Rex White didn’t expect his life to change very much after he was named to the 2015 induction class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
But White quickly discovered that wasn’t going to be the case.
“Everything’s changed – nothing’s normal,” White said during a press conference before the start of Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“It’s unbelievable how my popularity increased. The fan mail has been unbelievable. I get quite a bit of mail from Germany now. I get mail from Afghanistan, the soldiers wanting autographs and pictures. A lot more people want to talk to me for some reason.”
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White, the 1960 NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) champion, was one of five drivers named to the Hall of Fame’s 2015 class in May, joining Bill Elliott, Fred Lorenzen, and the late Wendell Scott and Joe Weatherly. All five will be inducted into the Hall in January.
Both White and Elliott, along with members of Lorenzen’s, Scott’s and Weatherly’s families, were honored during the Bank of America 500’s ceremonies.
In addition to his championship, White won 28 Grand National races, 36 poles and finished in the top 10 in 163 races between 1956-1964 before he stepped away from the sport at age 35.
“I didn’t have the money to sponsor a car – it’s very simple,” said White, who had NASCAR career earnings of $233,511. “I went to work for a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership in Forest Park, Ga., and started making more money than I did racing. I just never got back in it.”
White still follows the sport – his favorite driver is rookie Kyle Larson, he was a fan of Mark Martin before he retired, and likes what Chase Elliott is doing – but has an old-school attitude about how the series champion should be determined.
“I still like the old system, but maybe that’s normal,” White said. “But right now, (the Chase for the Sprint Cup is) so close and so tough, I can’t stand it.”