From a guy who once drove with a monkey in this car, to a guy that was dangerous with a monkey wrench, a new class of five was added to the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Wednesday night in Charlotte.
The most recognizable member of the new class is probably Dale Jarrett. The former series champ and three time Daytona 500 winner joins his father Ned (who was inducted in 2011) to become the third father son tandem in the Hall.
“We talk about it being a family sport, and you look at it and wonder because we do see so many father-son combinations, and sometimes it's a tough act to live up to when your dad is Ned Jarrett or was Richard Petty or Dale Earnhardt, whatever the case may be,” said Dale Jarrett. “You're taking a big chance of always being compared there. There are no guarantees, and I don't know -- I think that what makes our sport different, and I could be totally wrong on this, but driving a race car is something you can't acquire the ability to do that through hard work, effort and some intelligence to do that.”
Joining Jarrett in the 2014 Class is Tim Flock a two-time series champ who once drove with a Rhesus monkey co-driver named "Jocko Flocko"; the great crew chief Maurice Petty whose dad Lee and brother Richard are also in the Hall of Fame; “Fireball” Glenn Roberts winner of the 1962 Daytona 500; and Jack Ingram a two time champion in what is now the Nationwide series.
Also on Wednesday Chris Economaki was honored posthumously with the second Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.
If you ain’t first you’re last
2013 was an admittedly disappointing season for Roush-Fenway Racing. Even though drivers Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle make the Chase for the Championship, they finished 13th and 9th respectively. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. was rookie of the year, but he failed to win a race. The organization wants better things in 2014.
“We did really well in the regular season last year, we won a few races,” said Edwards. “But for our whole team our mission is to win a championship. We want to take this group and put Fords in victory lane, but most importantly win championships in our cars.”
Chasing the chase
There is little doubt that 2013 was no fun for 2012 Sprint Cup Series Champ Brad Keselowski, since he was on the outside looking in on the chase for the champion. The goal for BK this season is pretty simple, return to the Chase so he and teammate Joey Logano can both make a run at the title/
“Another year working as well with Joey,” said Keslowski. “That’s gone really well, I think. In a lot of words, consistency and continuity are important and for me personally and the 2 team specifically a reload in the sense of energy and excitement.”