Former NASCAR champion driver Dale Jarrett, crew chief and engine builder Waddell Wilson and former Observer motorsports writer Tom Higgins will be inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association’s Hall of Fame in January.
All three were selected on more than 65 percent of the ballots cast by NMPA members to earn induction into the Hall of Fame. Wilson was selected on 70 percent of the ballots. Higgins was selected on 68 percent of the ballots, and Jarrett was selected on 66 percent of the ballots.
“These three men have impacted the sport on the track, in the garage and in the media center. Their contributions are significant," said NMPA President Dustin Long.
Higgins covered NASCAR and other motorsports in a 40-year journalism career, including 34 years at The Observer. He was one of the first reporters to cover NASCAR full time. He received NASCAR’s Award of Excellence in 1996. He also won the NMPA’s George Cunningham Award in 1987.
As a crew chief, Wilson won the Daytona 500 in 1980, ’83 and ’84. His engines powered teams to 109 wins, 123 poles and three Cup championships. Wilson built the first engine to exceed 200 mph with Benny Parsons behind the wheel.
Jarrett, now an ESPN analyst, won the 1999 Cup championship. Among his 32 Cup victories were three Daytona 500s (1993, ’96 and 2000). He and father Ned are the second father-son combination to have each won at least one series title behind only Lee and Richard Petty. Dale Jarrett follows Ned into the NMPA Hall of Fame. Ned Jarrett was inducted in 1973.