You could almost say Ned Jarrett was destined to become a stock car driver. After all, his dad first let him drive the family car to church when he was just 9 years old.
And Jarrett, who came to be known as “Gentleman” Ned, grew up to be one of NASCAR’s best.
He started out racing in the Sportsman Class, winning the championship in 1957 and ’58. He then moved up to the Winston Cup series and won 50 races while posting a phenomenal 239 top-10s in 352 races.
More than half of those victories came in standout 1964 and ’65 seasons when Jarrett won 15 and 13 races, respectively. He finished runner-up to Richard Petty for the Winston Cup title in 1964 but earned his second championship (the first came in 1961) the following year.
Jarrett’s career spanned just 13 years. When he retired at the age of 34, the Newton, N.C., native went into business but by 1978, Jarrett’s love of racing led him to go into broadcasting. He worked in radio first and then moved to TV, working for CBS and ESPN, among other networks.
Jarrett won what is now known as the Bojangles Southern 500 on Sept. 6, 1965 by an amazing 14 laps and two car lengths. That translates into 19.25 miles, which remains the farthest margin in NASCAR history.
In recognition of that victory, Jarrett is the NCSHOF’s September Member of the Month. He was inducted in 1990, 21 years before his son, Dale Jarrett.
Click here to read more about Jarrett, who is one of 12 who have been inducted in the Motorsports category. http://www.ncshof.org/nedjarrett