Waltrip, Yarborough in NASCAR’s third class

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Associated Press
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
— The wait is over for Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip. The championship-winning drivers with a bumpy personal connection are headed to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Yarborough and Waltrip got in on their third try, headlining the third five-member class announced Tuesday. They’re joined by eight-time series champion crew chief Dale Inman, the late nine-time Modified champion Richie Evans and pioneering driver and owner Glen Wood.

“It’s probably the best class of the three,” said NASCAR chairman Bill France, who was on the receiving end of a playful kiss on his cheek from a tearful Waltrip. “You’ve got two of the greatest drivers. You’ve got the greatest crew chief. You have a legendary car owner, and then you have Richie Evans, who dominated in Modified racing. It demonstrates the Hall of Fame is more than just the Sprint Cup series.

“It’s hard to argue this class in any way, in my view.”

Yarborough, who led with 85 percent of the vote by the 55-person panel, won 83 races and three consecutive titles (1976-78). Only Jimmie Johnson’s current streak of five titles is longer. Yarborough’s 83 victories rank sixth. He won four Daytona 500s and later served as car owner until he left the sport in 1999.

Waltrip, who received 82 percent of the vote, won 84 races, tied for third all time, and collected series championships in 1981, ’82 and ’85.

Waltrip has spent the past 11 years as a TV analyst for Fox Sports and Speed.

Inman received 78 percent of the vote, becoming the first crew chief to be elected.

The late Evans, who captured 50 percent of the vote, won nine Modified titles in 13 years, including a record eight straight from 1978-85.

Wood, who received 44 percent of the vote, was credited with helping revolutionize pit stops with Wood Brothers Racing. His team has amassed 98 victories, including this year’s Daytona 500.

The class will be inducted in the downtown Charlotte facility in January.

Last updated: 5:39 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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