The pair kick back and have swap stories. One of the most notable tales: Jarrett talked about his father Ned’s friendship with Dale Jr.’s grandfather, Ralph Earnhardt.
Jarrett related how the relationship between his father and Ralph hit a rough patch after they had a dust-up in a Sportsman race. The normally mild-mannered Ned was so angry at Ralph that he refused to attend his wife’s baby shower for Dale Sr. because Ralph would also be in attendance.
Ned Jarrett dutifully drove his wife to the shower, but stayed in his car the entire time.
Catch the outcome of that story, as well as many others on today’s edition of NASCAR America.
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Here’s Part 2 of this week’s edition of Coffee With Kyle, featuring NBC Sports’ NASCAR analyst Kyle Petty interviewing NASCAR Hall of Famers and father and son Ned Jarrett and Dale Jarrett.
Both men remembered the fateful day in 1964 when Glenn “Fireball” Roberts was involved in a horrific crash at Charlotte Motor Speedway that eventually took his life more than a month later.
It was on May 24, 1964, during the World 600 race that Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson were racing each other, vying for position when they got tangled in a wreck. In most cases, it would have been considered a typical racing crash. But this one was so much different.
Here’s how Ned Jarrett described it:
“I remember Fireball had shared with me that he was going to retire at the end of the year,” Ned Jarrett told Petty. “He had not publicly made that announcement, but he was going to become a spokesperson for Falstaff Beer for $50,000 a year, which is a lot of money.
“Junior and I were racing side-by-side going into Turn 1 and there’s a bump between Turns 1 and 2. Junior was on the inside, hit that bump, hit me and I spun to the inside of the racetrack while Junior spun to the outside. When I hit the wall, it burst the gas tank open. As I skidded down the wall, there was a spark and the gas caught on fire, so the car was on fire. Then, something caused Fireball to spin into me and his gas tank burst open as well, so all hell broke loose. We landed about 30 feet apart. I got out of my car and the wheels were still turning on his car. It landed on its top. I saw him trying to get out so I ran over and tried to pull him out.
“He was wearing a custom made uniform. It had zippers on the sleeves and up the sides and looked very nice, but if you tried to pull it off in a hurry, we both got our hands burned from the heat on the zippers (of his firesuit). We had it basically torn off while it was burning on him. The rescue squad got there and I just turned it over to them, not thinking that it was that bad. I knew he had some burns and I had some burns on my hands and face, but it wasn’t okay and it finally took his life. It was a sad day for the sport.”
Ned Jarrett suffered those burns while trying to rescue Roberts from his race car turned inferno. It’s a memory that has stayed with him, as vivid today as the incident was 55 years ago.
Son Dale also recalled that race, but from a different perspective. Dale was only seven years old and was at the speedway to watch the race.
Here’s what Dale Jarrett remembers about that race, more so about the uncertainty of what happened in that crash and how his father was doing.
“I can remember (older brother) Glenn and I were against the fence just coming off Turn 4, where the car was parked,” Dale Jarrett said. “We didn’t see a lot, just dad gone by and keep up with things. The next thing we see is this black smoke on the back straightaway and had no idea of what was going on. It seemed like 30 minutes, probably wasn’t that long, but it was the not knowing part.”
Also part of the interview: Ned Jarrett’s recovery from a horrible crash in a race at Greenville, as well as entering the world of television after hanging up his racing firesuit.
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.
Wood Brothers Racing patriarch Glen Wood, who was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2012, died Friday. He was 93.
The team announced his passing Friday morning on social media.
Wood was a link to NASCAR’s early years.
A former driver – he won four times at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. – Glen Wood founded the Wood Brothers Racing team with brothers Leonard and Delano. In Wood’s first win at Bowman Gray Stadium in April 1960, he beat a field that included former champions Richard Petty, Rex White, Ned Jarrett and Lee Petty. Wood’s history also includes seeing Tim Flock race with a monkey and having Ralph Earnhardt drive convertible and sportsman cars for the team.
His racing career nearly ended as soon as it started. Wood and a friend paid $50 for a 1938 Ford coupe to go racing. The Stuart, Virginia, native ran his first race at a track near Martinsville. During the heat race, his car was hit and bent the rear-end housing. After the race, Wood and his friend hooked the race car to the vehicle they were driving and headed home.
But on the trip, the axle eventually broke, and the damage caused spilling fuel to ignite. The fire engulfed the back of the race car.
“Every once in a while one of them (gas cans) would blow up, and we would be afraid to get close to it because of that,” Wood recalled in a 2011 interview. “Finally we got it unhooked and got the car away from (the one pulling it) and let it burn because we couldn’t do anything about it.”
They salvaged the engine and repaired the car. A few weeks later, Wood was back racing.
While Leonard is often credited as the father of the modern pit stop, Glen was equally as responsible. The two developed a communication and strategy plan that was one of the best in NASCAR for several decades.
