Ned Jarrett ( born October 12, 1932 in Newton, North Carolina ) is a retired American race car driver and two-time champion in the NASCAR Grand National Series. He is the father of NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett, who won the championship in 1999 also.
Jarrett was known for his low-key demeanor as " Gentleman Ned Jarrett ", at the same time he was a tough competitor on the racetrack.
Jarrett's connection to the car was built at an early age when his father left him the family car at the age of nine years on Sundays go to church. At the age of 17 years he worked in the sawmill his father, but he really wanted to race.
He drove his first race then in 1952 on the Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina. He drove a Ford Sportsman, which he owned with his brother, and finished the race in tenth. His father did not like this development, and he told him that he indeed working on cars, but should not take this. Jarrett used in the further course the chance when his brother was sick and went under his name in a race that he finished as runner-up. Due to the success, he took up with another race until he was caught by his father when he won one. His father told him then that if he ever goes racing, he should take up at least under his own name.
His first real NASCAR race drove Jarrett at the Southern 500 of the 1953 season at the Darlington Raceway, after he was able to complete any round in Hickory before. Also, the Southern 500 was not very successful, as after ten rounds a Oil leak in the engine of his Oldsmobile forced him to give up. In the 1955 season he was on the other hand distance champion in Hickory.
In the Sportsman Series, the Nationwide Series later Jarrett finished second in the 1956 season in second place in the championship and won it in the following two seasons in 1957 and 1958.
From the season 1959 Jarrett pursued a career in the Grand National Series. He bought a Ford Junior Johnson for $ 2,000. Since he did not have money to cover the check, he waited until bank closing, he exhibited before him, competed in two races he won both, and paid the prize money the car.
In the season 1960 Jarrett won five races and finished the championship in fifth place. In the following season, he won only one race, but secured the championship before Rex White. In the 46 races in which he competed, he was crossing the finish line 34 times in the Top 10, including 23 times in the top fifth
After Jarrett finished the 1962 season in third place and the season in 1963 as the fourth in the Championship, he switched to the season 1964 the team of Bondy Long, which was supported by Ford. This season, he won 15 races, including his first victory on a Super Speedway at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, Richard Petty in the championship but had to admit defeat.
With 13 wins, he secured the following season in 1965 for the second time the championship. Yet his victory at the Southern 500 in Darlington should go down in history. 44 laps from the finish fought Fred Lorenzen and Darel Dieringer with considerable lead over Jarrett to the lead when both problems were with the engine. Lorenzen failed and Dieringer was able to reach the target with slower driving in third place. Jarrett, however, won the race with a lead of 14 laps, which is the biggest advantage of a winner in history.
In the season 1966 Ford announced that it will withdraw from NASCAR. Jarrett then decided to withdraw at the age of 34 years. He is the only driver who has resigned as the reigning champion.
After Jarrett had resigned from active racing, he worked as a broker before he was to return as a commentator.
In the early 1960s, Jarrett produced a radio program of a local TV station in Newton, North Carolina. His mission was supported by local sponsors, including Earl Holder, the owner of the station who asked him a recording studio on favorable terms available. Since he also happen to be needed to go racing, he frequently made several shows on at once.
In 1978, he was a commentator on radio station MRN Radio. In this capacity, he interviewed, among others, the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, live at the Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway in 1984, the race in which Richard Petty scored his 200th victory.
Jarrett was also a television commentator for CBS, ESPN and Fox Sports Net.