A look at this year’s Hall of Fame nominees

On Wednesday, members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel will gather in the Charlotte Convention Center to determine the five inductees who will make up the class of 2019.

Official announcement of the five is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)

Here’s a rundown of the 20 nominees, and five that will be considered for the annual Landmark Award (listed alphabetically):

DAVEY ALLISON: Given his popularity, Allison likely gets the fan vote, which accounts for one overall vote. The son of 1983 premier series champ Bobby Allison, Davey won 19 times and among the victories were wins in the Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600. No premier series championships but finished third in points twice. His death at just 32 left a huge void in the series.

BUDDY BAKER: Similarities between Baker and Allison are noteworthy – both won 19 races, both were the son of a former series champion, both were hugely popular during their careers. Baker was larger than life and never approached a race with any intention other than going all out for as long as the car would last. List of wins includes victories in Daytona 500, World 600 and Southern 500. Enjoyed successful broadcast career after driving career ended.

RED FARMER: One of the original members of the Alabama Gang, Farmer won hundreds of races in lower-tier series. He captured NASCAR Late Model Sportsman titles in 1969, ’70 and ’71 as well as a Modified crown in 1956.

RAY FOX: Noted mechanic, engine builder and car owner, Fox worked alongside some of the sports legendary figures, including Junior Johnson, David Pearson, Buck Baker, Cale Yarborough and Fred Lorenzen. Credited with 14 premier series wins as an owner.

HARRY GANT: One of the more popular figures in the premier series during a 16-year career (full-time), Gant won 18 times and finished seventh or better in points eight times. Nicknamed Mr. September after winning four consecutive races in 1991. A 21-race winner in what is now the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

JOE GIBBS: The only team owner who can claim championships in NASCAR’s premier series and the NFL. Gibbs won Super Bowls as head coach of the Washington Redskins before becoming a NASCAR owner. His Joe Gibbs Racing organization has flourished, winning titles with drivers Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart (2) and Kyle Busch. Currently boasts 151 total wins in Cup and 145 in the Xfinity Series.

JEFF GORDON: If there’s one slam dunk for the Class of 2019, it’s Gordon. The four-time series champion ended his career with 93 victories, third behind Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105). He helped push the sport out of its southern shadows and into the mainstream in both business and entertainment. Won Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600, Southern 500 and Brickyard 400 titles.

JOHN HOLMAN: One half of the legendary Holman-Moody racing operation that won championships with David Pearson (1968-69) and 96 races with some of racing’s biggest figures. In addition to Pearson, Curtis Turner, Fred Lorenzen, Mario Andretti and Bobby Allison put Holman-Moody cars in the winner’s circle.

HARRY HYDE: For more than three decades, Hyde helped a half-dozen drivers enjoy success in the top series as a crew chief. Thirty-six of his 55 victories came with Bobby Isaac with whom he won the championship in 1971. Buddy Baker (3), Dave Marcis (4), Neil Bonnett (2), Geoff Bodine (3) and Tim Richmond (7) also won with Hyde calling the shots. The character Harry Hogge in the movie “Days of Thunder” was modeled after Hyde.

ALAN KULWICKI: His numbers might not be off the chart, but it’s what Kulwicki was able to do with limited resources that makes the Wisconsin native stand out. Kulwicki was the last “independent” owner/driver to win a championship and his success led to a quick rise in owner/driver entries. He had five career wins at the time of his death in an airplane crash in 1993.

BOBBY LABONTE: The younger brother of two-time series champion and Hall of Fame member Terry Labonte, Bobby won championships in both the Xfinity and Cup series. His 21 Cup victories included wins in the Coca-Cola 600 and Southern 500. Labonte also won 10 times in the Xfinity Series and once in the Camping World Truck Series.

HERSHEL MCGRIFF: He’s 90 years old and made a start in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West earlier this year. It might have been mostly ceremonial in nature but McGriff is certainly deserving of accolades. McGriff competed in the inaugural Southern 500, held in 1950 and went on to score four wins in the premier series in 87 career starts. He won 34 times in the K&N Series as well.

