NASCAR Hall of Fame ceremonies often get emotional, as the entire sport reflects on the achievements of legendary drivers and team owners. But there wasn’t a dry eye in the room after one particular speech during the class of 2018 induction ceremony.
Dale Jarrett caused attendees young and old to break down Friday when he delivered the touching acceptance speech left behind by late team owner Robert Yates. Yates wrote the message while he was battling cancer, before he ultimately died in October at 74.
Although Jarrett — who won the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (then Winston Cup Series) championship and Daytona 500 while driving for Yates — felt privileged to narrate the engine builder’s last words, he told NBC Sports it also made him sad that he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014, rather than Yates.
“It was an honor for the Yates family to ask me to do that and to be a part,” Jarrett said. “It was a very difficult thing to do. (It took) a number of reads before I could get through it, as you could imagine.”
The fact that the tribute brought not only titans of the automotive industry such as Edsel Ford to tears, but also fierce competitors, including Brad Keselowski, says a lot about what Yates meant to the sport.
Thumbnail photo via NASCAR
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