Where are they now? – Jack Ingram

NASCAR Hall of Famer looks back on successful NASCAR career with pride.

Where are they now? – Jack Ingram
Brian France (L), CEO and Chairman of NASCAR, puts the Hall of Fame jacket on inductee Jack Ingram
Jack Ingram
Jack Ingram
Former NASCAR Busch Series drivers Tommy Houston, Chuck Brown and Jack Ingram speak during a press conference for the 25th Anniversary of the NASCAR Busch Series
Jack Ingram is congratulated after being nominated
2014 inductee Jack Ingram

If you were a fan of stock car racing back in the 1980’s there was one driver known by his nickname who came along before other well-known drivers from the decade such as ‘The Intimidator’ or ‘Awesome Bill from Dawsonville’ and that was the ‘Ironman’ Jack Ingram.

Ingram was the first full-time driver from what was known as the NASCAR Busch Series to gain induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014 after a stellar career that saw him score two series championships in 1982 & 1985.

The Asheville, North Carolina native also finished in the top-10 in the final points standings for eight consecutive seasons between the inaugural season in 1982 through 1989.

Motorsport.com recently caught up with Ingram at his race shop in Asheville to get a glimpse of what the hall of famer is doing these days.

Building his legacy

Ingram was already a legend at short tracks throughout the Carolinas and eastern United States by the time NASCAR decided to start the series that is now known as the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 1982.

The series evolved from the Late Model Sportsman Division that operated from 1968-1981.

Ingram won three straight championships between 1972-74 in that division. It was during this period the name ‘Ironman’ was born.

“Back in those days you had to race several times a week all over the place if you wanted to win a championship,” said Ingram. “One weekend over Labor Day in 1973 I raced in six races over five days five states. I raced over 1,750 laps over that period and won four of those races. After that people started calling me the Ironman.”

His journey began on a Thursday winning a 100-lap race in Columbia, S.C. He then drove to Beltville, Maryland for a race on Friday also winning that 250-lap race. The closest he got to home was on Saturday winning a 300-lap feature at Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coeburn, Virginia.

Ingram next competed in Maryville, Tennessee winning again in another 300-lap event on Sunday afternoon before flying to St. Paul, Minnesota for a 500-lap race on Monday afternoon coming home fifth.

Ingram caught a plane and made it to Nashville, where he race later that night finishing fourth in a race he almost missed.

“I had to fly commercial back then and barely made it to the airport in time for my flight to Nashville,” Ingram said. “I was the very last person to get on the plane and when I got to Nashville, I changed into my driver’s uniform in the back of a cab on the way to the race track.”

Ingram was an Ironman especially during that 1973 season. He competed in 83 points races that season, winning 35 of those along the way.

Coming to Daytona with a dream

Ingram competed in a Late Model race at Daytona International Speedway in 1975 with just himself and one crew member working on the car. Ingram was able to team up with another future NASCAR Hall of Fame driver, Junior Johnson, who served as his crew chief. 

“I built a car and took it to Daytona in 1975, sat on the pole and went on to win that race,” said Ingram. “Junior Johnson volunteered to be my crew chief because you had to have one to run the race.”


Johnson’s influence and relationship with NASCAR also paid dividend during the event when Ingram thought he was going to be black flagged.

“I had a hole in the top of my windshield and NASCAR wanted to black-flag me,” Ingram added. Junior talked the officials out of it and said he would fix it. He put some tape over it and we went on to win the race.”

While 31 of Ingram’s 33 wins in the NASCAR Busch Series came on short tracks, he’ll never forget his win in 1975 at Daytona.

“That was a great feeling to be in Victory Lane in Daytona,” he said. “To win with just me and one other person working on the car and Junior there too, that was a great day.”

Helping start a new NASCAR division

Ingram joined a now famous group of Late Model Sportsman drivers who began competing in the then Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Division in 1982. Ingram picked up where he left off winning seven races with 23 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes in 29 races.

The shorter schedule was something that Ingram adjusted to quickly after running nearly triple that many races before in the old format.

“Man running that series felt like a vacation compared to what we had to do before to win a championship,” Ingram said. “I looked forward to that series because I had already won nearly half of the races I’d ever run at the tracks on the schedule that first year.”

All of Ingram’s wins that first season came on short tracks, highlighted by three at Hickory Motor Speedway and one at his home track – Asheville Motor Speedway. 

He also scored wins at Bristol Motor Speedway, Langley Speedway and Caraway Speedway in 1982.

Tough competition in the early 1980’s

Many of NASCAR’s best short track drivers in the country came south to participate in the NASCAR Busch Series as the schedule featured mostly short tracks during that time.

Ingram was pilling up the wins, but he was also facing some tough competition with the likes of Sam Ard, Tommy Ellis, Tommy Houston and Ronnie Silver – just to name a few.

In fact, it was Ard who kept Ingram from winning a second consecutive title in 1983 edging him by 87 points to win the second championship in the history of the series.

“Sam was a tough competitor and raced me hard all the time,” said Ingram. 

Ard would also win in 1984 with Ingram second again before Ingram won his second series title in 1985.

Ingram also didn’t let age slow him down. He won 31 races and both of his titles between the ages of 45-50.

“I didn’t start racing until I was in my mid 20’s and most people didn’t even start racing until they were 21 or older,” Ingram added.

Highly successful career

When Ingram retired from full-time driving in 1991, he held the record as the winningest driver in the history of the Busch (now known as Xfinity) Series. He still remains in the top five in all-time wins to this day.

Ingram continued to race at local short tracks for another 12-15 years before stepping back and helping younger drivers at short tracks.

Ingram finished his career with 31 wins, 122 top-five and 164 top-10 finishes in 275 starts.

He also finished in the top four in the final standings every year between 1982 and 1987.

His success later landed him the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 1997 and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007, in addition to his NASCAR honor in 2014.  

Thank you to the fans

Ingram still has legions of fans and he’s reminded daily how much they appreciated his NASCAR career.

“I still get this every day at my race shop from fans,” said Ingram holding his hand full of cards and letters from race fans. “The fans we’re always real supportive of me and my racing career. They have always been mighty good to me.”

Ingram was so popular that once at a race in Augusta, Ga., in 1965; young kids got together and gave Ingram a trophy. He put the trophy on display at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, where it remains to this day. 

“I still try to go out and make appearances for the NASCAR Hall of Fame and also try to go anywhere someone wants me to go if I can,” said Ingram. “Some I get paid for and some I don’t but I still love seeing the fans.”

Driving Accomplishments

Race Starts: 294 (275 NASCAR Xfinity Series, 19 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series)
 5 NXS
Race Wins:
 31 NXS 
Key Accomplishments:
 1972-73-74 NASCAR Late Model Sportsman national champion; 1982 & 1985 NASCAR Busch Series champion
Honors: 1982 NASCAR Busch Grand National Most Popular Driver; Inducted in to the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 1997; the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007; and NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014.

Mixed results for Canadian drivers at Daytona

Previous article

Mixed results for Canadian drivers at Daytona

Next article

Monster Energy reflects on "unbelievable" Daytona 500

Monster Energy reflects on "unbelievable" Daytona 500
Load comments
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Prime

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organization - which underlines his enduring value

Aug 31, 2021
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

Nov 18, 2020