Dale Jarrett called it an honor, but a difficult thing to do.
The 1999 NASCAR champion and former driver for Robert Yates read a speech Friday night in Charlotte, which Yates wrote in advance for his 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame induction. It was a speech Yates completed before his passing in October from liver cancer, having heard his name called for the Hall of Fame by Vice Chairman of NASCAR Mike Helton last May.
“A number of reads before I could get through it, as you could imagine,” said Jarrett. “This was someone that we could have spent the entire two hours talking about how special of a man and hard worker Robert Yates was. He’s exactly what this Hall of Fame is about, that type of person that started at the bottom, worked his way to the top, and there’s nobody that’s been as good as him ever in this business.”
Yates was the final member of the 2018 class to be inducted in a poignant moment of the ceremony. When Jarrett read Yates’ words, it was the first time the Yates family had heard the speech.
Below is Yates’ speech, presented at the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony.