Coffee with Kyle: Ned and Dale Jarrett discuss family’s racing beginnings

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Ned Jarrett wasn’t raised in a racing family.

He was brought up in the saw mill town of Newton, North Carolina, and became fond of racing after his father Homer took him to races in North Wilkesboro and Charlotte.

The 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee and his son Dale Jarrett recounted their family’s racing origins in the latest edition of Kyle Petty’s “Coffee with Kyle.”

“When they started building the Hickory Speedway it was a big thing in the community,” Ned Jarrett told Petty. “You’d go down to the country story and all those farmers and saw millers were sitting around … and they’d say, ‘Boy, wait until they get that thing built. I’ll go up there and show them how to drive.’

“So I worked it out.”

Jarrett was present in the first race held at the short track in 1951, thanks to him winning half-interest in a car through a poker game.

Though he failed to let his dad know.

“My dad was a well-respected man in the community,” Jarrett said. “He shouldn’t see where his son is participating with that group of people.”

“That group” included various bootleggers.

Jarrett kept racing and left his father in the dark through a scheme where he would compete under his racing partner’s name. That scheme ended when they finally “lucked up and won a race” and word spread.

“My dad heard about it and he said, ‘Ok, if you’re so determined to drive one of those things use your own name and get credit for any accomplishments that you may have along the way,'” Jarrett said.

By the end of his Hall of Fame career in 1966, Jarrett accumulated 50 Cup wins and two championships (1961, 1965).

In that time he was also raising a family of three, including two sons.

In a vintage Ford promotional video featuring him and his family, Jarrett said his oldest son Glenn “really does not have a desire to become a race driver.” When it came to his middle child, Dale, Ned remarked that he “seems destined to become a race driver.”

Dale was 9 at the time.

“We understood the life and what it was about,” Dale Jarrett said. “In those days they were racing 70-some races a year. It was three and four races a week at times. … When he was there, it was time that we cherished when he was at home.”

Watch the above video for the entire first part of the interview.