Ned Jarrett and Benny Parsons, two consistently successful drivers who later had standout careers in television motorsports, have been nominated for the 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame class.
The nominations of Jarrett and Parsons were announced at Noon Thursday. Earlier this week, NASCAR revealed that Modified stars Jerry Cook and Richie Evans and Sprint Cup winners Fred Lorenzen and Fireball Roberts are on the 2011 list.
• CUP: Richie Evans, Jerry Cook Nominated To 2011 NASCAR Hall Of Fame• CUP: Fred Lorenzen, Glenn “Fireball” Roberts Nominated For 2011 Hall Of Fame
The full list of 25 nominees will be released during a live SPEED broadcast at 8 p.m. ET Thursday from Daytona Beach, Fla.
Five of the 25 will be chosen for the Hall’s second class. They will join Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Bill France Sr., Junior Johnson and Bill France Jr. in the hall.
Jarrett and Parsons also were nominees for the 2010 class.
Jarrett won the Cup championship in 1961 and 1965 and scored 50 Cup victories.
In 1961, he ran 46 races on the much more crowded Cup schedule, winning once but totaling 34 top 10s. In 1965, he suffered what he has called the worst injury of his career – a serious back injury in a crash at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina, but he managed 13 victories and 42 top fives in 54 races.
In that ’65 season, Jarrett had one of the most amazing race performances in NASCAR history. He won the Southern 500 by a stunning 14 laps, still the largest victory margin in Cup history.
Jarrett also won the national Sportsman title in 1957 and ’58.
Jarrett’s sons, Dale and Glenn, also had NASCAR driving careers. Dale won the 1999 Cup title.
After retiring from driving in 1966, Jarrett had a second successful career as a motorsports television analyst. When Dale Jarrett won the 1993 Daytona 500, Ned called the final lap of the race, completing one of the most memorable television broadcasts in the sport’s history.
Parsons, who died in 2007, is best remembered for winning one of the most dramatic championships in Cup history.
Parsons held the point lead going into the final race of the 1973 season at Rockingham, N.C., but he crashed early in the race, putting his title chances in jeopardy. His crew, joined by mechanics from other teams, jumped in to make repairs to the battered car, allowing Parsons to return to the track, finish the race and win the championship.
Parsons won 21 Cup races and was known as a strong consistent finisher. He scored 283 top-10 runs in 526 career starts.
Parsons won the Daytona 500 in 1975. In 1982, he became the first driver to qualify a stock car at more than 200 mph (200.176) at Talladega Superspeedway.
After his driving career ended, Parsons became a popular television racing analyst.
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEEDtv.com and has been covering motorsports for 28 years. He has written several books on NASCAR, including "NASCAR: The Definitive History of America's Sport" and "Then Tony Said To Junior: The Best NASCAR Stories Ever Told". He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.