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January 29, 2014

Jack Ingram


KERRY THARP:  Up next we have Jack Ingram, the Iron Man, five‑time NASCAR champion.  Probably considered the greatest all‑time short track driver.  300 wins in NASCAR.  Jack, congratulations.  Certainly an honor to have you here tonight.  What does it mean to you knowing that now you are a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame?
JACK INGRAM:  Well, it means an awful lot to me.  I think anyone that gets inducted in this thing, it's a big, big deal, and I'm just appreciative to the voters and the nominators that nominated me and the voters that gave me a pretty good percentage vote, and I'm in there now and I'll be there forever, so thank you.

Q.  I wanted to ask you about your short track background and all those races you would race in a week and the passion that you had for the short track community that seems to be dwindling now with the cost of these new cars going up and what it means for you to kind of be the short track pioneer or one of the few short track pioneers who are in the Hall of Fame today.
JACK INGRAM:  I can't hear very well, and I didn't hear half of everything that you said.  But I've got to say this:  I didn't get credit for nothing hardly that I done in most of this news media and the TV people and everybody.  They want to talk about Mark Martin beating my record.  Now, I was 45 years old when they're talking about that record.  They think I dropped out of the sky at 45 and started racing?  I won 317 NASCAR point races.  I've got record books, and they got most of it out of the NASCAR record books.

Q.  We're talking about short track prowess.  Most of the fans in the Midwest seem to think that Dick Trickle was the greatest short track driver of all time.  In the races that you went head to head with Dick Trickle did you beat him more times than he beat you?
JACK INGRAM:  Dick Trickle was no doubt a great race car driver but he didn't race against the kind of competition I did and didn't win as many races as I did.  He claimed every time something happened a little bit different, another year or two, he'd won another 100 races.  The time he stopped, he started racing in '67.  He stopped in '87 and won 1,400 races.  Now anybody ever figure that out?  That's the most preposterous thing I've ever seen in my life.  Let me tell you about people talking about winning races.  Butch Lindley, a good friend of mine and he got in an accident and passed away from it.  He used to give these publications all these figures where he won a lot of races.  He was at my shop one day and I was reading a program and we was going to Charlotte.  He told them people in Charlotte he'd already won 36 races.  I just dialed that NASCAR phone, that woman that kept track of the wins and them points, he had won 12 races.  I asked her how many have I won?  She said 22.  I said, how many has Harry Gant won?  She said 24.  Now that's how people write that stuff down and ain't no way to be true.

Q.  What do you think your enshrinement means to short track racers and guys who race primarily in the Nationwide Series that something like this could be possible for them one day?
JACK INGRAM:  Well, it means a lot to me because when we started racing, including the Grand National thing at that time, that turned into Cup racing, they run on short racetracks.  Richard Petty is in here winning 200 races, the vast majority of them on short racetracks.  And I run on short racetracks, and I won‑‑ I built a car and towed it to the racetrack, me and a helper to Daytona in 1975 and sat on the pole and won the race.

Q.  You primarily were in the Busch Series.  Does this open the door for drivers in that series to possibly get into the Hall of Fame at some point?
JACK INGRAM:  No, because none of them stays in it long enough to accomplish anything.  They drive for huge race teams primarily, huge backing, and every once in a while one of them will make it.  But I don't think that anyone could ever get in this Hall of Fame driving in the Busch Series the way I did it anyway, and when we did it, we had different cars, we had different motors, we had different racetracks, and Darrell Waltrip and Earnhardt and all them guys come in and race, and they basically got lapped.  They just could not keep up.
Now, when they started running a lot of them races on speedways, they had so much more experience than a lot of them guys, and they started getting some pretty good cars, they started winning them speedway races.  But until they eliminated all them South Bostons and Hickorys and Orange Counties and Indianapolis and everywhere else, they couldn't win them races.  I can tell you that right now.
KERRY THARP:  Jack, congratulations.

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