NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony: Ned Jarrett
May 23, 2011
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
KERRY THARP: Ned Jarrett has joined us now. We want to congratulate you on being inducted into the Hall of Fame tonight. How does it feel?
NED JARRETT: It feels wonderful, really better than I dreamed of. As the weeks and days have gone by, we got closer to this moment, it had just been growing, the feeling, just how special this really is.
When they announced the Hall of Fame, you wonder, How big can it become? What is it all about? You know it's going to be very special. But it's been more special than I dreamed.
To have my family here tonight, I think that was the best part as far as I'm concerned, to have Glenn, Dale and Patti do the introduction, have all the grandchildren, that was very special for me, too.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions.
Q. Ned, can you talk about the whirlwind it's been for you the last two weeks between your son's inductions and yours here, and your two-pronged career, the racing and broadcasting. That's unique. You're the first one that has that type of career that's going in.
NED JARRETT: Well, it's special for me to have gone in, not just because my driving career, but including the other things that I did in the sport: the broadcasting career I was able to do and promoting races. I appreciate all of that being brought out here now.
To have this happen just after Dale had gotten inducted into two Hall of Fames this month, that has been very special to us. To have the City of Hickory recognize us. Today was Ned and Dale Jarrett Day in Hickory. The City of Conover, where we lived for so many years, to have the special moment during their council meeting, present us with the key to the city, to have the total support that we've had from the community over the years is very meaningful.
To get this honor, it's not just about me, it's about the family and it's about all the people that we've been privileged to be associated with over the years that's allowed us to be a part of some very good things, whether it's charity work or driving racecars, talking about it on television or whatever it is, to have the communities behind us the way they've been, I sincerely appreciate that.
KERRY THARP: Bud Moore has joined us. Congratulations on getting inducted into the Hall of Fame tonight. Your thoughts about that?
BUD MOORE: Well, there's one thing, it's a great honor to be inducted here in the Hall of Fame. I'm going to say it's one of the biggest honors I've ever had. As far as my racing career, I had a lot of big honors, winning championships, winning the Daytona 500.
One big honor I had with myself was getting back from World War II, the good Lord looked after me while I was over there. That was a very, very big honor.
I think right now the biggest honor I've had so far is being inducted today in the Hall of Fame with Ned Jarrett, David Pearson, Bobby Allison. That's a big honor for all five of us going in.
You have to give Winston, all the girls we worked with here, they done a good job of getting everything handled.
KERRY THARP: We'll continue with questions for Bud or Ned.
Q. When NASCAR announced that they were going to build a Hall of Fame, bring it here to Charlotte, did either one of you think about when you might go in or if you might go in?
BUD MOORE: Well, when we done the voting and all this, I was introduced by Jim France in the voting panel and all this. When we got in, all the votes were counted, Brian France got on the stage and called all that was ahead of me. He stood there and hesitated for about 10 or 12 seconds before he called my name. All of a sudden he said, It's going to be Bud Moore. I'd like to have fainted, I tell you that, because I didn't expect to be going in after he already named four.
I was real proud to know I was named to go in with Jarrett, Lee Petty, Bobby Allison and all. It was great. I couldn't talk for about 10 or 15 minutes because I was so proud to know I was one of them to go.
I think Ned, you probably had the same situation.
NED JARRETT: Yeah, I did give some thought to when it was announced that there would be a Hall of Fame, Is there a chance that I'll get in and how far down the ladder will I be? You look at all the great people that have done such great things for this sport over the years.
I thought when it was announced that maybe I would be 15th to 20th, somewhere in that neighborhood. Then after they announced the original 25 nominees, I was one of those, then my hopes got a little bit higher, but I still thought it would be at least in the 30 class before I would have much of a chance of getting in.
To get in on the second go around was really a pleasant surprise for me, one that I'm very appreciative of.
Q. Of all the great drivers you worked with over the years, who did you enjoy working with the most and who gave you the most trouble?
