Birthday: August 19, 1936
Hometown: Level Cross, N.C.
Dale Inman, from Level Cross, North Carolina., Richard Petty’s crew chief at Petty
Enterprises for nearly three decades, set records for most wins (193) and championships (eight) by a crew chief.
Inman won seven of those championships with inaugural Hall Of Fame Inductee Petty (1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, and 1979), and another one in 1984 with Terry Labonte.
Inman grew up playing with his first cousins, Lee’s sons – Richard and Maurice Petty. Richard started racing in the late 1950′s with Maurice and Inman as part of his pit crew, as they were too young to be his crew chief. As time went on, Maurice and Inman had become NASCAR mechanics. Maurice had been the mechanic and crew chief at the races. Petty Enterprises had him start concentrating on engine building for the team, and Inman became the crew chief at the races.
Petty described him as the sport’s first official crew chief.
Credited with revolutionizing the crew chief position, Inman’s standout year was 1967. That season, Inman and Petty won a NASCAR record 27 races – 10 of them consecutively. All 27 victories were in the same car they built a year earlier.
After Petty won his seventh Daytona 500 in 1981, Inman surprised everyone by resigning from Petty Enterprises. He went to Rod Osterlund’s team that was fielding cars for 1980 NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt. In 1983, Inman moved to Billy Hagen’s racing team where Terry Labonte was behind the wheel. One year later, Inman guided Labonte to his first NASCAR Winston Cup championship. In 1986, after five years of wearing a different uniform and working in another pit, Inman returned to his roots at Petty Enterprises. Inman worked with drivers Rick Wilson, John Andretti, and Bobby Hamilton until he retired, officially, from NASCAR in 1998.
In 2008, Inman helped unveil the first artifact at the NASCAR Hall of Fame – the Plymouth Belvedere that Petty drove to 27 wins in 1967.
His contributions to racing led to him receiving the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame’s first Golden Wrench Award in 2000. In 2008, he received the Smokey Yunick Award.
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Today, Inman enjoys working around his North Carolina home with his wife of more than 40 years, Mary. They have two children, Tina Dale Hussy and Jeffrey Inman, as well as two grandchildren, Taylor and Logan Hussy.
Dale Inman was elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame on June 14th, 2011 with Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Richie Evans and Glen Wood. The induction ceremony will take place Friday, Jan. 20, 2012 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame located in Charlotte, NC.
Sources: NASCARMedia, Google, Wikipedia