RALPH MOODY: Moody was a racer before he joined forces with John Holman, earning five wins in 47 career starts. But he’s perhaps best known as helping engineer Holman-Moody to the top of NASCAR’s premier series in the 1960s. Moody was the racing half of the outfit while Holman oversaw the business end of the operation.

ROGER PENSKE: As an owner, Penske teams have won 105 times at NASCAR’s top level with drivers such as Bobby Allison, Rusty Wallace and 2012 champ Brad Keselowski. As a businessman, his Penske Motorsports Inc. ownership arm held titles to tracks in Nazareth, Pa., Rockingham, N.C., Brooklyn, Mich. and Fontana, Calif., before eventually selling to International Speedway Corp.

LARRY PHILLIPS: Considered one of the best all-around short track racers by many who saw him and most who raced against him, Phillips won five NASCAR Weekly Series national titles. According to NASCAR records, the Springfield, Mo. native won 220 of 289 NASCAR-sanctioned races between 1989-1996.

JACK ROUSH: An innovator as well as a team owner, Roush helped design and create the roof flaps used to keep NASCAR entries from becoming airborne today. As an owner, his drivers have won 137 times in the premier series, 137 in the Xfinity Series and 50 in the Camping World Truck Series. Twice they have won titles in Cup, while Roush Fenway teams have four Xfinity and one Camping World Trucks Series championships.

RICKY RUDD: One of the sport’s Iron Men, Rudd compiled an impressive 788-race consecutive starts list between 1981-2005. Along the way, he scored 23 victories in the premier series, including nine as owner/driver. A talented, all-around driver, Rudd was competitive and won on a variety of circuits, from road courses to short tracks to the bigger speedways.

KIRK SHELMERDINE: Got his start as crew chief with James Hylton in 1977 before moving to Richard Childress Racing in1980 and being paired with the owner/driver. Earned two wins as crew chief with Ricky Rudd at RCR in 1983 before beginning an incredible run with Earnhardt that saw the No. 3 team win 44 races and four championships. Made 41 combined starts as a driver in Cup, Xfinity and Truck series.

MIKE STEFANIK: A native of Coventry, Rhode Island, Stefanik is one of racing’s legendary Modified competitors. His seven championships are a Whelen Modified Series record as are his numbers for wins (74) and top-five finishes. In fact, just about any worthwhile record in the series is held by Stefanik. In addition, he is a two-time champion in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.

WADDELL WILSON: Few people could build an engine any more powerful, or durable, than Wilson. David Pearson’s titles in 1968-69 came with Wilson power as did Benny Parson’s in ’73. He is credited with 109 wins and 123 poles as an engine builder. Wilson was also a successful crew chief, winning nearly two dozen times with such drivers as Buddy Baker, Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough.

LANDMARK AWARD
(Presented in recognition of outstanding contributions to NASCAR)

Janet Guthrie – Groundbreaking female competitor who made 33 starts in NASCAR’s top series.

Barney Hall – The voice of the Motor Racing Network, Hall enjoyed a decades long tenure behind the microphone and called some of the most memorable finishes in NASCAR’s long history. The annual Squier-Hall Award, which celebrates media excellence, is named after Hall and fellow announcer Ken Squier.

Alvin Hawkins: NASCAR’s first flagman and one of Bill France Sr.’s right-hand men in the early days of NASCAR. Helped promote racing across the Carolinas and operated Bowman-Gray Stadium, which continues to host NASCAR weekly programs.

Jim Hunter: A former sportswriter, Hunter worked his way up to track president of Darlington Raceway before leaving that post to help oversee NASCAR’s media and marketing group.

Ralph Seagraves: The man behind the push to bring NASCAR and sponsor RJ Reynolds together in the early 1970s. Seagraves knew what NASCAR needed in terms of publicity and helped guide the sanctioning body into a much broader spotlight.

My Picks:
Hall of Fame: Gordon, Baker, Kulwicki, Roush, Wilson
Landmark: Ralph Seagraves

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *