|credit: NASCAR Media|
2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Cook has been both a competitor and a competition administrator in NASCAR – a dual career that has spanned six decades. Cook and fellow 2016 inductees Bobby Isaac, O. Bruton Smith, Terry Labonte and Curtis Turner will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016. Here are the Fast Facts on one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR’s oldest division.
- Jerry Cook was born June 20, 1943 in Lockport, NY, but his family moved to Rome, NY early on in his life. He built his first Modified and became a car owner at age 13, eventually settling in behind the wheel himself in 1963.
- Cook raced Modifieds and later Late Models on both asphalt and dirt, often racing nearly 100 races at more than a dozen tracks during a normal season. He went on to become a six-time NASCAR Modified champion (1971-1972 and 1974-1977). Cook also raced three times in the Syracuse 200 Big-Block Modified event at the New York State Fairgrounds, earning a career-best finish of second in 1972 to Buzzie Reutimann.
- Cook’s chief rival during his racing career was another resident of Rome, Richie Evans, who broke up Cook’s championship reign in 1973 and went on to win eight straight Modified titles from 1978-1985.
- Cook retired as a driver in 1982 after winning the track championship at Spencer (NY) Speedway and began working for NASCAR, where he was instrumental in developing what is today the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Cook took home 342 checkered flags in his career.
- In addition to being named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998 and a NASCAR Hall of Famer for 2016, Cook is a member of three other Halls of Fame: the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 1989, the New York State Stock Car Association Hall of Fame in 1993 and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2009. He was named also the No. 3 driver on the NASCAR Modified All-time Top 10 list.
- Learn more about the NASCAR Hall of Fame at www.nascarhall.com.