BUD MOORE: Well, you say who I enjoyed working the most for. I would say this, I never had a driver that I didn't really love to work with, all this. We all got on real well. I remember Dale Earnhardt, Sr., the couple years he drove for me. I had a good relationship for Bobby Allison for three years. Geoffrey Bodine, I would say he was awful good. He was a little bit hard to get along with at times, but we won a lot of races and all this. Still we got along real well.
Biggest thing, you know, we had so many drivers drive for me and all this, I was real thrilled to have all of them that did drive for me.
I don't know why Ned never did get to drive for me at one time or another.
NED JARRETT: I wasn't asked (laughter).
BUD MOORE: But anyway, it's a great honor knowing all the guys that drove for me, how we worked together. The biggest thing is, like I told Buddy Baker, when he was driving for me, he got on me because he didn't get to qualify too good. Buddy, I come down here to win the race, I didn't come down here to qualify good. The only thing on Monday morning, don't say a word about who qualified good, they just tell you who won the race, that's what we're here for.
Q. Both Richard Petty and David Pearson were pretty adamant tonight about saying the next class should include more of the pioneers. David Pearson said you should include guys who are still living. Who do you think should be in the next class?
NED JARRETT: I think Dale Waltrip and Cale Yarborough would have a good shot at getting in next time. Cotton Owens is a guy I feel needs to go in there. Dale Inman was nominated last year. I think he's a man that needs to go in there. I think we need to start looking, too, at guys like Richie Evans and Jack Ingram who have done so much in their divisions that they raced in. It's going to be a tough assignment when we get together next month to vote for the next class. It's going to be tough. There's no doubt about that.
I've always been a big fan of Herb Thomas. He certainly has the numbers to back up being a legitimate candidate in the whole thing.
BUD MOORE: I think one of the oldest ones we don't want to leave out on this is Raymond Parks. You know, he died this past June. Really hoped he would have got around on the first round. I don't think we need to overlook him in this next round.
You got Cotton Owens, Joe Eubanks, helped get NASCAR started in 1947. I think he'd be deserving going in. He won two championships. David Pearson, he drove for him for about three years.
I think Owens being a driver like he was and all, he and Pearson, they did quite a bit together, all this. You have Herb Thomas, Fireball Roberts. You got quite a few back there that you have to look at.
One of them I have to bring up, real close, drove for me for three or four years, won two championships, we don't want to overlook Joe Elly. He was always the clown of NASCAR with all of the stunts he pulled on everybody. The biggest stunt he pulled them on was Turner. Anyway, he was a heck of a race driver. I really enjoyed having him, all the stuff he did do, winning the championships, all the races we won. It was great. I'm hoping he has a good shot going in on the next round.
Q. Bud, could you talk about what you did prior to World War II and how that changed your life?
BUD MOORE: The biggest thing about World War II, I turned 15 years old on May 1923. I was graduating high school, because we only went 11 grades. We graduated on June the 2nd. That same day I got my draft papers to go into the service. I got drafted, all this. I went in. I was in the infantry. They gave me 13 weeks basic training. I joined the 95th division in Fort Dix, New Jersey. It was something to know what was happening, all this stuff.
We went overseas, in England. We landed in Liverpool. Went to a little town in Wales. We got there in 1944. They told us they'd get things ready, we're going to make a dry run on the English coast. They had to waterproof all the Jeeps we had in our company. They done all this. They took us down, sat there for a day or so not even going out in the harbor.
Finally when we did pull out in the harbor, I never seen so many ships, 5,000 or 6,000. We said, Look, this ain't going to be no dry run, they can't have a dry run this big.
Anyway, on June the 4th, a P.T. boat pulled up beside, got onboard, had a map, pulled it down, said, We're going to land there and do that. That's the first time we knew we was going to be in D-Day because it was going to be on June the 5th. They called it off.
And then about 8:30, 9:00, June the 5th, they came back aboard and said, Boys, it's going to be on tomorrow. It was. That was some kind of experience, I'll tell you that. It was bad.
Q. Ned, I know there was a lot of talk about how racing was a family affair, really a way of life. Can you elaborate on that, explain why that was so?
