With the recent opening of the new NASCAR Hall of Fame, the induction of the inaugural class took place over the weekend honoring some of the greats of yesteryear that have propelled the sport forward over a span of several decades.
Bill France, the founder of NASCAR was the first honored at the ceremony, along with Richard Petty, Junior Johnson and Dale Earnhardt.
The late Earnhardt was the final member of the first class to be inducted on Sunday, represented by family and friends as “The Intimidator” was honored.
“Dale Earnhardt was definitely a hero to his family — no one can say more about that than his children,” the racer’s wife, Teresa Earnhardt said. “Through them, his friends and fans, through this Hall of Fame, through you, Dale Earnhardt, the legend, lives on.”
France was represented by his son, Jim France, who said that his dad would be elated to see the progress made on the grand scale.
“If Dad were here today … he would be proud mostly for NASCAR,” Jim France remarked during the speech. “The NASCAR Hall of Fame in many ways is the ultimate tribute to my father, the hopes and dreams that he had for our sport.”
“He loved this sport. He was passionate about it. He built it literally from the ground up,” France added. “When I say ‘the ground up,’ I’m talking about a backhoe at Daytona International Speedway.’
Petty was honored by his son Kyle, who referred to his father as “”the biggest fan of the sport that ever lived.”
“I think that’s what made him a great racecar driver,” Kyle Petty said of his father. “He loves the sport. He carries a passion for this sport. He loves to drive. He loves to work on it. He loves the guys he raced against. He loved the fans. He loved everything about the sport.”
Richard Petty was humble in his induction speech.
“I never did anything by myself,” said Petty. “I guess I’m going to be like Gomer Pyle. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
Petty is NASCAR’s all-time winningest driver, with over 200 victories on the circuit.
As the 2010 Sprint Cup Series Continues, NASCAR shifts to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600, with Jimmie Johnson leading the way for betting favorites, followed by Denny Hamlin on Online Sportsbooks.