CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR honored members of its royal families with inductions into the Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
Past champion Dale Jarrett joined father Ned in the hall while master mechanic Maurice “Chief” Petty became the fourth member of one of NASCAR’s most successful families to be honored.
Maurice joins older brother, “King” Richard Petty; their father, championship driver Lee Petty; and cousin Dale Inman, Richard’s longtime crew chief in the hall.
Others named to the hall Wednesday were Tim Flock, a two-time premier series champion; Jack Ingram, who drove to success on what became NASCAR’s Nationwide Series; and Fireball Roberts, the flashy showman from the 1950s who raced to 33 victories before his death in 1964.
The group will be inducted into the hall during ceremonies here next January.
Ned Jarrett jumped out of his seat and hugged Dale when his name was announced.
Dale Jarrett said he was dressed for his son’s graduation party and expected to bolt out once the announcements were made. He was humbled to join the hall.
“I’ve always felt like it was an honor and a privilege to drive for NASCAR, and this sport has been such a huge part of the Jarrett life,” Dale said. “Now to be part of something that my father is a part of, it just means the world to me.”
Dale, the 1999 Sprint Cup champion, was a three-time winner of the Daytona 500 and is 21st all-time with 32 career victories. He and Ned become the third father-son combo in the hall, following Bill France Sr. and Bill France Jr. and Lee and Richard Petty.
Ned was part of the 54-person voting panel and told the group earlier Wednesday that his son’s talents should be why he’s elected and not because of his father’s backing. Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO, followed that Dale Jarrett’s on-track success made him worthy of inclusion.
Maurice Petty was the chief engine builder at Petty Enterprises and supplied the horsepower that led to most of his brother’s record 200 NASCAR wins and seven series championships.
He also made the Petty family four-for-five in NASCAR Hall of Fame votes. Richard was part of the inaugural class enshrined in 2010, Lee went in the following year and Inman last May.
“It makes me happy because that means all of us are in. So I’m tickled to death with it,” Maurice said.
Richard Petty said his younger brother earned his own way into the hall. “He won just as many races as anyone and probably more. He did it in an era where he did all the innovation himself,” Richard said. “He didn’t have a computer or anything else. He just did everything himself. It’s good to see him join Dale and myself.”
Flock is 18th on NASCAR’s all-time list with 39 victories. He won series titles in 1952 and 1955. Flock put on a dominant display on the way to his second championship, winning 18 of 39 races that season. Flock died in 1998.
Flock received 76 percent of the vote, the highest total of this year’s class.
Ingram is considered one of the all-time greats on what’s become the Nationwide Series. He won three straight series titles from 1972-74 when it was called the Late Model Sportsman Division. When the circuit became the NASCAR Busch Series in 1982, Ingram won its first-ever race and series championship.
Ingram added another Busch Series crown in 1985.
Roberts was nearly elected last season, losing out on a second, tiebreaking ballot to Baker. His nickname came from his pitching arm, but is considered one of the first fan favorites because of his go-for-broke style.
Richard Petty said the entire group of honorees are worthy members of the hall.
“When you look up there at all of the wins these guys have had, the championships they’ve had together and the influence they’ve had on NASCAR over the period of years, from Tim Flock up to Dale Jarrett and everything in between, is when NASCAR grew,” Richard Petty said.