2012 class inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame

Friday night, Richie Evans, Dale Inman, Darrell Waltrip, Glen Wood and Cale Yarborough were inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Here are the some highlights of their remarks. The induction ceremony will be broadcast on SPEED on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.

Evans won eight Modified Series championships in a row from 1978-1985. He passed away at a practice session in Martinsville in 1985 after he had already sealed the championship. Richie's wife, Lynn, accepted the honor on Richie's behalf. Richie was introduced by Billy Nacewicz, his long-time crew chief.

Lynn Evans: "Good evening.  Rich, I've had to do a lot of things for you over the years, but this time I wish you could be here to accept this honor.

I know you're here in spirit as the No. 61 appears often in my life, even as I checked into the hotel, the number 61 came up.  I'd like to congratulate Dale Inman, Cale Yarborough, Glen Wood and Darrell Waltrip at being inducted in NASCAR's Hall of Fame class 2012 with Rich.  Rich would be so honored and humbled to be included with the inductees, past, present and future.  What a great honor.

I'd also like to thank the nominating committee for including Rich.  With so many deserving people the task must have been difficult.  I'd especially like to thank the Hall of Fame voting panel for stepping outside the box and making Rich the first driver inductee not to have raced in NASCAR's top series full-time.  You have now given hope to thousands of NASCAR competitors throughout the country to maybe someday reach their dream.

I'd like to thank NASCAR for providing a stage for competitors to showcase their talents and for the media for bringing that stage to millions of fans.  Every champion driver has a championship team.  Rich started with the late Gene DeWitt, his longtime sponsor and friend, who along with the family, Byron, Linda and Jamie, helped fulfill his dream.  I'd like to thank them along with crew chief Billy Nacewicz and all of Richie's crews over the years, many whom are here tonight."

Inman was Richard Petty's crew chief, and together they won 193 races together and seven titles. And of course, The King introduced him.

Inman: "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."

Waltrip, the current Fox broadcaster, won 84 Sprint Cup Series races. He was introduced by his long-time crew chief and Fox co-worker Jeff Hammond.

Waltrip: "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."

Glen Wood was introduced by his brother Leonard. The Wood Brothers -- who won the 2011 Daytona 500 with Trevor Bayne -- revolutionized service on pit road, inspiring the 13 second pit stops you see today.

Glen Wood: "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."

Yarborough was the first driver to win three straight championships -- and then Jimmie Johnson went on and won five straight. Yarborough was introduced by legendary NASCAR broadcaster Ken Squier.

Yarborough: "A few weeks ago I was out in my farm shop, and the telephone rang, and I knew (wife) 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."

What to Read Next