NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017 honored, inducted
RELATED: Recap induction night, watch more speeches CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The enshrinement of three car owners of paramount importance to stock car racing, a driver who proved a prolific winner in NASCAR’s top-two series and a former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion who would become one of the most beloved storytellers in the history of the sport highlighted Friday night’s induction of the Class of 2017 into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Not only did the emotional proceedings usher one of NASCAR’s first car owners, Raymond Parks, into the Hall. Also recognized were the ongoing accomplishments of two owners -- Richard Childress and Rick Hendrick -- whose efforts have helped to produce a pair of seven-time champions. Friday night also brought the induction of driver Mark Martin, who won 40 races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series , another 49 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and who finished second in the championship standings at NASCAR’s highest level no less than five times. WATCH: Martin enters the 'grandest Victory Lane' Perhaps the most gripping moment of the night was the enshrinement of 1973 Cup champion Benny Parsons, a man of indefatigable good humor who flourished after his driving career as one of the most beloved broadcasters the sport has known. Parsons lost his life on Jan. 16, 2007 after a courageous battle against lung cancer. Appropriately, Parks was first to be enshrined. Introduced by Kevin Harvick and inducted posthumously by family friend Kyle Petty , Parks was a close friend of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and a pillar of the sport in its formative years. Born in the mountains of north Georgia, Parks shares "moonshine" roots with such NASCAR pioneers as Junior Johnson. Parks later grew successful jukebox and vending machine businesses in Atlanta before venturing into NASCAR ownership. Parks won NASCAR's first two championships, in modifieds in 1948 and in Strictly Stock (NASCAR's top division) with Red Byron behind the wheel and Red Vogt as crew chief. RELATED: 'Lost' films restored, reveal Parks' talent "He put his money where his mouth was, investing in our great pastime as an owner," Harvick said. "The World War II veteran captured NASCAR's first premier series championship in 1949 and nearly 70 years later has earned the highest honor from the sport he always believed in." "Without Raymond Parks, there would be no Richard Petty -- there’s nothing to build on," Kyle Petty said. Introduced by fellow Michigander Brad Keselowski , Parsons won his only championship in 1973, an achievement that came during a string of nine straight years (1972-1980) in which Parsons finished in the top five in the final standings. All told, Parsons won 21 races, including the 1975 Daytona 500 , during a career whose hallmark was remarkable consistency. In 526 starts at NASCAR’s highest level, Parsons finished in the top 10 283 times, an enviable 54 percent. "He's from Detroit, and he came from being a Michigan taxi driver to a NASCAR champion," Keselowski said. "Think about that. That seems like the script from a Hollywood movie. "But that is exactly what Benny Parsons accomplished in 1973." WATCH: Childress says his story's possible 'only in America' Childress’ grandsons, Austin and Ty Dillon -- both of whom are racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this year -- introduced their "Pop Pop," the car owner with whom inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame class member Dale Earnhardt won six of his seven championships. "My brother and I are so proud and honored to introduce Pop Pop," Austin Dillon said. "There are countless family stories I could share of his true grit, persistence, determination, and love for others." Including Earnhardt’s six with RCR, Childress has won 11 titles combined in NASCAR’s top three touring series, second only to fellow inductee Hendrick’s 15. "I’m honored to go into the NASCAR Hall of Fame with my heroes," said Childress, who was inducted by his wife, Judy Childress. "Just look around this wall and look at the greats that we'll be going in the Hall of Fame with. Unbelievable. And to go in the Class of 2017 with so many great inductees is quite an honor." Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson and four-time titleholder Jeff Gordon did the introduction honors for Hendrick, their car owner. "The stats speak for themselves: 15 national series championship, 245 Cup wins, certainly impressive numbers, but more important than the wins and the championships is the person behind them," Gordon said. "He's the most loyal man I know. He'll take the shirt right off his back for you. His accomplishments are endless, and his character is unrivaled." Hendrick accepted induction from his wife, Linda Hendrick. WATCH: Hendrick thanks NASCAR family "I humbly accept this tonight, and all the drivers that have been involved in our company, all the mechanics, everybody that's ever been a part of it, I accept this on your behalf, past and present," Hendrick said. "I know my son (Ricky Hendrick, killed in a 2004 plane crash) is watching tonight, and he's so proud. Congratulations to Jimmie for winning No. 7, dedicating it to him … "But I can tell you