Quotes on NASCAR Hall of Fame's Inaugural Class
About Bill France Jr.
Betty Jane France, his wife and NASCAR's assistant secretary and international Community relations director: "Our entire family is honored to have Bill chosen for the Hall of Fame’s charter class. And I know that if he was still with us, he would be also feel honored by this recognition."
About Dale Earnhardt
Teresa Earnhardt, his wife and President and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc.: "It is truly an honor to see Dale Earnhardt recognized as one of the five most influential members of the NASCAR family and inducted in the first class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Of the many legendary accomplishments and accolades of his career –- from the seven championships to the win in the Daytona 500 to the founding of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. -- this is another defining moment. It is the achievement of a lifetime and is celebrated by the millions of Dale Earnhardt fans around the world."
Dale Earnhardt Jr., his son: "For what my Dad achieved in this sport –- both on and off the track –- he certainly earned his place in history and deserves to be distinguished in this inaugural class of NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees. I want to thank the voting panel and nomination committee for recognizing that and honoring him this way. It means a lot to the Earnhardt family, and it means a lot to my Dad's fans, which I am one. He was the man, plain and simple."
Kerry Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt’s oldest son: "The legends that were nominated for the NASCAR Hall of Fame were my racing heroes growing up –- and my Dad was first among them. Congratulations to all of the legends who were selected for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and thank you to the members of the voting panel for recognizing my Dad’s accomplishments in the sport. To see my Dad voted to the very first class to be inducted in the NASCAR Hall of Fame is amazing and humbling. He was a legend to the millions of fans who cheered him every week and definitely a hero to me."
Taylor Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt’s youngest daughter: "I’m so proud to see my Dad selected to the first class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Everything he did, he did with passion, a competitive spirit and a drive to win. That legacy is inspiring to me, and I hope it is inspiring to all of his fans celebrating this exciting event."
Kelley Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt’s oldest daughter: "We are extremely honored to see my father chosen as part of the esteemed first class of NASCAR Hall of Fame members, and we want to congratulate the fellow inductees and their families. To be part of the inaugural class is the ultimate honor –- one that is cemented in time and achieved by no other outside of the five members. My father impacted many lives, and I know I speak on behalf of Dale Earnhardt fans everywhere in showing our appreciation that his memory will live forever inside the walls of the NASCAR Hall of Fame."
Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig
“Daytona International Speedway is proud to have a strong tie to each honoree in the inaugural Hall of Fame class. Each individual from the inaugural class made a significant and long-lasting impact on the history and success at Daytona International Speedway.”
Talladega Superspeedway President Rick Humphrey
“What a befitting inaugural class for induction to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The men chosen were titans of our sport. It’s their personalities and actions on the track that carried NASCAR from its grassroots to the pinnacle of American sports.
“Without the actions and leadership of Bill France and Bill France, Jr. there would be no NASCAR, no Daytona and no Talladega. I can’t even imagine what the state of auto racing would be like were it not for them.
“Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt were peerless competitors. Their daring actions on the track and hard-earned success gave millions of fans someone to cheer for and gave a face to our sport.
“Junior Johnson showed the masses that ingenuity and hard work pays off on the racetrack and in the owner’s seat.
“I applaud the choices for the inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame class and look forward to the ceremony.”
Darlington Raceway President Chris Browning
“This is certainly a historic day for NASCAR with Bill France, Sr; Richard Petty, Bill France, Jr; Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and Junior Johnson being voted into the inaugural class of inductees at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
“Bill France Sr. and Bill France Jr. had the vision and passion to build NASCAR from its humble beginnings in 1948 to the sport it is today and are certainly well deserving of this honor.
“Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Sr. are great driver representatives for the inaugural Hall of Fame class. Richard Petty set the standard for NASCAR drivers recording 200 wins and seven championships in his career. Dale Earnhardt, Sr. had such an impressive career ushering in a new era of NASCAR all while winning seven Cup championships tying Petty’s record.
“Junior Johnson was a legendary pioneer in NASCAR first as a successful driver and later going on to own a championship race team.
“This inaugural Hall of Fame class will go down in history as one of the most influential groups in the history of NASCAR.”
Michigan International Speedway President Roger Curtis
“These gentlemen make up an amazing class of inductees and are truly deserving of what an inaugural hall of fame class should be.
“I watched NASCAR growing up in Indiana and have been a fan of this sport my entire life. So it’s truly remarkable that these men transcended what the sport was in their time by defining the principles that we use at Michigan International Speedway today. They always treated race fans with respect and always showed them they how much they were appreciated.
“Congratulations to all the nominees and their families by providing a NASCAR legacy that we should all aspire to.”
House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH)
“Today’s induction of the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame is a tribute not only to stock car racing fans but to the vision of the early pioneers of America’s number one motorsport. For the last 61 years, NASCAR has come to exemplify the great American virtues of competition and merit. The new Hall of Fame is much-need addition for NASCAR fans and will soon take its place alongside Cooperstown and Canton.
“Congratulations to Richard Petty and Junior Johnson, and to the family of Dale Earnhardt. These three racers are American legends and their many championships a product of their persistence, talent, and tenacity. Congratulations as well to the France family as Bill Sr. and Bill Jr. are honored for devoting their lives to building a simple, family-owned business into an icon of success in the world of sport.”
Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10)
“What a great mix of NASCAR’s founding fathers and those who popularized this great American sport. Without these five men, NASCAR’s journey from humble beginnings on the beaches of Daytona to our nation’s fastest growing sport would not have been possible. I applaud the selection committee and millions of race fans for recognizing the remarkable achievements of the men who dedicated their lives to building the sport we all love.”
Gov. Bev Perdue, North Carolina
“Here in the Tar Heel state, we embrace our racing heritage and are proud to be the place the NASCAR Hall of Fame calls home. Only the spirit of North Carolina innovation could turn the art of running moonshine into a multi-billion dollar industry.
“Congratulations to all five Hall of Fame inductees and their families.”