Last week the NASCAR Hall of Fame welcomed its five newest members into the ranks: Maurice Petty, Tim Flock, Glenn “Fireball” Roberts, Jack Ingram, and Dale Jarrett.
Petty was a member of the most successful organization in NASCAR history. He was the engine builder for Petty Enterprises and his mechanical know-how propelled his brother, Richard, to all seven championships, all seven Daytona 500 wins, and the majority of his 200 career wins. Maurice even drove briefly between 1960 and 1964, recording seven top fives and 16 top tens in 26 starts. It was soon revealed that his talent lay not behind the wheel, but under the hood. Between Richard and Lee Petty, Pete Hamilton, Buddy Baker, and Jim Paschal, they won over 200 races with an engine built by Maurice.
Tim Flock was a member of the Flock family, who included brothers Fonty and Bob and sister Ethel. Flock was a member of the inaugural field in the first “Strictly Stock” race in 1949. He won two titles in 1952 and 1955 and won 39 races in 187 starts in a 13-year career. His 18-win season in 1955 set the mark for most wins in a season before Richard Petty annihilated that mark in 1967 with 27 wins in a single season.
Glenn “Fireball” Roberts earned his nickname by being a hard-throwing pitcher in baseball. Ironically, fire would be the cause of his death in 1964. In his brief career, Roberts claimed 33 wins, including the 1962 Daytona 500 and two Southern 500s. On Memorial Day weekend in 1964, Roberts was involved in a wreck in the World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. His gas tank exploded and the car caught fire. Ned Jarrett who had also been in the wreck, pulled Roberts out of the burning car. Roberts suffered second- and third-degree burns on over 80 percent of his body. Roberts spent the rest of his life in a hospital as he attempted to recover from those burns. He died from a combination of pneumonia, blood poisoning and a fever on July 2, 1964.
Jack Ingram was the inaugural Busch Series champion in 1982 and he won his second Busch title in 1985. He held the record for most wins in the Busch Series with 31 until 1997. Ingram also won three consecutive Late Model series championships. In all, Ingram won more than 300 NASCAR-sanctioned races over a 30-year career.
Dale Jarrett was a big-race driver. Jarrett knew how to win the big races on the schedule. In 1996 alone, he won the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400, and the Coca-Cola 600 and if it weren’t for tire troubles, might have been able to win the Southern 500 that year as well. He won two other Daytona 500s (1993 and 2000), one other Brickyard 400 (1999) and he won the 1999 Winston Cup title. He finished his career with 32 wins. His first career win came at Michigan while driving for the Wood Brothers team, beating Davey Allison in a photo finish. Jarrett joins his father, Ned, a 2013 Hall of Fame inductee in the Hall, joining Richard, Maurice and Lee Petty and Bill France Sr., and Bill France, Jr. as the only father-son combinations.
All five of these men’s contributions and accomplishments have earned them a spot in the Hall of Fame and they have all deserved their enshrinement. It will be interesting to see which five people join them in the Hall next year.