NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony: Introduction (Part 1/6)
May 23, 2010
CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA
MIKE JOY: Thank you. Good afternoon and welcome. It is a great honor and my great pleasure to welcome you to this landmark day in our sport's history. More than 60 years of dreaming and determined effort have brought us to this moment.
NASCAR now enjoys its own Hall of Fame, Charlotte joins Cooperstown, Canton, Springfield, Toronto, and St. Augustine in hosting the celebrated sidelines of America's major professional sports.
Each of today's inductees set the standard for his era on or off the track and each contributed mightily to the increased popularity of the NASCAR.
Today's NASCAR's Hall of Fame inaugural class will stand for all times as the Mount Rushmore of our sport.
Let us begin by honoring, welcoming our most honored guests, our inductees.
Representing Dale Earnhardt, the members of the Earnhardt family.
Representing Bill France Sr., his son Jim France.
Representing Bill France Jr., his daughter Lesa France Kennedy, and his son Brian France.
Would you please welcome the last American hero, Junior Johnson.
And here is NASCAR's royalty. It's all-time winner, the King, Richard Petty.
Earlier today in a special reception, each of our living inductees was presented with their Hall of Fame blazer made by the same company who makes the green jackets for the Masters, and this particular shade of cloth, NASCAR Hall of Fame blue, is now retired from their inventory from other uses.
Each of our five inductees today will receive a unique inductee ring, crafted of 14 carat white gold, centered by a blue sapphire, surrounded by diamonds in a design that recalls the ribbon outside the Hall of Fame.
These five inductees were elected from a field of 25 NASCAR greats, who are all profiled in today's program. We are pleased to welcome many of our nominees and their families to today's ceremony.
Thanks, too, to the hard work of the nominating committee, the voting panel, and especially the fans who cast your votes for today's inaugural class.
Now, let's take a look at how the grand concept of a NASCAR Hall of Fame became a reality right here in Charlotte.
MIKE JOY: We all share a great sense of pride in seeing our sport reach this important milestone. No one is more proud than our first speaker. Please welcome the president of NASCAR, Mike Helton.
MIKE HELTON: Thank you and good afternoon, everyone. One of our guideposts, the way we do business at NASCAR, is that while we're always looking toward the future, we're also very mindful and proud of our past.
You see we like the old adage that says, You can't know where you're going unless you know where you've been.
We now have this tremendous facility that houses our heritage and memorializes those who blazed the trails on our behalf.
It also energizes the excitement that we have about our future. Our five inaugural inductees remind us today why we're fans. Five unique individuals with a common interest: NASCAR. Five very special men that we cheered for, we laughed with, we cried with, and we learned from.
On behalf of all of NASCAR, thanks to those that made today's ceremony and this hall possible. Thanks and congratulations to the inductees and their families. Thanks to each of you for joining us this historic afternoon as we honor our history and begin a wonderful new tradition.
MIKE JOY: Bill France legitimized stock car racing, created the sport's first national championship and built our fastest superspeedways.
MIKE JOY: These beautiful spire, five of them, will be installed in the hall of honor in the NASCAR Hall of Fame following today's ceremony. Each includes the Hall of Fame logo, the likeness, signature, name, dates of birth, a video screen and handset so that visitors can learn more about the inductee, their accomplishments, a few paragraphs about what they meant for the sport.
And then a great feature for our younger visitors, there's a different image here near the bottom of the spire that kids will be encouraged to take a piece of paper and make a rubbing on to take home as a souvenir as their visit to the Hall of Fame.
To begin today's inductions, please welcome me in welcoming one of our sport's most beloved administrators, he's been a track president and is now a NASCAR executive. Here is one of the sport's true ambassadors, NASCAR's vice president of corporate communications, Jim Hunter.
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