NED JARRETT: I think it started with the France family. It just picked up with the Pettys, so many other families that have come along over the years. I think that is part of the reason that our sport has grown as much as it has. It has been projected as a family sport.
I'd say it's still going in that direction, too. I think that will be healthy for the sport in years to come. I know it was a challenge for those of us who were participating back in those days to keep a family together, have them supportive of you, you be supportive of the things they had going on.
You had to work hard at it, very hard. That was a challenge that we were faced with and did our best to try to do what we could to keep our family going and still make a living at it at the same time.
I hope that concept continues on in the sport because I think the family image is good for the sport.
Q. When you were in racing, you could make a living at it, but you sure weren't getting rich off of it like nowadays. What kind of decision was it that you made to go into racing as opposed to any of the other professions around at that time and why you chose to make a living out of racing when there wasn't all that much money in it?
BUD MOORE: The reason me and Cotton Owens and Joe Eubanks, we all run around together before the war. We were always out racing people at night with our little cars we had back then. I had a '36 Ford Roadster, Owens had a '39 Ford, Eubanks had a '39 Ford. Anybody that wanted to bet a little money, we would go out on the highway and run. Most of the time we wouldn't have more than three or four dollars, had to buy gas.
After going to the war, coming back out, the biggest thing that got us interested, Gober Sosebee had won a race, drove up to Cotton and said he needed a body. Cotton called me and said, We have a car we need to put a body on. Went to the junkyard, got a body from a '37 Ford.
Two days later, he came back, he couldn't believe it was all done. He took it out to the Spartanburg fairgrounds and won the race. That's when Cotton and Joe and I decided we needed to get started in it. We learned quite a bit off his racecar from fixing it, putting a body on it. First thing you know, we started building one of our own.
NED JARRETT: For me, I didn't go into it initially to try to make a living from it. It was a challenge that I just always looked for a challenge. When they started to build the Hickory Speedway, it was a big thing in the community. You go down to the country store on a rainy day, you couldn't work outside, and those farmers would be sitting around, Can't wait till they get that track built, I'll go up there and show them how to drive.
Secretly I wanted to do that. I played a little basketball and baseball in high school, thought I had some athletic ability. When they opened the speedway, I run the first race they ever run there. I was hooked. Raced for about six and a half years in sportsman type of competition. Didn't make enough money to make a living.
I continued working at the sawmill and on the farm during that period of time. I thought after winning the National Sportsman Championship in '57 and '58, the Grand National owners would come knocking on my door wanting me to drive their racecars. Didn't work that way. I had to go knocking on doors.
Got a ride with the guy I ran in the sportsman series before. '57 Chevrolet, but it wouldn't run very long. I told my brother, Greenville, South Carolina racing on a Friday night, we would run up front, but the car broke. I went back home. I said, This is not good for my career. I need to try to get in a car that will win a race for me or run up front on a consistent basis.
They said, What are you going to do? There was a 1957 Ford for sale, being maintained in my hometown. Junior Johnson was winning on a fairly regular basis in that car. They were building Junior a new Dodge to run at Darlington that year, 1959. They wanted $2,000 for it. I went down to the shop the next Saturday morning, said I'll write a check for it. I said, When the bank closes Friday, I'll write them a check, take off to Myrtle Beach, there was a hundred-mile race, pays $950 to win.
There was another race on Sunday afternoon in Charlotte, that pays $950 to win. That's $1900. I can cover that check on Monday morning.
You can't be foolish enough to try that, but I did. I had no doubt in my mind. I was cocky enough to believe if Junior Johnson could win races in that car, I could, too. I did that. Bargained for not only the car, but also I got the truck and trailer they hauled it on, got the pit equipment and their two mechanics to go with me that weekend all for $2,000 and an extra set of tires. We were able to pull it off.
There's more circumstances, I won't bore you with all the details, unless you want to hear them, but that's what launched me into the Grand National series.
BUD MOORE: Let me say this, why Bill France, Sr., formed NASCAR. The problem we had in '47, '48, we would run a race, it paid $300 to win, it paid like $250 for second, $100 for third. When you got back to eighth or ninth, it paid about $25.
What was so bad, you go out and put the show on. When you go to the window to get your money, the promoter run off with all the money. France, Sr., got into that situation a couple times. He ran at Greenville, South Carolina, in '47, first part of '47. They was introducing the drivers. My wife was with me. France, 6'6", weighing about 280 standing beside that little '35 Ford. My wife said, How in the world is that big man going to get in that car?
I said, He'll crawl in there somehow or another. He run third in the race.
Anyway, NASCAR was formed in December of 1947. This is why France, he'd run quite a few races, knowing probably some of the races before I ever got into it, the promoter would run off with the money, all this.
We had one promoter, I won't call his name, he's one of the biggest names in NASCAR, he did the same when we run the Charlotte fairgrounds in 1948, '49.
Anyway, that was what was real bad. They would run off with the money. Back then, $25 or $50 was a lot of money. You go buy gasoline, 18 cents a gallon, it was hard not to have that $25 or $30 or $40 to race. You could buy a recapped tire for $6 apiece. That was something else. That's how we raced, how we got to go along.
When France formed NASCAR, we got promotors that wanted to join up and start running, we got paid then.
Q. Is there one particular race that stands out as being the absolute biggest thrill or biggest accomplishment for you, one race where you seemed like all the odds were against you but you ended up winning?
NED JARRETT: Certainly as far as I'm concerned it was the 1965 Southern 500. That was one of the goals that I set for myself, was to win that race. Managed to do it in '65 as a result of everybody in the field having trouble, including me. So the odds were against all of us it seemed like that day. My car was overheating tremendously in the last hundred miles in particular.
I learned a little trick. Something popped in my head. I can't say that I learned it. Something caused me to think about, Well, if I hold the accelerator wide open going into the turn and cut the switch off, use my left foot to brake going into the turn, that raw gasoline running in there would have a cooling effect on the engine. Sure enough, it did.
It served another purpose, too. It not only kept my car cool enough to run till the end of the race, but every time you cut the switch back on, cranking it back up, you'd have it in gear, the engine would turnover, it would backfire, keep the people awake while I was 14 laps ahead of the field winning the race (laughter).
That was very satisfactory.
BUD MOORE: What happened on that same deal, you know, Ford Motor Company came out with a new Ford show. Ned was running the 390. We liked to have that 400 to run in our Mercury. We didn't have one. Ned just got one. I asked Ned if he was going to run that 400. He said, No, I'm going to run the 390.
I said, Can we borrow it? He said, Oh, yeah. We was having a heck of a race with Ned and all this. We got in front, leading the race. All of a sudden our rear-end went out. That let Ned go on and win the race by 14 laps, all this.
We got back and took the rear-end apart. That rear-end burned up on us, all this stuff. Ned said, I feel bad, you borrowed that off of me, but I didn't have nothing to do with putting it together (laughter).
NED JARRETT: It was fully assembled when we got it. All of us got in trouble with the Ford Motor Company. He was running a Mercury product, the Mercury division didn't have the same gears we had the Ford cars. Cost him the race and let me win it.
KERRY THARP: Guys, thanks so much for being here tonight. Congratulations on your achievements, what you've meant to the sport, really more than the sport, but the people you've come in touch with. Bud, I'm going to go ahead and wish you a happy birthday in a couple days.
BUD MOORE: Wednesday will be my birthday, the 25th. I'm going to be 39. I'll be frank with you. I'll be 86 the 25th of May. I'm real proud to be here as long as I have and my health has been awful good. I run a cattle farm. I get out there, drive them tractors, do whatever I have to do. Don't have too much health problems. Knock on wood, I don't right now.
I think everything is working out real well for me. I don't know how long I'm still going to be here, but I hope for a while.
KERRY THARP: Thank you.
NED JARRETT: Thank you, gentlemen, for all you do for our sport. Appreciate it.
|Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library|