that the feelings that I have for this sport and for all the people in it, all the sponsors -- and I've got so many here tonight I can't name them all, don't want to do that -- but it's your faith, it's your family and your friends that get you through life, and that's the most important thing. When it's all over, it's the people that you touch and the lives you change that make a difference in this world." Introduced by former Roush Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth and inducted by team owner Jack Roush, Martin chronicled a career that began in 1981 and ended at Michael Waltrip Racing in 2013. In between, Martin finished second in the standings four times with Roush -- the first in 1990 -- and once with Hendrick, in 2009, during Johnson’s run of five straight titles. Martin won 96 races across all three NASCAR national touring series, currently seventh all-time. He credited Roush with giving him a welcome opportunity to drive RFR Fords in 1988, after his career had stalled. "He was hell-bent and determined as I was to make a name for himself winning races and competing for championships at NASCAR's highest level," Martin said. "Jack Roush gave me that second chance." During Friday night’s ceremony, Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles was recognized with the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Opened in 1947, Martinsville is the only track to have hosted races at NASCAR’s highest level since the sanctioning body’s formation in 1949. The late Benny Phillips, former reporter and sports editor for the High Point (N.C.) Enterprise received the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. Overcoming polio to pursue his career as a journalist, Phillips also wrote for Stock Car Racing magazine for 27 years and spent 12 years covering racing with TBS. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Petty family prepares for Ride Across America
LEVEL CROSS, N.C. (April 21, 2016) -- For the first time in its history, Kyle Petty will be joined by his three sisters and legendary father during the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America, one of the most successful and popular charity rides in the country, for its 22nd annual motorcycle trek. Petty will ride alongside his sisters, Sharon, Lisa, Rebecca and father, "The King" Richard during the ride presented by Manheim. The ride engages celebrities, motorcycle enthusiasts, fans, and local communities to raise funds and awareness for Victory Junction, a camp for kids with serious health care needs. Petty will lead his wife, father, sisters and his extended "charity ride family" of approximately 200 riders on a route starting in Palm Springs, California on April 30 and ending in Biloxi, Mississippi on May 6. "We've been doing this for over 20 years and I've never had all my sisters and father with me on the ride," said Petty . "So, that makes this ride even more special for our family. We've all been busy doing different things, but this year we were all able to get this on everyone's calendar. Family, friends, having a good time together and making memories is what this ride is all about and having all my sisters and father with us will make the experience that much better. I'm really looking forward to it." The ride will be supported through social media channels by Richard Petty Motorsports , Richard Petty Museum, Petty Family Foundation and Petty's Garage. Fans can visit these respective Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sites for photos of the ride along its route. Twenty two years ago, Petty combined his passion for helping others with his love of motorcycles to create the Ride. Since 1995, more than 7,750 riders have logged 11.4 million cumulative motorcycle miles and raised $16.5 million for Victory Junction and other children's charities. "The Ride continues to be an overwhelming success thanks to the passion and commitment of our riders and sponsors, a majority of which join in the Ride and support the cause year over year," said Petty . "Thanks to their continued support, the Ride has been able to send more than 7,880 children to Victory Junction at no cost their families." Since its inception by Petty and his family in 2004, in honor of his son Adam Petty , Victory Junction has served as the Ride's primary beneficiary. Located on 84 acres in Randleman, North Carolina, Victory Junction exists to enrich the lives of children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses by creating camping experiences that are memorable, fun, empowering, physically safe and medically sound. Fans and spectators along the Ride's route may contribute to the "Small Change. Big Impact." program, which accepts donations at local stops. To keep up with Petty and the riders live, follow the Ride and Petty on social media: Facebook: www.facebook.com/kpcharityride and www.facebook.com/kylepetty45 Instagram: www.instagram.com/kpcharityride and www.instagram.com/kylepetty Twitter: www.twitter.com/kpcharityride and www.twitter.com/kylepetty For more information about the 22nd Anniversary Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America or to make a contribution, please visit www.kylepettycharityride.com .
Adam Petty's legacy brings smiles at Victory Junction
Kyle Petty reflects on his son's dream to help others brought to life by the children who enjoy the Victory Junction Gang Camp.
