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NASCAR has long touted itself as a family sport, from families enjoying the on-track action together from the grandstands or in front of the television to fathers and sons and brotherly duos duking it out for race wins on the track. So it only makes since that the family theme carry over to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
NASCAR inducted its latest class of five — Buck Baker, Cotton Owens, Herb Thomas, Rusty Wallace and Leonard Wood — into its Hall in Uptown Charlotte on Friday night, and the family theme continued in the fourth class of inductees.
With his recent induction, Leonard Wood joined his brother, Glen Wood in the NASCAR Hall of Fame to make the brothers the first pair of brothers to be inducted. Glen Wood was a part of the 2012 class.
“It’s certainly a high honor to go in the Hall of Fame behind brother Glen and our former drivers Cale (Yarborough) and David (Pearson),” Leonard Wood said during his acceptance speech.
But the Woods aren’t the only ones keeping the tradition of Hall of Fame induction in the family. Take the Petty family for instance. Friday night’s induction ceremony was actually the first in which there was no member of NASCAR’s unofficial royal family inducted. Richard Petty, the sport’s winningest driver, was a part of the first class just a few years ago. His father, Lee Petty, was added a year later. Dale Inman, a 2012 inductee, may not have the last name of Petty, but he is a member of the Petty family; he’s Richard Petty’s cousin, to be specific.
Then there’s the France family. No, the Frances didn’t make their name from behind the wheel, but they’re the first family of NASCAR, really. The France family is the first family in that “Big Bill” France created NASCAR. Then, he handed it over to his son, Bill France Jr. After several years of growing the sport, Bill Jr. handed it off to his son, Brian France, and Brian France is at the helm today as NASCAR’s Chairman and CEO. Needless to say, the France family has always been calling the shots.
Anyway, back to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. When it comes to the Hall, the family theme made itself apparent right from the start with the first class of inductees, as the aforementioned Bill France Sr. and Bill France Jr. were among the first five to be inducted.
So, let’s see. Two-fifths of the first class were releated. Three-fourths of all Hall induction ceremonies, so far, included an induction of a member of the Petty family, and seven-twentieths (slightly over 30%) of the current roster of 20 members are related to someone else in that 20.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame — it’s a family tradition.
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