Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dale Jarrett, Bruton Smith among NASCAR Hall nominees

   Former Winston Cup champion Dale Jarrett and Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith are among the five new nominees for induction to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

   The list of 25 nominees for the Class of 2014 was revealed Wednesday night and includes the 20 nominees not selected for this year’s class. In addition to Jarrett and Smith, the other nominees eligible for the Hall are Maurice Petty, chief engine builder for Petty Enterprises; five-time NASCAR weekly series national champion Larry Phillips; and the 1960 champion of what is now the Sprint Cup Series, Rex White.

   From the group of 25, five inductees will be elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame voting panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on Voting day for the 2014 class is set for May 22 at the Hall in uptown Charlotte.

   Jarrett, who was born in Conover, N.C., is the son of Hall of Fame member Ned Jarrett and was nominated in his first year of eligibility. Jarrett won the 1999 Winston Cup series championship and is a three-time winner of NASCAR’s biggest race, the Daytona 500. Jarrett, 56, most recently has worked as a TV commentator for race broadcasts with ESPN.

   Smith, born in Oakboro, N.C., first promoted a stock car event at age 18 in Midland. He currently is chairman of SMI, which owns eight race tracks across the country, including Charlotte Motor Speedway. SMI was the first motorsports company traded at the New York Stock Exchange.

   This round of nominees was selected by a 21-member nominating committee consisting of representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and track owners. The committee’s votes were tabulated by accounting firm Ernst & Young.

   The five member Class of 2014 will be selected by a 54-member voting panel, which includes the entire nominating committee, as well as media members, manufacturer representatives, retired competitors (drivers, owners and crew chiefs) and industry leaders. In addition, the fan vote will result in the final ballot.


The 25 Nominees
 Red Byron: First champion in what now is Sprint Cup series, in 1949.

Richard Childress: 11-time champion car owner in NASCAR’s three national series.

Jerry Cook: Six-time NASCAR Modified champion.

H. Clay Earles: Founder of Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

Tim Flock: Two-time champ in what now is Sprint Cup series.

Ray Fox: Legendary engine builder, owner of cars driven by Buck Baker, Junior Johnson, 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 Grand National series champ in what now is the Nationwide series, 3-time Late Model Sportsman champ.

Bobby Isaac: 1970 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion.

Dale Jarrett: 1999 NASCAR premier (now Cup) series champion and three-time Daytona 500 winner.

Fred Lorenzen: 26 wins and winner of the Daytona 500 and World 600.

Raymond Parks: NASCAR’s first champion car owner.

Benny Parsons: 1973 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series 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 (Calif.) International Raceway.

Fireball Roberts: 33 wins in what now is Sprint Cup series, including the 1962 Daytona 500.

T. Wayne Robertson: Raised NASCAR popularity as R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. senior VP.

Wendell Scott: First African -American NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series race winner.

Ralph Seagraves: Formed Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds.

O. Bruton Smith: Builder of Charlotte Motor Speedway and architect of Speedway Motorsports Inc.

Curtis Turner: Early personality, called the "Babe Ruth of stock car racing."

Joe Weatherly: Two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
Rex White: 1960 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion.
   The following is a statement from Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board O. Bruton Smith regarding Wednesday's announcement that he was one of five newcomers among the 25 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2014:
   "It is a great honor to be nominated as a candidate for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. 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."