Friday, May 20, 2016

2017 #NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominees

Ray Fox, Ray Evernham , Richard Childress, Red Byron, and Buddy Baker.

Each year, five inductees are selected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame by a Voting Panel. Inductees are chosen from a list of 20 nominees that are determined by a Nominating Committee. The main criteria for nomination and induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame include NASCAR accomplishments and contributions to the sport.

Here are first five of the twenty nominees. (Others to follow).

Buddy Baker - Driver (b. 1/25/41 - d. 8/10/15)

Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
Premier Series Stats
  • Competed: 1959-1992
  • Starts: 699
  • Wins: 19
  • Poles: 38
At six feet, six inches tall, Buddy Baker was often called the “Gentle Giant,” however, the nickname “Leadfoot” was more apropos due to the blistering speeds he often achieved during his 33-year career. In 1980, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native won the Daytona 500 with an average race speed of 177.602 mph – a track record that still stands. That same year, Baker became the first driver to eclipse the 200-mph mark on a closed course while testing at Talladega Superspeedway. Although he didn’t win at the 2.66-mile superspeedway in 1970, Baker won there four times throughout his stellar career. He won 19 wins in the premier series, including a victory in the 1970 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway where he lapped the rest of the field. He also won back-to-back World 600s at Charlotte in 1972-73. After retiring in 1992, Baker made a successful transition to the television booth as a commentator for The Nashville Network and CBS, and later as a radio co-host on Late Shift and Tradin’ Paint for SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. In 1998, Baker was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.

Red Byron – Driver (b. 3/12/15 - d. 11/11/60)

Hometown: Anniston, Ala.
Premier Series Stats
  • Competed: 1949-1951
  • Starts: 15
  • Wins: 2
  • Poles: 2
Robert “Red” Byron was there at the outset, to say the least. Byron won the sanctioning body’s first race in 1948, on the Daytona beach road course. He went on in 1948 to win NASCAR’s first season championship – in the NASCAR Modified Division. The following year, he won NASCAR’s first Strictly Stock title – the precursor to today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – driving for car owner Raymond Parks. The Strictly Stock schedule had eight races; Byron won two of them. Wounded in World War II, Byron drove with a special brace attached to the clutch pedal, to assist an injured leg – making his accomplishments even more impressive. That injury contributed to Byron’s relatively brief career, after which he continued to be involved in motorsports. When he died in 1960 at the age of 45, Byron had branched out, striving to make more history, by developing an American car capable of winning the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car event. In 1998, he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers, recognition of a highly significant career, the relative brevity of it notwithstanding.

Richard Childress - Owner (b. 9/21/45)

Hometown:Winston-Salem, N.C.
Premier Series Owner Stats
  • Competed: 1969-present (stats as of 2/24/16)
  • Starts: 2,596
  • Wins: 105
  • Poles: 45
Long before he became one of the preeminent car owners in NASCAR history, Richard Childress was a race car driver with limited means. Still, he persevered, which is what you do when you purchase your first car for $20 at the age of 17. Childress, the consummate self-made racer, was respectable behind the wheel. Between 1969-81 he had six top-five finishes and 76 top 10s in 285 starts, finishing fifth in the NASCAR premier series standings in 1975. Having formed Richard Childress Racing in 1972, Childress retired from driving in 1981. The rest, as they say, is history. Much of that history is linked to one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers, inaugural NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt, who won six championships and 67 races between 1984-2000 for RCR. But Childress has had other successes. In addition to Earnhardt’s championships, Childress drivers have given him five others. Childress was the first NASCAR owner to win championships in all three of NASCAR’s national series, and his 11 titles are second all time. Childress was the recipient of the Bill France Award of Excellence in 1986.

Ray Evernham - Crew Chief (b. 8/26/57)

Hometown: Hazlet, N.J.
Premier Series Crew Chief Stats
  • Competed: 1992-1999
  • Starts: 213
  • Wins: 47
  • Poles: 30
In the 1992 season finale, a young driver and crew chief pairing made their NASCAR premier series debut. Less than a decade later, Jeff Gordon and Ray Evernham were in the record books. Evernham guided Gordon and the No. 24 team to three championships in four seasons (1995, ’97, ’98), and a series-leading 47 wins in the 1990’s. Among their triumphs were two Daytona 500s (1997, ’99) and two Brickyard 400s (1994, ’98). Matching Evernham’s mechanical prowess was his innovation on pit road. Under his direction, the “Rainbow Warriors” revolutionized the art of the pit stop. In 2001, Evernham tried his hand at ownership, leading the return of Dodge to NASCAR. His drivers won 13 times, including NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott’s triumph in the 2002 Brickyard 400. After selling majority ownership of his team in 2007, Evernham worked for ESPN as a race analyst before joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2014 as a consultant for its competition department.

Ray Fox - Builder/Owner/Race Official (b. 5/28/16 - d. 6/15/14)

Hometown: Daytona Beach, Fla.
Premier Series Owner Stats
  • Competed: 1962-1974
  • Starts: 200
  • Wins: 14
  • Poles: 16
A New England native, Ray Fox saw his first automobile race at the 2-mile board track at Rockingham Park near Salem, New Hampshire. Following service in the U.S. Army in World War II, Fox moved to Daytona Beach to work as a mechanic. Fox built the engine in the Buick driven by Fireball Roberts which led the 1955 Daytona Road & Beach Course wire-to-wire. Roberts, however, was disqualified after it was determined that the car’s mechanic, Red Vogt, had modified the pushrods. In 1956, Fox went to work for Carl Kiekhaefer whose Chrysler 300 cars won 22 of the season’s first 26 races. He was named Mechanic of the Year. In 1960, Fox built the Chevrolet in which Junior Johnson won the Daytona 500. David Pearson won three times that year driving Fox-built Pontiacs. In 1962, Fox became a car owner. He won nine times with Johnson and twice – including the 1964 Southern 500 – with Buck Baker. Over the years, five NASCAR Hall of Famers took the wheel for Fox, including Cale Yarborough and Fred Lorenzen. Fox retired in the early 1970s but in 1990 accepted the role of NASCAR’s engine inspector, a position he held until his second retirement at the age of 80 in 1996.

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The process begins with a 22-person Nominating Committee, who meets at Daytona International Speedway during Speedweeks to select the list of 20 nominees.

Then a 55-person Voting Panel, which includes the members of the Nominating Committee plus additional representatives, votes on five inductees from the list of 20 nominees. The Voting Panel submits a total of 56 ballots*, which includes one ballot from a nationwide fan vote, to determine the five inductees.

The number of ballots submitted may change if any member of the Nominating Committee or Voting Panel appears on the previous year’s ballot or current year’s ballot. These individuals are recused from participating in the nominating and/or voting process for as long as he/she appears on the ballot. If an individual who is currently on the Nominating Committee or Voting Panel is inducted, or is no longer included on a final ballot, he or she is immediately reinstated to active participation on the committee/panel.

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