Petty's 20th Charity Ride to end in Daytona
Kyle Petty to lead group of motorcycle enthusiasts on coast-to-coast charity ride
Father-son Nemechek duo set to compete at Daytona
MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- NASCAR has always been known as a family sport where the love of racing has been passed from generation to generation. In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) NextEra Energy Resources 250 at the Daytona International Speedway on Friday, February 24, John Hunter Nemechek will have the opportunity few sons have enjoyed: competing against his father, 1992 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Joe Nemechek . Should both Nemecheks qualify for the race, it would be the first time a father and son have competed in the same NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race since Dave Blaney and Ryan Blaney started the 2013 Inaugural Mudsummer Classic at the Eldora Speedway . It will also be the first time a father and son have competed in any of NASCAR's top three series at the Daytona International Speedway since the 2006 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with Bobby Hamilton and Bobby Hamilton Jr. The Nemecheks will even be running for the same team -- family-owned NEMCO Motorsports -- which will field John Hunter Nemechek full-time in the No. 8 Fire Alarm Services, Inc., Chevrolet for 2017, and will also field Joe Nemechek in the No. 87 Fleetwing Chevrolet in a select number of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events. Joe Nemechek and John Hunter Nemechek have competed against each other on the race track just three times before, twice in the Allison Legacy Race Series, and once in the ARCA Midwest Tour. The first time the duo competed against each other was in the Allison Legacy Race Series at the Concord Speedway in 2011 where the son finished first, and the father second. In a rematch at the Carolina Motorsports Park John Hunter Nemechek finished third, and Joe Nemechek finished fourth. The other was in an ARCA Midwest Tour event at the Milwaukee Mile in 2013, where neither driver won but experience outran youth. John Hunter Nemechek , who posted two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victories and captured his first pole award during the 2016 season, may be at a disadvantage in Daytona. Joe Nemechek has comprehensive experience at the "World Center of Racing," having five pole awards and two victories (1998, 2002), four top-five and seven top-10 finishes in the NASCAR XFINITY Series . In addition, he has the all-time NASCAR XFINITY Series most starts record, including the most laps completed record, and number of pole awards record at the Daytona International Speedway . Across the top three NASCAR divisions Nemechek has 74 total starts at the Daytona Beach, Florida, facility. The NextEra Energy Resources 250 will mark NEMCO Motorsports' fourth and fifth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at the 2.5-mile tri-oval superspeedway. Joe Nemechek posted a team best finish of eighth-place at the Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2014. The elder Nemechek last competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2015 at the Texas Motor Speedway , finishing in the sixth-place. It is not unusual for family to compete against one another in NASCAR's premier series as sets of brothers have been the norm rather than the exception. Joe Nemechek competed together with younger brother John Nemechek in three ( Watkins Glen International , Phoenix International Raceway and Walt Disney World Speedway) NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events. This will be the second NASCAR season-opening event Joe Nemechek has competed against Nemechek lineage. In the 1997 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season-opener at the Walt Disney World Speedway, Joe Nemechek in the No. 87 finished nine positions ahead of John Nemechek in the No. 8 -- both as owner-driver entries. Both father and son have collected victories, pole awards, and claimed the title of Most Popular Driver in their respective series, but only Joe Nemechek has claimed the series championship trophy. Without the dedication Joe Nemechek has had towards his son's career, John Hunter Nemechek knows he might not have had the chance to show his talents, and have the opportunity to team up with his dad at the Daytona International Speedway . Joe Nemechek and John Hunter Nemechek look to add their names to the short list of fathers and sons who have won races head-to-head in NASCAR's premier series, and be listed alongside Lee and Richard Petty , Richard and Kyle Petty , Bobby and Davey Allison, Dale and Dale Earnhardt Jr ., and Buck and Buddy Baker.
