Ernie Irvan helped weld the seats at Lowe's Motor Speedway and then spent several seasons helping to fill them.
Now Irvan will be the next inductee in its Court of Legends, which honors legendary competitors in the sport.
Irvan's induction will be Oct. 6 as a part of pole night activities for the Oct. 10 UAW-GM Quality 500 Winston Cup race at the speedway. He will be the 17th inductee since the Court's inception in 1992 and first since 1997.
Irvan, 40, announced his retirement earlier this month. He was injured in a practice-session wreck at Michigan Speedway in August.
"Ernie's a great example of what imagination, desire and dedication can accomplish," said speedway president Humpy Wheeler.
Irvan journeyed from California in the 1980s to start his racing career. While searching for his first Winston Cup ride, he took a job welding seats at the 1.5-mile superspeedway.
Since then, Irvan excelled in the sport -- particularly in Charlotte. He won the 1993 UAW-GM Quality 500 driving the No. 28 Fords owned by Robert Yates. Irvan had taken over the driving duties following the death of driver Davey Allison.
Aside from the victory, he's had five top-five and nine top-10 finishes at Charlotte. Irvan has posted $1,082,865 in career earnings at the track.
"There are so many people in this area who have helped me in my career," said Irvan, who was presented a row of two seats he welded more than a decade ago. The seats were painted with the words, "Welded by Ernie Irvan."
"It's amazing where you can come from. If you have will power and faith in God, you can do a lot of things," he said. "It's amazing what I've been able to accomplish."
Ironically, Irvan's last race was at Lowe's Motor Speedway. On Aug. 17, Irvan beat Boris Said in two of the three three-lap races at the speedway's 1/4 -mile infield oval on the final night of the Wendy's Summer Shootout series.