Earnhardt Family Reaction to Dale Earnhardt's Selection Into Inaugural Class of NASCAR Hall of Fame

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (October 14, 2009) - Today the NASCAR Hall of Fame voting panel and nomination committee announced that seven-time NASCAR champion and winner of 76 races, Dale Earnhardt, will be part of the inaugural class of NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees. The first-ever Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be in May 2010. Joining Earnhardt in this elite group is Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr., Junior Johnson, and Richard Petty.

The following is reaction from friends and family members, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., owner of JR Motorsports and driver for Hendrick Motorsports, and Kelley Earnhardt, vice president and general manager of JR Motorsports:

Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Son
"For what my Dad achieved in this sport - both on and off the track - he certainly earned his place in history and deserves to be distinguished in this inaugural class of NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees. I want to thank the voting panel and nomination committee for recognizing that and honoring him this way. It means a lot to the Earnhardt family, and it means a lot to my Dad's fans, which I am one. He was the man, plain and simple."

Kelley Earnhardt / Daughter
"We are extremely honored to see my father chosen as part of the esteemed first class of NASCAR Hall of Fame members, and we want to congratulate the fellow inductees and their families. To be part of the inaugural class is the ultimate honor -- one that is cemented in time and achieved by no other outside of the five members. My father impacted many lives, and I know I speak on behalf of Dale Earnhardt fans everywhere in showing our appreciation that his memory will live forever inside the walls of the NASCAR Hall of Fame."

Martha Earnhardt / Mother
"I am very proud that the new Hall of Fame has chosen to include my son in the first induction. Being honored for his accomplishments is the highest praise of his sacrifices and commitment to NASCAR, which he truly loved. We appreciate the induction committee's time and all its hard work in choosing Dale on this most important list of people. I also want to congratulate the other four inductees."

Cathy Watkins / Sister
"Having the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte is an honor to the sport and our area, and having Dale inducted into this Hall of Fame is an honor to our family and the Earnhardt name. He will never be forgotten, and future generations will know he sacrificed many things for the sport. I want to thank the NASCAR Hall of Fame and all the committee members that helped with him being chosen."

Danny Earnhardt / Brother
"I am proud to have my brother inducted with this elite group into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He dedicated his life to NASCAR, and this honor is a testament to his sacrifice. Thanks to the committee and all the people responsible for making it happen. I want to offer my congratulations to the other inductees as well."

-credit: jrm