NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony: Richie Evans
Topics: Richie Evans, NASCAR
January 20, 2012
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
THE MODERATOR: We have two special people up here that are representing a very unique inductee, and that is the late Richie Evans. We have Lynn Evans, his wife, and his crew chief, Billy Nacewicz. Congratulations, and thank you for joining us here tonight. Lynn, you gave quite an eloquent talk up there this evening talking about Rich and maybe what he might be thinking from above. Just talk about maybe your thoughts here today and the last few days, having seen the culmination of him being able to come into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. What's your thoughts about that?
LYNN EVANS: I mean, we're just‑‑ I'm speechless. Not that he didn't work hard, not that he shouldn't be here, but it just happened so soon. There's so many other greats that we figured maybe sometime down the road he definitely would, but not this soon, and we're just thrilled and honored. He worked hard. He would be so proud of himself. And I thank, as I said in my speech tonight, news media, you helped so much, favorably quite about him, and he loved it. He was the first to pick up that magazine or the newspaper and read about himself. So I want to thank you all.
THE MODERATOR: Billy, I know you were very close to him and worked as his crew chief for 11 years. What are some of the things as you look back being able to work alongside now a Hall of Famer? What are some of the things that you remember most working with Richie Evans?
BILL NACEWICZ: One of the things is as he would say in his previous video that he was at the shop just about every minute that his guys were there working at it. He was that dedicated. He wasn't one to stay home and come in three or four hours later or leave early. He was there from when the shop opened until the shop closed at night. Like he said, if I can do that, my guys will be dedicated and they'll try to‑‑ that's where I learned that work ethic, from him.
It was a pleasure working with him. You could learn a lot. He was a very practical‑‑ had a lot of common sense, which some people seem to lack, especially in our government, sometimes. He was one that had a lot of common sense, and you could learn from him if you just listened.
Q. For Lynn, you went out of your way in your speech and kind of stepped outside the box. When you first heard about this NASCAR Hall of Fame, before today it had been so much directed towards the national series. Did you think Richie would have an opportunity to be a part of it?
LYNN EVANS: You can only hope and pray. I hoped that someday he would. He certainly deserved to be, accomplished nine championships and nine most popular drivers, numerous track championships, so I thought that maybe someday down the road he would, but I never expected it to be this soon. In fact, we often talked, and I thought, I'd be in my grave‑‑ in fact, I told my children, your dad may get in someday but I may not be here to see it, so you're going to have to step up to the plate and accept his award.
Q. This is for Billy. As you're sitting there tonight listening to them talk about Dale Inman, the winningest crew chief of all time on the Cup side with 193 wins, just what was it like to be racing that much to be as dominant as you guys were?
BILL NACEWICZ: It was a lot of fun, for one thing. It's always fun when you're winning. When you get to the top of your profession, which Richie was at that point, things seem to go a little easier for you, you're not struggling as much, so it can become a fun time.
Winning is always fun. I was with him probably for, I don't know, close to 400 wins, somewhere in the 350 to 400 range of those wins. You know, it's tough to lose. I don't know how other to explain it, but it was a very enjoyable time.
Q. Did having him behind the wheel help overcome some of the times when the car wasn't that fast?
BILLY NACEWICZ: Yeah, he was a driver's driver, and if we happened to miss the setup, he was somebody that could make up for it, to a certain degree. I drove the car once in a test session, and just to be out there all by myself, I thought, you've got to be kidding me. These guys‑‑ Richie started like 24th or 18th because they did reverse starts up north, and you got 30 laps or 50 laps to get to the front with 25, 30 other drivers out there. I says, you've got to be kidding me; how do they do this? It's incredible. I was out there by myself and couldn't hardly keep it on the track.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about your local fans and all the support they've brought over the years to you?
LYNN EVANS: Well, of course, I met Rich in 1970. I kind of laugh because I actually kind of was into motorcycles, and so when he told me or I had heard that he was a race car driver, I just thought, from Rome, New York? I think he did have a following then. They were very proud of him. He was racing Utica Rome speedway on Fulton, and those people are here tonight, that small group of people are here tonight. Charily houseman, we used to go over Sunday night and play cards with he and his wife and about three or four other couples before Richie's racing schedule got so busy, so we've been friends a long time.
THE MODERATOR: Lynn and Billy, thank you so much for being here, and again, congratulations on this honor, and all the best of rest of this year.
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