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January 29, 2014

Jeff Gordon

Matt McDaniel

Waddell Wilson


JEFF GORDON:テつ The King, The Intimidator, The Rapid Roman.テつ There have been many great nicknames in the history of NASCAR, and tonight we honor another:テつ Fireball.テつ This lightning‑quick legend dominated the high banks of Daytona with seven victories, including the 1962 Daytona 500.テつ Tonight Fireball Roberts takes his place among the pantheon of NASCAR greats in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
(Video shown.)
Accepting Fireball's induction, please welcome his grandson, Matty McDaniel.
WADDELL WILSON:テつ It is now my honor on this 29th day of January 2014, to present NASCAR's Hall of Fame inductee ring and officially induct Fireball Roberts into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.テつ Congratulations, Matty.テつ It was an honor to know your grandfather and to work with him.
MATT McDANIEL:テつ Thank you, Waddell and Jeff, for taking the time out of your busy schedules to help honor my grandfather.テつ My family and I find the strength to enjoy this emotional moment, knowing that the spirit of our mother and grandparents are with us on this special night.
We are proud that our grandfather, who sacrificed his life to racing, is being honored by NASCAR, the organization that set the scene for a life well lived.
Thank you to all of those on the nominating committee and voting panel.テつ I'm sure our grandfather would be pleased to know that he was part of such a wonderful class of inductees.
We send our congratulations to Jack Ingram, Dale Jarrett, Maurice Petty, and the family of Tim Flock.テつ For those of you who knew my grandfather, he was considered a Renaissance man, with his crew cut, cleanly‑shaved face, well‑dressed appearance, he attended college where he studied mechanical and aeronautical engineering, leading to the love of flying airplanes.
He enjoyed classical music, duck hunting, and the sport of jai alai, which he traded flying lessons in order to learn how to play.
He entered his first race in his hometown of Daytona at the Beach and Road Course in 1947 at 18 years old.テつ This race was the first stepping‑stone to a career that included 15 years in NASCAR's premier series.
Our grandfather never won a championship, not because he didn't have the talent or a car capable of winning.テつ He never ran a full season in the NASCAR Grand National Division.テつ He did, however, finish in the top 5 in points three times with a career‑best runner up performance during his rookie year of 1950, the same year he posted his first win at Occoneechee Speedway in Hillsborough, North Carolina.
During his career, he compiled 33 wins, 22 second‑place finishes, and 32 poles.テつ His most memorable victories were in the 1958 and 1963 Darlington 500, the 1957 and 1959 Convertible Division races at Darlington, the 1960 Dixie 500 at Atlanta, the 1959 Firecracker 250 at Daytona, and most importantly, his Daytona sweep in 1962, where he won the Daytona 500 from the pole and then claimed the checkered flag at the Firecracker 250.テつ His proudest off‑track achievement was when he was named Florida Sports Writers' Professional Athlete of the Year in 1958, the first time a race car driver received this award.
In 1962, he was the first NASCAR driver to race in a LeMans event, finishing second in his class.テつ Then during the 1964 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, he was involved in an accident that would ultimately claim his life, as well as change the sport he loved.テつ After his death, NASCAR started developing flame‑retardant coveralls, five‑point safety harnesses, special contoured seats and a fire zone fuel cell.
There is no doubt that our grandfather would have shared this special night with everyone who influenced and had an impact on him during his career, including his family, friends, colleagues and fans.テつ Some of the people he'd want to individually thank for all they did for him are Irwin Speedy Spiers, Pete DePaolo, Marshall Teague, Red Vogt, Bob Fish, Ray Fox, Smokey Yunick, John Holman, Ralph Moody, Ned Jarrett, and all of his fans.
Thank you, and good night.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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