HEY KYLE, YOU DON’T KNOW JACK
Dale Wilkerson July 2011
Kyle Busch picked up another Nationwide Series win at Loudon, New Hampshire last Saturday afternoon. This victory ties Busch with Mark Martin at 49 wins combined across the former Busch Series and the current Nationwide Series.
Yes Kyle Busch has tied the mark set by Martin, but Kyle, you don’t know Jack…
That would be ‘Ironman’ Jack Ingram, a longtime competitor and five time champion of the NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Series (3) and the Busch Series (2) which was the predecessor of the Nationwide Series.
A couple of weeks ago, as Greg Moore, Ronnie Black and I began Droppin’ the Hammer with Jack Ingram as our first guest of the day, I went straight to the source to get the true number of race wins from the man that dominated the series.
With my first question, I asked Ingram how many wins he had during his career and he answered quickly. “317. Of those 77 were national events. We took the team to as many races as we could. The guys worked hard and I drove hard.”
When the Late Model Series became the Busch Series for the 1982 season, the records from 1981 back just seemed to have been erased. There is still an official list of former champions of the Late Model Series. Drivers like Ned Jarrett, Ralph Earnhardt, Billy Myers, Morgan Sheppard, L D Ottinger, Tommy Ellis, Red Farmer, Gene Glover, Butch Lindley and Pete Hamilton are just a few of the men who were crowned series champion but finding their win count is near impossible.
Jack Ingram, being a very detailed business man, maintained his own records over the years. “I have my own records right in my desk, I know where I won each of my races,” Ingram said on Droppin’ the Hammer.
Kyle Busch winning 100 races across the top three levels of NASCAR, the Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Trucks Series, is quite an accomplishment, especially at his young age, but he still has a lot of ground to make up to contend of Jack Ingram.
As for Ingram’s career win totals, he could have added to that total. Over his career, he gave up several starts at the request of track promoters in order to allow one of the big name drivers from what is now the Sprint Cup Series to compete in the Sportsman division.
“The track owners would ask me to put a driver from the big series in my car from time to time. I remember once when Junior Johnson was going to drive my car at the Asheville Speedway. He called me and said we would need a lot of tires so I should meet him at Bristol to get tires while the Cup series race was in town. Junior arranged for me to get a pickup load of tires and he won the race at Asheville. We were also set for tires for several weeks as well,” said Ingram.
Kyle Busch has put other drivers in his cars and trucks as well. Earlier this year, Kasey Kahne picked up a Camping World Truck Series win at the Darlington Raceway while driving a truck prepared by the Kyle Busch Motorsports team. And jokes and complaints aside, Kyle Busch is a racer. He left the Kentucky Motor Speedway after winning two of the three NASCAR events two weeks ago and travelled to Wisconsin where he scored a super late model stock car win at Slinger Speedway in the Miller-Lite Nationals 200.
Jack Ingram presently has a car in the NASCAR Hall of Fame as a part of the ‘Glory Road’ display, and he should be among the next to be enshrined perhaps as early as the Class of 2013. 317 total wins is an incredible mark.
Could Kyle Busch break this record? Perhaps; if he can maintain his current torrid pace of wins, he will have 300 across the board by age 40. But a combined group of 119 drivers will be doing their absolute best to make sure they are not Busch-whacked anymore, and see if they can keep ‘Rowdy’ from accomplishing this lofty goal.