The NASCAR Hall of Fame‘s Class of 2021 was revealed Tuesday afternoon, with three members set to be immortalised for their accomplishments: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Red Farmer, and Mike Stefanik.
Earnhardt Jr., a two-time champion of the now-Xfinity Series and current NBC analyst, was one of NASCAR’s most iconic drivers during his career. He won the Cup Series‘ Most Popular Driver Award every year from 2003 to his final season in 2017, while his #8 and #88 cars are two that have become synonymous with the sport’s present-day reputation. The two-time Daytona 500 winner also has twenty-six Cup victories to his name. With his induction, he joins his father and seven-time premier series champion Dale Earnhardt Sr. in the Hall of Fame.
A member of the famed Alabama Gang, Farmer might not have much of a resume in the Cup Series, but his short track record is one of the best in all of stock car racing. Scoring at least 700 victories in his career and three Late Model Sportsman titles in the late 1960s, he continues to race today even into his nineties.
Stefanik, who passed away last September, is the most decorated driver in NASCAR history by championship count. He scored seven titles in the Whelen Modified Tour and two more in the now-ARCA Menards Series East to make it nine total NASCAR championships. He has 74 wins in the Modified Tour.
Prior to the class reveal, Ralph Seagraves was honoured with the Landmark Award for his contributions to the sport. The head of tobacco company R.J. Reynolds‘ marketing division, he helped get the Winston cigarette brand into NASCAR by sponsoring the Cup Series—with the Winston Cup Series name lasting over three decades—and helping the sport reach new heights.
For the Class of 2021, the Hall of Fame elected to reduce its inductees to just three members per class as the pool of deserving figures begins to decrease. As part of the current process, voters choose two candidates from the Modern Era Ballot (within the last 60 years, meaning 1961 for this class) and one Pioneer Ballot (pre-1961). Earnhardt and Stefanik fall under the Modern Era list, with farmer in the Pioneer.
Nominees were announced in April. Names on the Modern Era Ballot included the Alabama Gang’s Neil Bonnett, twenty-one-time Cup winner Jeff Burton, former Cup star Carl Edwards, “Mr. September” Harry Gant, five-time weekly series champion Larry Phillips, twenty-three-time Cup victor Ricky Rudd, and four-time Cup title-winning crew chief Kirk Shelmerdine. The Pioneer Ballot featured champion crew chief Jake Elder, car builder Banjo Matthews, longtime driver Hershel McGriff, and Holman-Moody car owner Ralph Moody.
Former NASCAR President Mike Helton, female Cup racer Janet Guthrie, the first flagman Alvin Hawkins, and Pocono Raceway founder Joseph Mattioli were other candidates for the Landmark Award.