Four of the five inductees who comprise the 2014 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame – Dale Jarrett, Maurice Petty, Tim Flock and Jack Ingram – have ties to Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR’s Most Competitive Track or the fine state of Alabama.
The quartet, who will also be joined by the legendary Fireball Roberts, was announced during a ceremony Wednesday evening in Charlotte, NC, after all votes were cast by the 54-member NASCAR Hall of Fame voting panel.
Jarrett, the 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, was stellar at Talladega’s 2.66-mile layout during his career, capturing two checkered flags – the 1998 and 2005 Camping World RV Sales 500 (formerly Winston 500) – and claiming 11 top-five finishes in NASCAR’s premier division. He also competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and IROC on Talladega’s high banks.
“We certainly count Talladega as a place that we could win every time out,” remarked Jarrett after his 1998 TSS triumph in which he claimed a million dollar bonus. “Winning here is as much about getting into position and, obviously, staying out of trouble. The key is getting ourselves in the right position to make a move late in the race. We were able to do that and it paid off with a win. It was important for us to run well at Talladega, and to get a Talladega victory is huge.”
Jarrett is the son of Ned Jarrett, who is a member of both the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (1991 inductee), located just outside of turn four at Talladega, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame (2011 inductee).
While serving as the chief engine builder at Petty Enterprises, where his machines helped his older brother Richard Petty to seven Sprint Cup Series titles and the majority of his 200 NASCAR victories, Maurice Petty supplied the horsepower for Richard’s Talladega triumphs in 1974 (Camping World RV Sales 500) and 1983 (Aaron’s 499). He also served as crew chief for Pete Hamilton’s Plymouth Superbird, which swept both Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega Superspeedway in 1970.
Maurice becomes the fourth member of the Petty Enterprises dynasty to go into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, joining brother Richard (2010 inductee), father Lee (2011 inductee) and his cousin Dale Inman (2012 inductee). All three individuals are also in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame – Lee (1990 inductee), Richard (1998 inductee), and Inman (2013 inductee).
While he never competed at Talladega, Tim Flock’s roots began in Alabama. He was born in Ft. Payne, AL, just 70 miles from Talladega, and lived there until he moved to the Atlanta, GA, area when he was in the second grade.
He won two NASCAR premiere series championships and 40 races during his career from 1949-1961, long before the creation of Talladega Superspeedway. Flock is in both the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (1991 inductee) as well as Alabama Sports Hall of Fame (2006 inductee).
Arguably the best driver in the history of the NASCAR Nationwide Series (formerly Late Model Sportsman Division and Busch Series), Jack “The Ironman” Ingram won five championships and 31 races during his career. While he never got the opportunity to compete in a Nationwide Series race at TSS, he drove in two Sprint Cup Series races (1979 and 1981), when he ran the in series on a limited basis.
Roberts, known as NASCAR’s first superstar after winning 33 races, never competed at Talladega. His career was cut short in 1965 after an accident at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“Talladega Superspeedway and the state of Alabama are proud to be represented in such a fine class of NASCAR’s Hall of Fame inductees,” said Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch. “For over 40 years we have strived to provide fans with the absolute best racing on the NASCAR circuit, and some of the 2014 class has helped us achieve that.
“The races with Pete Hamilton winning in the Superbirds will never be forgotten. What many may not remember is that Maurice Petty not only supplied the power plant, but he called the shots in the pits for Pete. And, what can you say about Dale Jarrett. Every race he drove for Robert Yates here the car was a threat to win and provided the fans with some great thrills, including his last career win which came here in 2005. Congratulations to all the new inductees and their families.”
There were a total of 25 nominees. Some of the others who missed the 2014 class also had Talladega ties, including: NASCAR’s first champion Red Byron (lived in Anniston as a youngster); Richard Childress (TSS all-time winning car owner); Anne B. France (wife of TSS creator Bill France, Sr.); Ralph Seagraves (who helped initiate Winston’s 30-year, TSS race entitlement sponsorship); Rick Hendrick (2nd on all-time TSS winning car owner list); Bobby Isaac (five-time pole winner at TSS); Benny Parsons (2-time Sprint Cup Series runner up at TSS); Fred Lorenzen (two fourth place finishes at TSS); Wendell Scott (competed in 5 Cup races at TSS); and T. Wayne Robertson (who helped guide Winston’s Talladega race entitlement for many years).