Stewart one of six new Hall nominees

Three-time NASCAR premier series champion Tony Stewart is one of six new nominees to be considered for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame for 2020.

Stewart won titles in 2002, ’05 while competing for Joe Gibbs Racing. He added a third championship, in 2011, while competing as an owner/driver with Stewart-Haas Racing.

The Columbus, Ind., native retired from NASCAR competition following the 2016 season although he continues to race in sprint cars. He won 49 Monster Energy Cup Series races, 11 Xfinity Series races and two Gander Outdoors Truck Series races.

Twenty nominees were announced Wednesday from which five will be selected for induction. Joining Stewart as first-time nominees are drivers Sam Ard, Neil Bonnett, Jim Paschal, Marvin Panch and mechanic Red Vogt.

Ard won back-to-back Busch (now Xfinity) Series championships in 1983-84, capturing 18 of his 22 career wins along the way. His career was cut short due to injury after only 92 starts in the series.

Neil Bonnett enjoyed a successful career behind the wheel and in the television booth where he worked as an analyst for TNN during the cable network’s coverage of NASCAR.

A member of the Alabama Gang, Bonnett won 18 times in Cup and finished a career-best second in the standings in 1985. He was killed in a crash during practice for the 1994 Daytona 500.

Paschal earned 25 wins, including nine with Petty Enterprises, in a career that spanned more than two decades. Paschal competed in the very first NASCAR Strictly Stock race, held at Charlotte (N.C.) Speedway in June, 1949.

Marvin Panch, a native of Oakland, Calif., won 17 times and had 95 top-five finishes in 216 career starts in NASCAR’s top series. He won the 1961 Daytona 500 while driving for noted owner/mechanic Smokey Yunick; the bulk of his wins, eight, came while driving for the Wood Brothers.

Vogt was one of NASCAR’s first crew chief/mechanics, preparing entries for owner Raymond Parks and winning with drivers Red Byron, Fonty Flock, Slick Smith and Fireball Roberts.

The six join returning nominees Buddy Baker, Red Farmer, Ray Fox, Harry Gant, Joe Gibbs, John Holman, Harry Hyde, Bobby Labonte, Hershel McGriff, Ralph Moody, Larry Phillips, Ricky Rudd, Mike Stafanik and Waddell Wilson.

Dropped from the list of nominees is championship-winning crew chief Kirk Shelmerdine.

Returning Nominees for the Landmark Award, presented for outstanding contributions to NASCAR, are Alvin Hawkins and Ralph Seagraves; new on the list are Edsel Ford II, Mike Helton and Dr. Joe Mattioli.

Two former nominees, Barney Hall and Janet Guthrie, are not on the 2020 list.

The five inductees for the Class of 2020, as well as the Landmark Award recipient, will be chosen May 22.