Saturday, May 21, 2016

2017 #NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominees

Rick Hendrick, Ron Hornaday Jr., Harry Hyde, Alan Kulwicki, and Mark Martin.

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 second five of the twenty nominees. (Others to follow).

Rick Hendrick - Owner (b. 7/12/49)

Hometown: Palmer Springs, Va.
Premier Series Owner Stats
  • Competed: 1984-present (stats as of 2/24/16)
  • Starts: 3,552
  • Wins: 240
  • Poles: 206
The founder and owner of Hendrick Motorsports, Rick Hendrick’s organization is recognized as one of NASCAR’s most successful. A longtime racing enthusiast and driver himself, Hendrick owned drag-racing boat teams that won three championships before founding “All-Star Racing,” the team that would evolve into Hendrick Motorsports, in 1984. Hendrick Motorsports owns an all-time record 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car owner championship titles – six with Jimmie Johnson, four with Jeff Gordon and one with NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte. Hendrick also has 14 total NASCAR national series owner championships, most in NASCAR history. Gordon and Labonte combined to win four consecutive titles from 1995-98. In 2010, Johnson won a record-extending fifth consecutive championship. Some of NASCAR’s most prominent drivers have driven for Hendrick. Geoff Bodine was the first, snaring the organization’s first victory on April 29, 1984, at Martinsville Speedway. The late Tim Richmond, NASCAR Hall of Famer, and three-time series champion, Darrell Waltrip and the late Benny Parsons, the 1973 champion, also are Hendrick alumni.

Ron Hornaday Jr. - Driver (b. 6/20/58)

Hometown: Palmdale, Ca.
Truck Series Driver Stats
  • Competed:1995-99, 2002, 2004-14
  • Starts: 360
  • Wins: 51
  • Poles: 27
One of the forefathers of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, few drivers can be mentioned in the same breath as Ron Hornaday Jr. when it comes to wheeling a truck around a race track. The second-generation racer from Palmdale, California boasts a record four Truck Series championships and 51 wins competing on the rough-and-tumble circuit. Hornaday also holds the Truck Series all-time marks for top fives (158) and top 10s (234). In 2009, Hornaday won five straight Truck Series races, a feat matched only three other times in NASCAR national series history. Given his first opportunity in the Truck Series by Dale Earnhardt after “The Intimidator” discovered him during a NASCAR Winter Heat Series event on ESPN2, Hornaday gave back to the sport by allowing young West Coast upstarts to stay at his home while pursuing their stock car racing dreams, including future premier series champions Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick.

Harry Hyde - Crew Chief (b. 1/17/25 - d. 5/13/96)

Hometown: Brownsville, Ky.
Premier Series Crew Chief Stats
  • Competed: 1966-1993
  • Wins: 56
  • Poles: 88
Harry Hyde was so good, they made a movie about him. Hyde, who inspired Robert Duvall’s character Harry Hogge in the cinematic classic Days of Thunder, enjoyed a nearly three-decade career in NASCAR’s premier series. During that tenure, his incredible leadership skills translated to immense success – even to the greenest of drivers. Prior to guiding Dave Marcis, Neil Bonnett and Geoff Bodine to their first career wins and harnessing the talent of Tim Richmond, Hyde laid a championship foundation with NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Isaac. In 1969, Hyde called the shots for Isaac’s 17-win season, which ranks among the most prolific seasons in the history of the sport. That year, Isaac also won 19 poles, which still stands as a NASCAR premier series record. Hyde’s crowning achievement came in 1970, when he won the NASCAR premier series championship with Isaac, winning 11 times and capturing 32 top fives in 47 starts. Hyde was also named NASCAR Mechanic of the Year.

Alan Kulwicki - Driver / Owner (b. 12/14/54 - d. 4/1/93)

Hometown: Greenfield, Wis.
Premier Series Stats
  • Competed: 1985-1993
  • Starts: 207
  • Wins: 5
  • Poles: 24
Noted Wisconsin short-track racer Alan Kulwicki moved to Charlotte in 1984 with nothing but a pickup truck, a self-built race car and the hopes of competing in NASCAR’s highest series. He had no sponsor and a limited budget. Kulwicki burst onto the scene as the 1986 NASCAR Rookie of the Year with his self-owned AK Racing team. Throughout his career, Kulwicki received lucrative offers from powerhouse race teams, but insisted on racing for himself. That determination eventually led to his first of five career victories at Phoenix in 1988, and the unveiling of his trademark “Polish Victory Lap,” a celebratory clockwise cool down lap with the driver’s window facing the fans. His signature season was his championship-winning 1992 campaign, where Kulwicki overcame a 278-point deficit with six races remaining to capture the NASCAR premier series title. He had two wins, 11 top fives and 17 top 10s to defeat NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott by 10 points – at the time, the tightest championship margin in series history. Kulwicki never got the chance to defend his title, dying in a plane crash in 1993. Five years after his death, he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers.

Mark Martin - Driver (b. 1/9/59)

Hometown: Batesville, Ark.
Premier Series Stats
  • Competed: 1981-2013
  • Starts: 882
  • Wins: 40
  • Poles: 56
He’s often described as the “greatest driver to never to win a championship,” but Mark Martin’s legendary career is so much more than that. He came incredibly close to that elusive title many times – finishing second in the championship standings five times. In 1990, Martin finished 26 points behind Dale Earnhardt, his closest run at the championship. He set career highs for wins (seven), top-five finishes (22) and laps led (1,730) in 1998, but was left with another second-place finish, this time to Jeff Gordon. He also finished second in 1994, 2002 and ‘09. Over the course of his 31-year premier series career, Martin compiled 40 wins (17th all time) and 61 runner-up finishes (sixth) in 882 starts (fifth). His 56 career poles rank seventh on the all-time list. Martin saw success at every level of NASCAR. He won 49 times in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, holding the series wins record for 14 years. He retired with 96 wins across NASCAR’s three national series, seventh on the all-time list. In 1998, Martin was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.

 * * * * * *

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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