On April 11th, NASCAR announced the 25 nominees for the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame Class. The 25 nominees will be broken down to five via the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel and they will become the fourth group to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Along with the voting panel, fans will have the chance to go to NASCAR.com and place their vote, which will be counted in in the final vote. The date for voting is set for May 23rd and the class of 2013 will announced live on NASCAR.com that day.
As for the list, 20 people return from last year’s group as they were not inducted into the Hall of Fame. Added to those 20 were five new people who held their own level of high quality in NASCAR.
NASCAR’s First Treasurer and Secretary Anne Bledsoe France, who was married to Bill France, in which Big Bill formed NASCAR back in 1949. Anne took care of the financial aspects of building the sport, beginning her service to the sport in 1959. She kept working up until her death in 1992. France becomes the first female nominated for the Hall of Fame.
Engine Builder and owner Ray Fox built engines for a variety of race winners including Fireball Roberts and Junior Johnson. He built his first engine in 1955, which was for Roberts, but was disqualified after mechanic Red Vogt modified the push rods. 1956 was the year that Fox began hitting stardom as he built the engines for Carl Kiehafer, winning 22 of the first 26 races with three drivers. They would go on to win the championship that year with Buddy Baker. Fox would become a car owner himself in 1962, winning races with Johnson and Baker. He would retire in the early 1970s, yet became a NASCAR engine inspector in 1990. He held that role for six years before retiring at the age of 86.
NASCAR Competitor Wendell Scott, who became the first full-time African-American competitor. Scott made his first NASCAR start in 1961 at Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds, but failed to finish due to oil pressure issues. He would become the first African-American to win a NASCAR race in 1964 at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida. Over the course of a career that saw 495 starts, he had 20 top five finishes and 147 top 10s. NASCAR currently awards scholarships in tribute to Scott, handing out twelve each year to students from historically black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions. Scott becomes the first African-American nominated for the Hall of Fame.
Promotor and Sponsor Executive Ralph Seagraves, who brought R.J. Reynolds Tabacco Company to NASCAR. Junior Johnson went to Seagraves originally looking for sponsorship for his car, yet instead it turned into a sponsorship for NASCAR. NASCAR’s premiere series became the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 1971. Winston would sponsor the Cup Series till the end of 2003, when Nextel took over. Seagraves led as the president of RJR’s Special Events Operations for 13 years, heading the sponsorship effort and leading many track upgrades. Seagraves would retire from R.J. Reynolds in 1986.
NASCAR Champion Rusty Wallace, who won the 1989 NASCA Sprint Cup Series Championship. Wallace followed his father Russ into racing, winning the American Speed Association title in 1983. He made his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start in 1980, driving for Roger Penske. He would not enter NASCAR full-time till 1984,winning Rookie of the Year while driving for Cliff Stewart. In 1986, Wallace would capture his first Cup win at Bristol Motor Speedway while racing for Raymond Beadle. The championship would come in 1989 while driving for Beadle, 12 points over Dale Earnhardt. In total, he would score 55 victories over his career, ranking him eighth all-time. The majority of his wins (25) came on short tracks like Bristol, Martinsville, North Wilkesboro and Richmond. He currently is an ESPN NASCAR analyst.
The rest of the 20 nominees are as follows (in alphabetical order)……
- Buck Baker, first driver to win consecutive NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series titles (1956-57)
- Red Byron, first NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion, in 1949
- Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series
- Jerry Cook, six-time NASCAR Modified champion
- H. Clay Earles, founder of Martinsville Speedway
- Tim Flock, two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
- Rick Hendrick, 13-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series
- Jack Ingram, two-time NASCAR Busch (now Nationwide) Series champion and three-time Late Model Sportsman champion
- Bobby Isaac, 1970 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
- Fred Lorenzen, 26 wins and winner of the Daytona 500 and World 600
- Cotton Owens, driver-owner, won 1966 owner championship with David Pearson
- Raymond Parks, NASCAR’s first champion car owner
- Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
- Les Richter, former NASCAR executive; former president of Riverside International Raceway
- Fireball Roberts, 33 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series wins, including the 1962 Daytona 500
- T. Wayne Robertson, helped raise NASCAR popularity as R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company senior VP
- Herb Thomas, first two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion, 1951, ’53
- Curtis Turner, early personality, called the “Babe Ruth of stock car racing”
- Joe Weatherly, two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
- Leonard Wood, part-owner and former crew chief for Wood Brothers, revolutionized pit stops
The nominees were selected by a 21-person committee, containing representatives from NASCAR, the Hall of Fame and track owners.
Those individuals are…..
NASCAR Hall of Fame: Executive Director Winston Kelley; Historian Buz McKim.
NASCAR Officials: Chairman/CEO Brian France; Vice Chairman Jim France; Senior Vice President Paul Brooks; President Mike Helton; Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton; Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell; Competition Administrator Jerry Cook; former Vice President Ken Clapp.
Track Owners/Operators: International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa Kennedy; Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell; Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage; Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark; former Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George; Dover Motorsports CEO Denis McGlynn; Pocono Raceway board of director member Looie McNally; Bowman Gray Stadium operator Dale Pinilis; Riverhead Raceway operators Jim and Barbara Cromarty (1 vote); former Toyota Speedway at Irwindale operator Jim Williams; Rockford Speedway owner Jody Deery.