Wood Brothers Racing, which has 99 Cup victories, remains the oldest continuous racing team in NASCAR. Among the drivers that have raced for the team are Hall of Famers David Pearson, Curtis Turner, Junior Johnson, Joe Weatherly, Fred Lorenzen, Cale Yarborough, Dale Jarrett and Bill Elliott.
Born on July 18, 1925, Glen retired as a driver at the age of 39, assuming full-time duties as the team’s chief administrator, a role that he handled for nearly 30 years before relegating the role to sons Eddie and Len.
Through the years, Wood’s name mysteriously changed. His birth certificate lists his first name as Glenn, but somewhere along the way the last letter was dropped.
Wood received the colorful nickname of “Wood Chopper” early on for how he used to cut timber at a Virginia sawmill. But when Glen started racing, that nickname followed him and became somewhat of a calling card for his winning ways.
“When he pulled into a racetrack, and the announcer would say, ‘Here comes the Wood Chopper from Stuart, Virginia,’ you knew you had a challenger that night,” Ned Jarrett, a fellow NASCAR Hall of Famer, said of Glen Wood in a 2012 NASCAR Hall video of Glen Wood’s career. “Glen Wood, he was the master.”
“I think people forget the breadth of somebody’s career sometimes when it spans as long as his,” Kyle Petty said that day in 2011.
In a statement, Edsel B. Ford II, member of the Board of Directors for Ford Motor Company, said of Wood’s passing:
“This is a difficult day for all of us at Ford Motor Company. Glen Wood was the founding patriarch of the oldest continuously operating NASCAR Cup Series team and we consider Wood Brothers Racing a part of our family, the Ford Family. The Wood Brothers race team, by any measure, has been one of the most successful racing operations in the history of NASCAR. Most importantly for our company, Glen and his family have remained loyal to Ford throughout their 69-year history.
“Glen was an innovator who, along with his family, changed the sport itself. But, more importantly, he was a true Southern gentleman who was quick with a smile and a handshake and he was a man of his word. I will cherish the memories of our chats in the NASCAR garage, at their race shop in Mooresville or the racing museum in Stuart. My most memorable moment with Glen was with he and his family in the #21 pit box watching Trevor Bayne win the 2011 Daytona 500 and the celebration that followed in victory lane.”
In a statement, NASCAR’s Jim France said: “In every way, Glen Wood was an original. In building the famed Wood Brothers Racing at the very beginnings of our sport, Glen laid a foundation for NASCAR excellence that remains to this day. As both a driver and a team owner, he was, and always will be, the gold standard. But personally, even more significant than his exemplary on-track record, he was a true gentleman and a close confidant to my father, mother and brother. On behalf of the France family and all of NASCAR, I send my condolences to the entire Wood family for the loss of a NASCAR giant.”
In a statement, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said: “Everyone at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is saddened by the passing of Glen Wood. The word ‘legendary’ sometimes is overused, but it absolutely fits Glen and the team that he and his brother, Leonard, founded and built into a powerhouse in NASCAR. Wood Brothers Racing has such a deep, rich connection to IMS through its multiple entries in the Brickyard 400 and by serving as the pit crew for the Lotus/Ford that Jim Clark drove to victory in the 1965 Indianapolis 500. Glen’s legacy as a fine driver and motorsports innovator will be matched only by his enduring status as one of racing’s true gentlemen and class acts.”
It’s with profound sadness that we mourn the passing of team founder and family patriarch Glen Wood this morning. We want to thank family, friends, our small-town Virginia community of Patrick County, as well as everyone in the NASCAR community for their unwavering support. pic.twitter.com/vadN1NKgTV
Glen Wood was a legend and a great racer. More importantly he was a good man and respected by an entire community. His impact on the sport was huge and he helped pave the way for the sport to grow and be successful. My thoughts and prayers are with the Wood family.
NASCAR is defined by family. Drivers’ children, spouses and parents fill the garage and victory lane celebrations.
As Thanksgiving approaches, NASCAR America looked back on some of the greatest family moments of the season.
“The drivers have done a tremendous job in bringing their families in – their kids in – and it just shows that we’re not just saying this is a family sport,” Dale Jarrett, son of legendary Ned Jarrett, said. “It has been for a long time. Kyle Petty and myself and many others. This is what we grew up around. … I think it’s showing these young people this is a sport that you can count on. You can count on the people and there are a lot of good people involved with that.”
Clint Bowyer jogging down the front stretch to scoop his son Cash into his arms at Martinsville.
Kevin Harvick‘s son Keelan retrieving the checkered flag at Michigan followed by a trip to victory lane in the passenger side of his father’s car.
Bubba Wallace’s mother Desiree Wallace joining him in the media center at Daytona.
Chase Elliott and his Hall of Fame father Bill Elliott in Watkins Glen’s victory lane.
Hudson Logano being placed in the Monster Energy Cup trophy by Joey Logano.