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Mobil 1 Auto Tech: Racing still unites fathers, sons

June 13, 2014, Steve Post, special for,

The lure of automobiles, and the work done on them, a constant for Jarretts

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Since its invention in the late 1800s, the automobile, with its ever-changing and innovative technology, has captured the imagination and passion of fathers and sons everywhere.

Spending some quality time with dad in the family garage being under the hood of a favorite car holds fond memories for many.

That is certainly the case with Ned and Dale Jarrett: both NASCAR champions and one of the three father-son combinations inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

"The automobile is a tool that dads and sons use to bond their relationships," said Ned, the patriarch of the Jarrett family. "It's something they will be involved with all of their lives. The more they learn about them helps nurture their relationship with each other."

Ned Jarrett was the 1961 and 1965 premier series champion and earned 50 wins in his career. His passion comes from his own father, and it was passed down to his son Dale.

"I was fortunate to grow up on a farm and worked at a saw mill," continued Ned. "My dad had a truck and the first thing I ever drove was a truck. When Dale and our other children came along, they wanted to be involved with vehicles. Of course, they had seen their dad drive on the race track. It just seemed like something that drew us together and kept us together."

Dale followed his father's footsteps. He was the 1999 premier series champion and winner of 32 races.

"It was that special thing that we had," recounted Dale. "I think that families learning about the automobile, how do drive it and what makes it work is something you take through your entire life. It's something you can always discuss as you become more familiar with it and as your style and tastes change."

While the automobile serves as a bond between fathers and sons, racing cars takes that bond to a different level.

"One thing that has made NASCAR racing so popular is the fact that we all drive an automobile," Dale said. "And probably for most people we have driven one too fast at times, you know trying to be Dale Earnhardt or Richard Petty or Ned Jarrett. So, everyone can identify with it.

"Everybody doesn't get the opportunity to play football, basketball, baseball or golf, so you really can't talk about that. The automobile is a big part of our lives in so many ways and is a big part about what has made NASCAR racing so big for so many years."

Learning about race car technology has been the big bonding tool for the Jarretts over the years.

"One thing I tried to impress upon Dale was to learn as much about the racecar as he could," remembered Ned. "He needed to know what made that car tick to help him get that feel under him to get maximum performance on the race track."

With Father's Day on Sunday, that relationship is cherished by both.

"I was fortunate that I didn't have to look far to find a hero," Dale said. "My hero was right there in front of me."

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