Parsons beloved for many hats as a racer, broadcaster, brother
RELATED: Full coverage of NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017 A full generation knows Benny Parsons best for his work behind the steering wheel, banging fenders and hoisting trophies competing alongside Richard Petty , Cale Yarborough and David Pearson in NASCAR’s early heyday. Another generation appreciates "BP" for his work in front of the television camera, his easy and enlightening way of bringing NASCAR racing into our living rooms and enticing new fans to the sport. He was supreme at both callings, a natural. The 1973 premier series champion Parsons won 21 races yet only competed full time for 10 of his 21 years on the circuit. His "retirement" was also highly-decorated earning him an Emmy Award for his work on the other side of the camera. RELATED: See every premier series champion since 1972 His story is a righteous throwback to NASCAR's formative days, the kind of shake-your-head tale of what can happen when great talent and the right opportunity fuse in unexpected ways. This Friday, Parsons, who passed away in 2007 at the age of 65, will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame joining Raymond Parks, Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and driver Mark Martin in the Hall's Class of 2017 (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN). "I'm not sure how he will be remembered most -- for the racing or for the announcing," Phil Parsons said of his older brother. "We're all just so proud, and I know Benny will be smiling down." Smiling was something the affable and well-liked Parsons did a lot. And with good reason. Not only was he successful in racing's highest levels, but his course to NASCAR's big time reads more like a grand tale than the methodical, step-by-step path of drivers in today's era. And for Parsons, it had the happiest of endings. So the story goes. … Parsons had moved from his North Carolina birthplace to Michigan and was driving taxi cabs for his father’s business. He met a race team at a gas station, asked how he could get involved in the sport, followed through with an invitation to join in and the rest is history, as they say. In this case, it is truly history. Parsons turned that local racing opportunity into a highly-decorated, nationally-acclaimed career. Over his 21 years in the premier series, Parsons won the 1973 championship (in only his second full-time season), the 1975 Daytona 500 , and the 1980 World 600 at Charlotte. Parsons won at 15 different venues and varied from the smallest of the small like the .357-mile South Boston Speedway to the vast of the vast in Daytona. Perhaps as notable as his win total is an extraordinary statistic that speaks to Parsons' ability to make the most out of an even limited opportunity. He finished among the top-10 a remarkable 283 times in 526 starts -- more than half the races he entered -- a phenomenal and talent-telling indicator. RELATED: More about the Class of 2017 From 1972 to 1980 Parsons never finished worse than fifth in the championship standings. And in 1982 he became the first driver to run a qualifying lap at Talladega Superspeedway over 200 mph. Parsons, who won the ARCA Series championship in 1968 and 1969, also went on to earn an IROC race win on the Daytona high banks in 1976. He collected top-five showings in three of the four IROC races that year pitting NASCAR’s best against the elites of other racing genres. His was such a robust racing career, people legitimately wondered how much more hardware Parsons could have collected if he’d competed full time more than half his career. As it turned out, Parsons would hoist other trophies -- specifically an Emmy Award. When it came to broadcasting races, Parsons was, simply, beloved. He had all the knowledge of a champion driver, and made it his passion to stay informed -- working the garage for insight and, as his brother Phil likes to joke, a good meal to boot. Fans loved that about Parsons. He was homey, comfortable, and felt like one of them. But he was also one of the best drivers to ever suit up for a NASCAR race. He brought that all to television, delivering insight and excitement that earned him the 1996 Emmy Award for his work at ESPN. "There wasn't a person that Benny didn’t know and not a person that didn't know him," Phil Parsons figures. And that is indicative of how Parsons lived his life. For as loved and respected as Parsons was by audiences, he was the ultimate big brother to Phil, who followed a similar path, racing (and winning at Talladega in 1988) in the sport's top series an, now, broadcasting races for FOX Sports. Benny was just about 16 years older than Phil, who recalls their relationship being based around the race track from the very beginning. His racing hero was also his big brother. "I remember going with my father to see Benny race once I was old enough, maybe four or five years old," Phil Parsons said. "That's really my first memories of him. And I don't have too many that didn't involve racing somehow." For Phil and the entire Parsons family, this week is the ultimate acknowledgement of Benny -- a beloved role model in the family and a genuine success story all around. "I know I will be emotional and not sure yet how it will manifest itself," Phil Parsons said, anticipating the moving Hall of Fame tributes to his brother to come. "It's just so special for my family, really a nice tribute." And really, so very deserved. &amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;
'Be yourself' resonates with young drivers at seminar
