Dale Inman Named 2009 Buddy Shuman Award Winner
Former Champion Crew Chief Receives Top Industry Award For Racing Contributions
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Dec. 3, 2009) -- Dale Inman, among the foremost crew chiefs in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history, collected one of NASCAR's most prestigious and longest-running awards today in Las Vegas.
Inman received the Buddy Shuman Award during the 2009 NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards. Presented since 1957, the award annually recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to NASCAR racing.
It honors the late Buddy Shuman, a pioneering NASCAR driver who died in a hotel fire in November 1955.
"Dale is one of the first crew chiefs I worked for and remains a true trailblazer for that position," said NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton. "He's a major reason and inspiration behind many of the current talented people working in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage."
Inman, Richard Petty's first cousin, was responsible for eight NASCAR Sprint Cup championships -- one more than his famous relative, also a Buddy Shuman Award winner.
The 73-year-old Inman, from Level Cross, N.C., won 298 races. His victory total boasted 27 wins -- and 10 straight -- in 1967.
Inman won NASCAR Sprint Cup titles with Petty in 1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1979. His final championship came with Terry Labonte in 1984.
Petty once described his cousin as the sport's first official crew chief.
Inman and brothers Richard and Maurice Petty began working on father Lee Petty's cars during after-school hours and on weekends in the 1940s and 50s. When the younger Petty began racing, Inman was assigned engine-building duties and later became crew chief for Petty Enterprises. He was responsible for 192 of the team's victories.
From 1986 through Petty's retirement in 1992, Inman handled the business side of Petty Enterprises. Inman worked with the team's drivers in a consulting role until his retirement in 1998.
Away from the track, Inman played an integral role in helping the Petty family launch the Victory Junction Gang Camp which enriches the lives of chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses.