CHARLOTTE – Jerry Cook made an impact on NASCAR behind a wheel and a desk.
After capturing six NASCAR Modified championships (including four straight from 1974-77) while establishing a rivalry with fellow Hall of Famer Richie Evans, Cook retired in 1982 but stayed involved in NASCAR.
As an administrator, Cook shaped the Modified circuit and also helped write the first Camping World Truck Series rulebook. When the NASCAR R&D Center opened in Concord, N.C., in 2003, Cook became a fixture there.
He also made inroads at the track with many drivers, including a longtime friendship with Tony Stewart. The three-time champion of NASCAR’s premier series introduced Cook before Saturday’s induction.
Born: June 20, 1943
Hometown: Rome, N.Y.
The career: Made 1,474 starts in the Modified Series with 342 victories and 26 pole positions. … Named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers. … First major victory was the 1969 Dogwood 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
The quotes: “Through the years you’ve been known as a tough racer and even later on a tougher NASCAR administrator. Let me tell you, no one could collect a NASCAR fine more effectively than you. Trust me, I know. “ – Robin Pemberton, former NASCAR vice president of competition, who inducted Jerry Cook.
“This is a little overwhelming. This is the greatest honor in NASCAR, and to have a place in our sport’s house is the ultimate achievement.” – Cook