Dale Inman is the 2020 recipient of the Wood Brothers Award of Excellence, the National Motorsports Press Association announced on Tuesday.
Determined by the vote of a committee that includes members of the Wood family, the Wood Brothers Award of Excellence honors crew chiefs, crew members, engine builders and race engineers who make outstanding contributions to NASCAR racing through on-track success.
A 2012 inductee into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Inman won 193 races and eight championships as a crew chief—both records in NASCAR’s foremost Cup Series division. Inman earned seven of his titles while paired with stock car racing legend Richard Petty, in 1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1979.
The 1967 season was particularly noteworthy. Petty and Inman won a single-season record 27 races, 10 of them consecutively, also a series record.
In 1984, Inman won his final championship with driver Terry Labonte and team owner Billy Hagan. He is the second recipient of the Wood Brothers Award. Leonard Wood was honored with the inaugural award last year.
“The Wood Brothers Award is quite an honor, as long as they’ve been in racing,” Inman said. “And I guess, with me connected to the Pettys, I’m still in racing to a certain degree. What an honor it is. To be the second recipient of it is great. To be following Leonard Wood, who was one of the great ones, is another honor.”
Throughout their respective tenures, Leonard Wood and Inman were fierce competitors, but they raced with consummate respect for each other.
“I guess we’ve been friends over the years, but to be as competitive as we have been, with David (Pearson) as their driver—of course, they’ve had more drivers than that—but I think (Pearson) and Richard ran first and second 60-some times, and it turned out pretty equal…
“I was fortunate enough to be connected with the Pettys, but so many close races. It’s unreal—and such an honor.”