Dale Jarrett had no idea he and his family would have a double reason to celebrate.
Dressed in a blue checkered shirt, white pants and white sneakers, Jarretts primary focus was getting to a party for his son Zach, who will graduate Thursday night from Hickory High.
First, Jarrett needed to attend the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2014 announcement ceremony Wednesday in uptown Charlotte, where he was one of 25 nominees.
Jarrett would be late for his sons party: he had obligations to meet after he was named as one of the five newest members to the Hall.
Jarrett was joined by drivers Tim Flock, Jack Ingram and Fireball Robert and engine builder Maurice Petty in NASCARs fifth Hall of Fame class.
They will be inducted Jan. 29, 2014, at the Hall, where Jarrett said he received one of the shocks of his life Wednesday.
I am very much surprised this happened on the first ballot, said Jarrett, who won 32 races on NASCARs top circuit, including the 1999 championship and three Daytona 500s. You dont start a profession with any ideas that youre going to achieve the kind of success that will have you in a Hall of Fame or be recognized.
This is just a huge added bonus after having the opportunity, honor and privilege to compete in NASCAR.
Jarrett joins his father Ned as the second father-son combination in the Hall with Cup championships, joining Richard and Lee Petty.
Maurice Petty Lees son and Richards younger brother is the first primary engine-builder to be elected to the Hall, helping Petty Enterprises to seven Cup titles and his brother to 200 victories. Another member of the family, cousin and crew chief Dale Inman, was a member of the Halls 2012 class.
Roberts, one of the sports most popular drivers who died from injuries suffered in a 1964 crash during the World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, won 33 races on NASCARs top series, including the 1962 Daytona 500.
Ingram, a native of Asheville, might be the sports greatest short-track driver. He won consecutive Late Model Sportsman titles in 1972-74, then won NASCARs first championship in what now is the Nationwide Series in 1982.
Flock, who died during 1998, won two championships on NASCARs top circuit, but he perhaps was best known for the small rhesus monkey named Jocko who rode with him in his car for a portion of one season.
Flock was the largest vote getter (76 percent) from a 54-member panel (with another coming from a fans vote). Flock was followed by Petty (67 percent), Jarrett (56 percent), Ingram (53 percent) and Roberts (51 percent).
Finishing sixth through eighth were drivers Jerry Cook, Joe Weatherly and Wendell Scott. The fans vote, in alphabetical order, was: Team owner Richard Childress, team owner Rick Hendrick, Jarrett, driver Benny Parsons and Roberts.
Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith, nominated for the first time, will join the others not voted in as nominees next year.
The first four NASCAR Hall of Fame classes
2010: Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Junior Johnson, Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr.
2011: David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Bud Moore, Ned Jarrett, Lee Petty.
2012: Cale Yarborough, Glen Wood, Richie Evans, Dale Inman, Darrell Waltrip.
2013: Buck Baker, Cotton Owens, Rusty Wallace, Leonard Wood, Herb Thomas.