Friday, January 20, 2012
NASCAR Acceleration Weekend Kicks Off Tonight!
Charlotte, NC, becomes the epicenter of NASCAR Acceleration Weekend this week, culminating tonight when the NASCAR Hall of Fame inducts its third class. Inductees include the late Richie Evans, Dale Inman, Glen Wood, Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough, who will take their place among the sport's elite tonight at the Charlotte Convention Center's Crown Ballroom beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Yarborough was the first driver to win three consecutive NASCAR premier series championships, from 1976-78. During his three-year dominance, Yarborough won a total of 28 races; nine in 1976, nine in '77 and 10 in '78. His final championship points margin in those three years was never fewer than 195 points and was as much as 474 in 1978. He racked up 83 victories in his 31-year career; ranking him sixth all-time. He won the prestigious Daytona 500 four times -- 1968, 1977, 1983, 1984 -- second only to Richard Petty's seven wins. He was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.
Waltrip is a three-time champion of NASCAR's Cup series, after claiming top honors in 1981, 1982 and 1985; all three with legendary car owner and fellow Hall Of Famer Junior Johnson. Waltrip is tied with Bobby Allison and Jeff Gordon for third in all-time series victories He won the 1989 Daytona 500 in a Rick Hendrick-owned Chevrolet and is currently a commentator on FOX's NASCAR broadcasts. He was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.
Inman served as crew chief for NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty for nearly three decades, and set records for most wins (193) and championships (eight) by a crew chief. He won seven titles with Petty (1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1979), and an eighth championship with Terry Labonte in 1984.
The recognized "king" of Modified racing, Evans captured nine NASCAR Modified titles in a 13-year span, including eight in a row from 1978 to 1985. In the first year of the current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour format in 1985, Evans won 12 races, including a sweep of all four events at Thompson, Conn. Evans ranked No. 1 in the 2003 voting of the NASCAR All-Time Modified Top 10 Drivers, and he was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.
Wood laid the foundation for the famed Wood Brothers racing team as a driver in NASCAR's premier series. Competing mostly at tracks near his southern Virginia home, Wood won four times at the legendary Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. He is best known for his collaboration with brothers Leonard and Delano in Wood Brothers Racing. The Virginia-based team dates to 1950 and remains active, with a total of 98 Cup Series victories, including last year's Daytona 500 with driver Trevor Bayne.
This weekend's NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint kicks off at 9 a.m. Saturday with NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series drivers signing autographs in the ballroom and Exhibit Hall:
Driver Appearance Times (Ballroom)
9:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth
10:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson
11:45 a.m. - 1:45 p.m. - Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski
12:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. - Greg Biffle
12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. - Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman
2:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. - Dale Earnhardt Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya
3:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. - Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart
Driver Appearance Times (Exhibit Hall)
9 a.m. - 11 a.m. - AJ Allmendinger, Jeff Burton, Bobby Labonte, Joey Logano, Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears, David Ragan, Justin Allgaier, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Timmy Hill, Blake Koch, Travis Pastrana, Timothy Peters
11 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Marcos Ambrose, Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard, Regan Smith, Brian Vickers, Aric Almirola, Trevor Bayne, Brian Scott, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brad Sweet, Cale Gale, Justin Lofton, Todd Peck
12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. - Michael Annett, Elliott Sadler, Mike Wallace, Dakoda Armstrong, Johnny Sauter, Parker Kligerman, Brian Keselowski, Michael Waltrip, Jason Leffler, Todd Bodine
2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Danica Patrick, Martin Truex Jr., Austin Dillon, Morgan Shepherd, Kenny Wallace, Joey Coulter, Ty Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, Tim George Jr., Max Gresham
MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will provide live coverage of tonight's Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, with live coverage anchored by Barney Hall and Joe Moore beginning 7:30 p.m. ET. SPEED will present tape-delayed coverage on on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. ET,