still have the boat, motor and trailer that was the prize for winning that fishing contest," Allison said.
David Pearson won 105 races in his Cup career, second only to Richard Petty. The Silver Fox also won three Cup titles.
"I want to thank Richard Petty, too. He's probably the one that made me win as many as I did. I run hard because he'd make me run hard. Sometimes he would make a mistake and I'd pass him. Of course, I didn't never make no mistakes. Always accused him of having big engines when he passed me," Pearson said.
"But he's a good sport. Like I say, I've had more fun running with him than anybody I ever run with 'cause I know if I ever went to a racetrack and he was there, if I could beat him, I'd win the race. So I appreciate it, sure do, everything you've done, Richard."
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