A Happy Father’s Day Story
Ned Jarrett is a NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee as well as the winner of two NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) championships and two NASCAR Sportsman (now Nationwide) titles but his career got off to a rocky start.
Jarrett and his brother-in-law, John Lentz, entered into a partnership on a car in 1952 and raced it at the dirt track in Hickory, NC. According to Jarrett’s father, Ned could work on the car but the driving would be left up to Lentz. Jarrett was needed to work at the family sawmill and he didn’t need to be injured driving a race car.
But Jarrett did drive the car and finished tenth. The elder Jarrett was not happy so Ned went back to position of mechanic. One night Lentz was sick and Jarrett, using Lentz’s name, drove the car finishing second. Young Jarrett began winning races. He had found his calling. His father finally found out about the ruse but was impressed with his son’s talent. He realized that driving was what Ned Jarrett was meant to do. Dad said if Ned was going to be a winner, he might as well use his own name and get credit for his victories. That day, the remarkable career of Ned Jarrett (not John Lentz), was born.
And now, the father-son team name continues at the NASCAR Hall of Fame as Dale Jarrett also enters the Hall as an Inductee of the Class of 2014.
We hope all of you dads have a very Happy Father’s Day!