NASCAR Hall of Fame induction process revised

by Justin Nguyen

The NASCAR Hall of Fame will now induct just three members per year. On Wednesday, the Hall of Fame announced the reduction from five to three starting in 2021 in preparation for the diminishing group of deserving members.

“From the time I first learned of the selection process NASCAR developed in 2009 and through the evolutions implemented as we gained valuable experience, I have been a huge proponent of our process,” Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelley said. “I feel our process is as strong as any Hall of Fame, sport and entertainment alike. I am equally enthusiastic about these changes to our process and concur wholeheartedly that now is the right time to transition to fewer inductees and establish a process dedicated to NASCAR’s iconic pioneers.”

There will be two ballots representing different eras of NASCAR racing. The Modern Era Ballot, consisting of individuals whose careers began in the last 60 years (1961 in 2021’s case), will bring about two inductees per year from a pool of ten nominees. Moden Era members will remain there for ten years.

Modern Era members who have exceeded the ten-year cap and those who began their involvement in NASCAR more than 60 years ago will be placed in the Pioneer Ballot. One person will be inducted from the Pioneer category out of five.

In addition, crew chiefs will be required to be retired at least two seasons before being eligible for induction; such personnel must also meet the pre-existing condition of working in the sport for ten years.

A special Honors Committee will oversee the selection process. Members of the committee include living Hall of Fame inductees, along with Landmark and Squier-Hall Award winners. The group will meet in late May to discuss their choices for the upcoming Class of 2021. Twelve members of the committee will also work on the Voting Panel to finalise the class: Richard Childress (Class of 2017), Rick Hendrick (2017), Ron Hornaday Jr. (2018), Dale Jarrett (2014), Roger Penske (2019), Darrell Waltrip (2012), and Rusty Wallace (2013) will serve as panelists.

“When we opened the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010, we had to catch up on more than 60 years of NASCAR history,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps stated. “Our plan has always been to evaluate the process as the Hall of Fame matured. With 55 of the sport’s greatest competitors enshrined, we felt the time was right to move to three inductees which will help maintain the high standard of enshrinement that’s been set.”

For the Hall of Fame’s first decade, five members were inducted annually. Last Friday, the Class of 2020—consisting of Buddy Baker, Joe Gibbs, Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart, and Waddell Wilson—was inducted.

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