CHARLOTTE -- Being a race car driver entails much more than getting behind the wheel. Before the start of a new season, NASCAR walked its younger drivers through different aspects of the sport during its annual Driver Development Seminar. The 2017 edition was held Friday at the NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte, North Carolina. Through guest speakers and breakout sessions, the assembled group was given a chance to hear from some of the most influential individuals in the sport. Among the featured guest speakers were NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jill Gregory, Monster Energy Director of Motorsports Dave Gowland, FS1 broadcaster Adam Alexander, Lauren Murray, social media manager for Jimmie Johnson Racing Digital, and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson himself. "It really is a pretty comprehensive experience," driver Spencer Gallagher said. "I liked it. It's worth getting up at 7 in the morning for." This was Gallagher's fourth time experiencing the seminar, and the XFINITY Series rookie for GMS Racing called it NASCAR's best one yet. Among the topics broached was a look at the business of NASCAR, as well as a driver's identity. Gallagher pointed out some of the more interesting sessions, such as being given advice on how to get the most out of social media, what goes into a good interview and a driver's style. "It's a really informative event, especially about how we as drivers influence the direction of the series and the sport that we're in and how we can be ambassadors to the outside world," Gallagher said. "People have to want to watch us, and we as drivers play a very big role in that. It's really good to see NASCAR putting forth the effort to help train us. They bring in the best in the business and then tell you exactly how they do it." Matt Tifft was equally impressed. Now a full-time driver in the XFINITY Series for Joe Gibbs Racing , Tifft listened as O'Donnell talked about NASCAR's mission of seeing the sport's next superstar potentially come from the assembled group. With the welcoming of a new premier series sponsor, Monster Energy, Tifft was struck by how NASCAR is looking for drivers to show his or her individual personality this year. Something Tifft, at 20 years old, thinks will not only be a good thing, but also is needed for the sport to grow. "They want us to be ourselves and resonate (with others) and cross promote and bring people in from other interests and things like that," Tifft said. "I think it's a good idea and I think we probably need to do more of that as a sport." Tifft missed a portion of the 2016 season following surgery to remove a brain tumor. During his time away from the track, Tifft said it gave him perspective on how drivers need to step out of the bubble they can become trapped in during a season and take a look at how they can better represent themselves on and off the race track. The seminar drove home that point. Drivers like Myatt Snider and Chase Briscoe were given plenty to digest as each is set to begin the next chapter of his career. Snider will compete part-time for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series, and Briscoe is going full-time with Brad Keselowski Racing. "The biggest takeaway I've heard is they're going to let us kind of be our self a lot more," Briscoe said. "I think that's going to be good for everyone; I think it's going to be great for the sport, obviously. Looking forward to that. "Other than that, it's really cool to see how they're telling us to expand our brand. I feel like as a race car driver your brand is one of the most important things you can do. So building that brand outside what you do in the race car is obviously big and it's big for your future."
Kyle Petty latest to join NBC Sports Group
Network's approach 'reinvigorates' him as son Adam's entry into the sport did Kyle Petty has joined the race-day broadcast team for NBC Sports Group, the organization announced Thursday, and is the latest figure to join the network's ever-growing cast of NASCAR experts in preparation for the 2015 season and beyond. Petty will work alongside Krista Voda, whose hiring was announced in late October, as an analyst on pre- and post-race shows surrounding NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series coverage. He will also remain a regular contributor to "NASCAR America" on NBCSN. "Kyle Petty brings a lifetime of experience to our team that is unmatched," said Sam Flood, executive producer, NBC Sports and NBCSN. "As a driver, team owner, philanthropist and multigenerational observer of the sport, he has seen it all, and has great perspectives across NASCAR's full spectrum." Petty joins a group that already includes race announcer Rick Allen and on-air analysts Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte, along with reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Mike Massaro and Dave Burns. The son of Richard Petty and grandson of Lee Petty , both NASCAR Hall of Famers, Kyle grew up entrenched in the sport and made 829 starts in NASCAR's premier series. A guest on "The Morning Drive" on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio when the news was released, Petty joked, "Breaking news after I've been on "NASCAR America" on NBC for 23 weeks this year. Breaking news, I have a job next year." From his work on the nightly NBCSN show, Petty said the staff has "reinvigorated" him. He compared the network's fresh-eyed return to NASCAR to his late son's approach to racing when Adam became a national series competitor. "…when Adam came along, it was like I was seeing these race tracks for the first time because he was so excited," Petty said. "Even though he had been around the sport, he hadn't driven, and he was so excited. "(He would) tell me what the race track felt like or tell me what was going on at the race track or what he learned today at the race track. And I get that same feeling from these people at NBC. "They're just excited to be at the race track, and they're excited to be a part of the sport." FOX and NBC have exclusive NASCAR broadcasting rights, beginning next year. NBC will broadcast the final 20 Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series events, select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events and other live content, beginning next year. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
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