As Dale Jarrett put it, you could make a good case for any of the 25 NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees on the ballot this year.
That’s why the 1999 Sprint Cup Series champion was surprised to earn induction in his first year of eligibility.
Jarrett has the credentials, though. In addition to 32 Cup victories and his 1999 title, he has three Daytona 500 wins to his credit, and that may have been the tipping point for the voting committee.
"I couldn’t imagine going through that process and trying to pick five out of those 25 and say this is our group," Jarrett said Sunday in the Charlotte Motor Speedway media center. "I’m very honored, but I was… I think ‘shocked’ is a good word, but I thought that, once I got up on the list, it would come one day. But I was ready to accept that would be down the road…
"It’s been fantastic, trying to return calls and text messages and things all week. It’s actually been a lot of fun and gave me a chance to connect with people that I hadn’t talked with in quite a while."