Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Hall of Fame nominees announced
By David Newton
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A mixture of champions, engine builders and innovators highlight the five newest nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The new nominees announced on Wednesday are 1999 Sprint Cup champion and ESPN analyst Dale Jarrett, engine builder Maurice Petty, Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith, 1960 Cup champion Rex White and five-time NASCAR weekly series national champion Larry Phillips.
Jarrett is the son of two-time Cup champion Ned Jarrett, a member of the 2011 Hall of Fame class. Dale Jarrett won 32 times, including three Daytona 500s.
Petty was the chief engine builder for Petty Enterprises. He is the brother of Hall of Famer Richard Petty, a seven-time Winston Cup champion and NASCAR's all-time winner with 200 victories.
Smith built Charlotte Motor Speedway and is known as an innovator among track owners, introducing condominiums, VIP suites and club-like restaurants to the sport. As the chairman of SMI, he owns eight tracks that host 12 Cup events.
"It is a great honor to be nominated as a candidate for the NASCAR Hall of Fame," Smith said in a release. "Bill France Jr. once asked me to help him build NASCAR and I have literally been building monuments to the sport for my entire lifetime. Millions of people have attended NASCAR events at our speedways over the years and we've tried to be creative and innovative in an effort to help push the sport to a higher level. It's always been a perfect fit for me because I love racing and I love NASCAR fans."
White was considered one of the sport's most consistent drivers, recording top-five finishes in nearly half of his 233 races. He finished outside the top 10 only 30 percent of the time in collecting 28 wins.
Phillips won an amazing 226 times en route to an unprecedented five wins in NASCAR's Whelen All-American Series.
The five nominees join 20 others previously selected by a 21-person nominating committee.
The five 2014 inductees will be selected from the list of 25 by a 54-member voting panel for the Hall's fifth class on May 22.
The entire list of 25 includes:
• Red Byron: First champion in NASCAR's premier series now known as the Sprint Cup series in 1949.
• Richard Childress: 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series, including six with Dale Earnhardt in the Cup series.
• Jerry Cook: Six-time NASCAR Modified champion.
• H. Clay Earles: Founder of Martinsville Speedway.
• Tim Flock -- Two-time Cup series champion.
• Ray Fox: Legendary engine builder and owner of cars driven by Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and others.
• Anne Bledsoe France: Helped build the sport with husband, Bill France Sr.
• Rick Hendrick: 13-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series.
• Jack Ingram: Two-time champion in NASCAR's second-tier series (now Nationwide) and three-time Late Model Sportsman champion.
• Bobby Isaac: 1970 Cup champion.
• Dale Jarrett: 1999 Cup champion and three-time Daytona 500 winner.
• Fred Lorenzen -- Winner of 26 Cup races, including the Daytona 500 and World 600.
• Raymond Parks: NASCAR's first champion car owner.
• Benny Parsons: 1973 Cup champion.
• Maurice Petty: Chief engine builder for Petty Enterprises.
• Larry Phillips: Only five-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion.
• Les Richter: Former NASCAR executive, former president of Riverside International Raceway.
• Fireball Roberts: 33 Cup wins, including the 1962 Daytona 500, and the sport's first true superstar.
• T. Wayne Robertson: Helped raise NASCAR popularity as R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company senior vice president.
• Wendell Scott: First and only black driver to win a Cup race in 1964.
• Ralph Seagraves: Formed Winston-NASCAR partnership as an executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.
• O. Bruton Smith: Builder of Charlotte Motor Speedway and chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc. that owns eight NASCAR tracks that host 12 Cup events.
• Curtis Turner: Early personality known as the "Babe Ruth of stock car racing."
• Joe Weatherly: Two-time Cup champion.
• Rex White: 1960 Cup champion.