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January 29, 2014

Harry Gant

Jack Ingram

Jimmie Johnson


JIMMIE JOHNSON:テつ It's great to see everybody tonight.テつ They asked me to introduce this next legend for obvious reasons, and that would be my stellar Nationwide and Busch Series career.テつ One win, but I might have another chance this year.テつ We'll see how it goes.テつ Arguably the greatest driver in NASCAR Busch Series history, this man won championships and races in record fashion.テつ However he did it, in two different series, he did it in two different series which most can't claim.テつ The masters of short‑track racing showed us what it was like to dominate the Late Model Sportsman Division and the Busch Series.テつ Tonight, Jack Ingram becomes the first full‑time driver in both series to enter the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
(Video shown.)
HARRY GANT:テつ Jack and I have raced together for a lot of years, probably about 12, 14 years, something like that, and been good friends all the way, never beat and banged on each other, and then end up at the end of our careers with the same sponsor we raced for.テつ Congratulations, Jack.テつ It's going to be an honor tonight here, the 24th day of January 2014, to present the NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee ring and officially induct Jack Ingram into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.テつ Iron Man Jack from Asheville, North Carolina.
JACK INGRAM:テつ Thank you.テつ I'm honored to be here tonight beyond words.テつ This is a major lifetime achievement for me.テつ While I've won driving the car, I had plenty of help and support along the way, otherwise I wouldn't be here tonight.テつ First I would like to thank my family, my dear wife Aline.テつ She was my rock, always there in late nights, early mornings, throughout the good and bad, and I cannot express how thankful I am to her.
I also want to thank my children, including my late son Robby, Cynthia and Ingrid and my daughter are here tonight with their spouses, Doug and Brandon.テつ The children, I also want to thank my grandchildren, including the ones here tonight, Justin, Allison, Chris, Tony and Kelly.
I also want to extend thanks to my brother Joe who came here all the way from Wisconsin to support me here tonight.テつ There are some other people I need to express a special thanks to who supported me throughout my career in various ways.
Dennis Grainger, Goodyear tire engineer.テつ They contacted me to do a tire test for them, they was getting beat pretty bad on the short tracks.テつ Dennis showed up in Pensacola, Florida, in December, and I said, Dennis, he said, I'm going to be the one working with you.テつ I said, how long have you been doing this?テつ He said, two weeks.テつ I'm thinking to myself, I'm in trouble.テつ One year and one month later we was in Richmond, Virginia, sat on the pole by over four‑tenths‑of‑a‑second and won the race, easiest race I ever won in my life.テつ Dennis was there, and he did it, and they still use them tires today.
I also thank Greg Stucker.テつ He's here.テつ He took over where Dennis and them left off.
John Hammonds, he is the greatest short‑track race fan ever.テつ He come to‑‑ he would come all the way from Atlanta, Georgia, straight to South Boston, Virginia, sit and watch the race, come down in the pits after the race, get in his car and drive all the way back to Atlanta because he didn't have enough money to stay in a room.
I've got to thank my attorney.テつ He's done a lot of work for me since the early '70s, Bill Slaughter.テつ I need him a lot of times.テつ Billy Haas, a great friend of mine for a long time.テつ Now he's a car builder here over in Mooresville, and he built cars for me, and he also worked on one.テつ Thank you, Billy.
Benny Quinn, become friends with him about 15 years ago.テつ He's a mastering engineer in the country music business over in Nashville.テつ He volunteered to do a lot of public relations work for me, and he loves it.テつ Benny, thanks.
Ronnie Silver, a lot of you don't recognize that name.テつ He run a paint shop, and he painted my race cars, sometimes all night, so we could race them the next day.テつ In turn, I set Ronnie's car up, and the first time I really done a good job on it he beat me at Hickory.テつ I didn't like that.テつ (Laughter.)
Ben Barnes built more engines for that series and won more races and championships than probably anybody.テつ He's got to be recognized as one of the best engine builders in that series there ever was.
Fred Strickland.テつ I tracked him down, and he bought the car I won Daytona with in 1975, and it's here at the Hall of Fame right now.テつ Fred, thanks for bringing that car here.
Rollie Jones, worked for over 10 years.テつ He was an everything guy, cleaned the shop up, changed tires, drive the truck, fight if he had to.テつ He liked it.テつ And Donnie Preston was one of the best tire changers I ever saw in my life.テつ He kind of worked on weekends when we needed a tire changer.
And of course all their support, families that supported them during that whole time.
NASCAR and Bill France.テつ I had an experience with‑‑ of course they made this all possible, but I've got to tell you this story.テつ I was racing over at Harris Speedway in Ruffin County, and it was on a year with NASCAR and I won the track championship, and the last race of the season, I won a 100‑lap feature and the check bounced, and I took it over to Northwestern Bank, and actually I knew the manager, and he called down to Fire City where it was written.テつ He said, ain't no money there.テつ I called NASCAR from his office, and they said, where will you be in about 10 minutes?テつ I said I'll stay right here, and I gave them the number for his office.テつ I think it was Pat Purcell.テつ Pretty mean guy.テつ He called me and told me to take that check to Fire City and cash it.テつ That made a big, big huge impact on me.テつ I took it down there and walked in that door.テつ They handed me five 100‑dollar bills.テつ That kept my family going for several months.
I was a total supporter of NASCAR from then on because Bill France, he meant what he said when he said he guaranteed that purse, and he showed it to me, and I appreciated that the whole rest of my life, and I still think about that ride today.テつ If I'd have been running at some other racetrack, that wouldn't have never happened.
I also would like to thank the Hall of Fame staff, members, and those affiliated with the museum and those that have pushed this process along.テつ Very accommodating to me and my family.
Winston Kelley, Buz McKim, Karen Davis, Amber Wells and (inaudible).テつ Lastly, I want to thank everyone here tonight who as well as my fans get letters still every day from people all over the world.テつ My dear wife Alin still manages to respond every once in a while to them.テつ So thank you very much.テつ Good night.

Q.テつ Jack, you talked about the fans who continue to write you.テつ What does that mean to you to still get letters to this day from your race fans?
JACK INGRAM:テつ Oh, it's great.テつ I won Daytona in 1975 on Wide World of Sports, and I started getting them letters from everywhere.テつ We still got them.テつ They'd write a letter would be to Jack Ingram, Asheville USA, and I'd get it.テつ I bet a lot of them I didn't get.テつ You wouldn't get any of them today.テつ That was really something that made my whole racing career.テつ Thankful to people all over that enjoyed NASCAR racing.

Q.テつ You mentioned today, you talk about your record that you set in the now Nationwide Series.テつ It stood for 15 years until that Mark Martin went and broke it, and now got young drivers like Kyle Busch.テつ Couldn't you go back there and get back out there and teach them a thing?
JACK INGRAM:テつ Wouldn't be any of them that ever win 317 NASCAR races.テつ (Laughter.)

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