MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Retired NASCAR Cup Series champions Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte were formally inducted into the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame on Tuesday, with their sidewalk markers unveiled on Main Street in downtown Mooresville.
A public ceremony was held outside the Charles Mack Citizen Center, with Hall of Fame chief Don Miller heading up the proceedings.
“Both of these men were true competitors on the track, and they are true people off of it,” said Miller. “Terry Labonte was always a tough competitor and cool under pressure, the original ‘Ice Man’ … while Bill Elliott was America’s race car driver and a fan favorite. It’s an honor to welcome both of them into the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame, and we’re proud of their contributions to our sport and our state.”
“We’re proud of what we have here in ‘Race City USA’ and proud of this induction assembly, which continues to grow every year,” added Mooresville Mayor Miles Atkins. “The Hall of Fame and its volunteer staff continue to bring recognition to Mooresville and the community every year, and they continue to make tremendous contributions to the sport of auto racing in North Carolina. This duo are drivers that I enjoyed watching race and they are sorely missed behind the wheel, but their legacies continue to live on throughout the fan base.”
Elliott was inducted by championship crew chief, former car owner and 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Ray Evernham.
The Dawsonville, Ga. native and 1988 Cup champion drove for Evernham from 2001 through 2003, helping to spearhead the return of Dodge to NASCAR’s top level. Together, the pair scored four wins, including the 2002 Brickyard 400 and Elliott’s final NASCAR victory at Rockingham Speedway in November of 2003.
“Stats don’t measure the amount of respect a person has from their peers, and Bill Elliott has more respect than just about anyone I know in the sport,” said Evernham. “Whether you’ve raced against him, or just know him as a friend, that respect factor is as big as a mountain. We respect his talent, his ability, his sportsmanship … and even his humor, once you get to hang out with him. Bill is a great driver, but he’s a great dad, a great husband and a great friend to so many. He’s a great example of what this sport was built on, and it’s an honor to help place him in the Hall of Fame.”
Elliott won the 1988 Cup championship with long-time car owner Harry Melling, scored 44 premier series victories in his career, won two Daytona 500s and set all-time speed records at both Daytona Int’l Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway that still stand today.
He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015.
“Anytime you’re honored with something like this, it’s really special,” Elliott told Race Chaser Online. “Everything you do … you don’t go out in your career saying, ‘I want to be in a Hall of Fame,’ you just go out and race and sometimes these things end up happening. I’m very fortunate to be at an age where I can enjoy it, enjoy the fans and enjoy what I’ve been able to do and accomplish. I’ve met a lot of great people and had a good time doing it.”
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