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NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony: Dale Earnhardt

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt

NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony: Dale Earnhardt

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Kelley Earnhardt-Elledge
Kerry Earnhardt
Taylor Earnhardt
Teresa Earnhardt
May 23, 2010


CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA

THE MODERATOR: Joined by the Earnhardt family. Teresa, do you want to start.
TERESA EARNHARDT: It's a privilege for us to be here. We're proud to be here today. It's great to be able to be here and know what's being done here in such a big way, because that's what we do every day. It's a proud moment.
THE MODERATOR: Taylor?
TAYLOR EARNHARDT: I mean, I thought it was great how all four of us just got out there and talked, got to kind of hear different sides of dad from the four of us. It's not something that happens all at one time. So I thought it was special that we got to tell everybody about it and it's definitely an honor for all of us.
THE MODERATOR: Kerry?
KERRY EARNHARDT: Again, I think it's a great honor for us to be involved with this, to be here. Like Taylor said, share different stories of different sides of Dad and things we had in common with him, and for the fans to be able to come in and learn more about the stories and the Hall of Fame and all the exhibits that they had all the inductees and learn more about what our sport has came to.
THE MODERATOR: Kelley?
KELLEY EARNHARDT: I can't believe you're going to ask all five of us. Like Teresa said, just very proud of the induction and that we're able to accept that induction today on behalf of our Dad.
You know, you can't hardly explain in this short simple time what it all means to us. It was an honor to have all of our family here today and my Grandmother Earnhardt, and for us to accept the award together, as Taylor pointed out, I thought it was neat we could all share different experiences we had with our dad.
The Hall of Fame just in general is really special. I'm glad that my dad was one of the first inductees, and it's something that can live on forever.
DALE EARNHARDT, J.R.: I was happy for Dad. I enjoyed the inductees and their stories and everybody that was on stage. It was interesting to listen to each one of them. Also, like Kelley said, it was cool to have all the family here, all of us together to enjoy this, Dad's brothers and sisters, obviously, Teresa, Martha as well.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. This question is for Junior. Talking about today, what do you think if your dad were here today, what would he think about this whole thing, this induction?
DALE EARNHARDT, J.R.: I think he would have had the same comments that the other guys had about, one that was interesting was what someone said about Bill, Sr., how I think they were all very, very proud of where NASCAR has come and where NASCAR is today. Not only for themselves but for the sport as a whole.
And there would have been a lot of great funny lines and back and forth, I'm sure. So but he would be happy about the sport as a whole, mainly. And obviously super thankful toward all his fans.

Q. How would you all want us to remember your dad?
KELLEY EARNHARDT: You don't have enough good memories? No, it's just that our dad worked hard from where he came from to be the champion that he was in the sport, and I think even more importantly than what he accomplished on the racetrack was just the person that he was to others, and he always gave back to others.
He always was fair about what he did in life. And he wanted to see others succeed, too, and I think he helped people give them the resources to do that.
So I'm just very proud of the person that he was.
TAYLOR EARNHARDT: Of course, he made all of us. But like Kelley said, he just gave back and it's awesome.

Q. All five of you today, you thanked your family and talked about how you've all had an opportunity to share memories of your dad. Is it a stretch for us to say that this occasion gave you guys this opportunity to come together? Because so rarely have we seen this entire group together. But you have the Wrangler announcement and this and we're seeing you guys more together. So is it a stretch to say this is a special occasion that's sort of helped this family a little bit? And my second question in case I get the microphone taken away, a lot of people, the only memories they have of Taylor is this little girl in Victory Lane and here she is this weekend, this poised, charming, funny, grown woman. Where did she come from? And who takes credit for her?
TERESA EARNHARDT: I'll take credit. No, no. Honestly, obviously this is a great opportunity for us all to get together. But I'm sure as you all know, this industry and this lifestyle does not really afford the opportunity to live like a normal routine work schedule for us to get together. We've kind of did that forever. So we're kind of used to we see you when we see you and when we don't, when we need something we call.
TAYLOR EARNHARDT: Dad made me who I am, and Mom made me who I am. Now that I'm growing up I'm connecting more with Kerry. He's the oldest. I'm the youngest. I've always grown up around this and it's kind of all coming together now that I'm a little bit older and getting out there on my own and doing what I love to do and what Dad taught me to do. So that's where I came from.
KELLEY EARNHARDT: I'd like to say we spent our lifetime being together as a family. We all lived together. We were raised together. So there may not be a lot of public moments that you goat see all five of us share a stage like we do today. But we've all had the Christmases and the Thanksgivings and the special times that we could share together. And sometimes we get to do that two or three or four and sometimes we get to do it all five of us.
It's been that way all our life. We're a family that comes together. We come together on a special day like today to honor our dad. And it's really not unusual for us like you make it out to be.

Q. You all talked about how Dale, Sr., instilled different things in each of one of you. Do you think that's something he consciously did, or was that something that just, you know, one of you picked up the race, one of you picked up business, outdoors, things like that?
TAYLOR EARNHARDT: I think the fact that he was in different points in his life, with Teri, he was struggling to be in racing and do what he loved, Dale, he always took him to the track. And Kelley, business. And then trying to make her a racer.
And with me he had more time to try other things. So I think it's just all timing, that we all got different experiences.
TERESA EARNHARDT: Let me also say that he was very aware and hopeful that his children could do whatever they chose to do.

Q. Teresa, was this day more emotional than you thought, less emotional than you thought. Could you talk about what it was like?
TERESA EARNHARDT: Yeah, we've been enjoying these emotions ever since the nominations were confirmed. So it's not new. But, yes, it's emotional. And I'm the type that I really don't put my emotions out there. But I do have them.
KELLEY EARNHARDT: I think any time you get up and talk about anything that's personal to you, you're going to have a lot of emotions.
And definitely the stories that were told today from everyone, the room was full of emotion, and it's no different for us when you talk about someone you miss and left us too soon. We all have very strong emotions about that. Good and fond memories about it.

Q. Usually when we go to a NASCAR event it's very scripted, and there's thank your sponsors and you want to make sure you say and do the right thing and all that and today was much more free form and opened. Was it enjoyable for you guys to be relaxed and not be in an environment where you have to worry about saying and doing the right thing so much?
KERRY EARNHARDT: Yeah, I think it was. I think it was more personal for the fans and for the folks out there watching on TV. It came from the heart from all of us. And when you are sitting there reading a script, it's someone else's words put in your mouth. It can't mean the same as what it is when it comes from the heart.

Q. Following up on what Tom said for Dale, Jr., you go to the racetrack each week and people ask you about the crew chief and wins and stuff like that, and today wasn't about that or your sponsors or anything. What was it like for you personally? Everybody tells me how different the day was for you. What was it like for you to be up there and not have to deal with that and just enjoy the history of the sport?
DALE EARNHARDT, J.R.: It was nice. I got up there and said whatever I wanted to say. I thought that I'd share that little story about Japan and kind of went along with what we were all talking about and I really felt comfortable.
It really basically came from watching everybody else's speeches and how everybody else was enjoying themselves. And the atmosphere was really, really good. And I thought Kelley and everybody did such a great job providing that for us. And the program went so smoothly, it was really no effort at all. There was really no nerves at all.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, family.



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