The King Vs. Gentleman Ned
About The Author: Don Smyle is the owner of Smyle Media & Marketing, a motorsports consulting, licensing and media development company. Don currently manages a photo database featuring more than 200,000 classic racing images from every level of motorsports, including NASCAR, Indy car, Formula One and drag racing. Learn more about Don Smyle and Smyle Media & Marketing by visiting www.smylemedia.com.
With a nickname like “Gentlemen Ned” one would never expect to see another driver so angry at him that he would want to resort to violence. But that’s exactly what happened at New Asheville Speedway in July of 1963.
Driving for team owner Bondy Long, Ned Jarrett’s No. 11 had already taken the checkered flag four times during the 1963 season. As the circuit headed to the New Asheville Speedway Jarrett found himself battling for the point lead with Richard Petty. Despite a starting field of only 20 cars the fans were treated to an event which featured some of the sport’s biggest stars including David Pearson, Junior Johnson and Buck Baker.
Jarrett found himself out front with 40 laps to go when he limped to the pits to replace a cut tire. The unscheduled stop cost Jarrett a lap. He quickly drove through the field and made up the lap. He now had one thing on his mind, running down race leader Richard Petty.
“I didn’t look for a whole lot of room to get by him, this was a payback at Asheville,” Jarrett said without hesitation. “We were battling for the lead when I got taken out at Bowman Gray Stadium and that’s the way I wanted it to be when I paid it back.”
“(Petty) had, I thought, done me wrong at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem and put me out of the race. I thought it could’ve been helped, and I carried that for over a year. I might have made a threat at that time that maybe I’d get him back, but then it just died down. Everybody, even my crew, thought it was all over.”