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CUP: Familiar Names Nominated To NASCAR Hall

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The NASCAR Hall of Fame announced its 25 nominees for the Class of 2014 Wednesday night on SPEED’s NASCAR Race Hub, and there are some familiar names on the list.

All 20 prior NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees not voted in this year remain among the 25, joining the five new nominees.

The five new nominees are: Dale Jarrett, Maurice Petty, Larry Phillips, Bruton Smith and Rex White.

CUP: Who Still Needs To Get Nominated?

Dale Jarrett — At his best on NASCAR’s biggest stages, Jarrett is a three-time Daytona 500 winner and twice won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His 32 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories – 21st all-time – also include the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Jarrett won the 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship with 29 top 10s, an astounding feat considering that year's schedule consisted of 34 races. Four victories and top-10 finishes in the season’s final eight races secured that year’s title for Jarrett. He recorded six additional top-five championship finishes and won at least once in 11 consecutive seasons from 1993 through 2003.

With father Ned, the Jarretts are only the second father-son combination with NASCAR premier series championships after NASCAR Hall of Famers Lee and Richard Petty. Ned Jarrett was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in May 2011.

The younger Jarrett, a star prep athlete before turning down a college golf scholarship in favor of a racing career, shares his father’s passion for broadcasting and currently is a NASCAR commentator for ESPN and ABC.

Maurice Petty — If Richard Petty is NASCAR’s king, his younger brother Maurice certainly bears the title of prince. The chief engine builder at Petty Enterprises, Petty becomes the fourth member of the dynasty to be nominated for membership in the NASCAR Hall of Fame – following his older brother, father Lee and his cousin Dale Inman, all members of the sport’s elite body.

The man simply called Chief supplied the horsepower that propelled Richard Petty to a record 200 NASCAR victories, seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships and seven Daytona 500 victories. Lee Petty, Buddy Baker, Jim Paschal and Pete Hamilton also won with his engines.

Petty had a brief driving career – 26 premier series races with seven top-five and 16 top-10 finishes between 1960 and 1964 – but was satisfied to work behind the scenes as one of the top engine builders ever seen in the sport.

Petty, 21 months younger than his elder sibling, overcame polio as a child. Both Richard and Maurice worked on their father’s pit crew as teenagers. He later consulted with Dodge upon its return to NASCAR’s premier series in 2001.

Larry Phillips — The legend of Missouri’s Larry Phillips can’t be measured in wins alone. That’s because nobody can say for sure how many victories there were. He raced here, there and everywhere on dirt and asphalt and in places where record keeping wasn’t always a priority.

Phillips was just happy to vanquish the competition and go on to the next track.

One crew chief, James Ince, estimated Phillips won 1,000 times; maybe 2,000. Rivals expressed frustration upon seeing Phillips’ No. 75 car come through the pit gate, admitting they were racing each other for second place.

What is fact is that Phillips is the only driver to win five NASCAR Weekly Series national championships. During an 11-year span – from his first title in 1989 through 1996 – the Springfield, Mo. competitor won 220 of 289 NASCAR-sanctioned starts. That’s a winning percentage of 76 percent. Phillips also won 13 track championships in three states.

Phillips was named one of the 25 top drivers in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series in 2006.

Bruton Smith — O. Bruton Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports Inc., bought his first race car at the age of 17 and a year later promoted his first stock car race in Midland, N.C. Smith’s early endeavors included operating the National Stock Car Racing Association – seen as an early competitor to NASCAR – and building Charlotte Motor Speedway.

CMS became the foundation of Speedway Motorsports Inc., which currently owns eight NASCAR tracks hosting 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and additional high-profile motorsports activities.

Smith took SMI public in 1995 to become the first motorsports company to be traded at the New York Stock Exchange. Smith founded Sonic Automotive, a group of several hundred auto dealerships across the United States.

Smith is active in child-related causes with his philanthropic foundation Speedway Children’s Charities. He was inducted into the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame and National Motorsports Press Association’s Hall of Fame, both in 2006; and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007.

Rex White — Consistency was the hallmark of Rex White’s NASCAR career. He finished among the top five in nearly a half of his 233 races and outside the top 10 only 30 percent of the time.

White was a short track specialist in an era in which those tracks dominated the schedule. Of his 28 career wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, only two came on tracks longer than a mile in length. White’s victory total ranks 22nd among all-time premier series winners.

White won six times during his 1960 championship season posting 35 top 10s in 40 starts. He finished in the top 10 six of his nine years in the series including a runner-up finish in 1961. He was the fourth driver to win a premier series championship in his own equipment.

White hails from Spartanburg, S.C., once the hub of stock car racing and a community that produced NASCAR Hall of Famers David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Cotton Owens and Bud Moore. White was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. He resides in Forest Park, Ga.

Prior Nominees:

Red Byron, first NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion, in 1949

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

Jerry Cook, six-time NASCAR Modified champion

H. Clay Earles, founder of Martinsville Speedway

Tim Flock, two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion

Ray Fox, legendary engine builder and owner of cars driven by Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and others

Anne Bledsoe France, helped build the sport with husband Bill France Sr. Affectionately known as “Annie B.,” she is the first woman to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Rick Hendrick, 13-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series

Jack Ingram, two-time NASCAR Busch (now Nationwide) Series champion and three-time Late Model Sportsman champion

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

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

Les Richter, former NASCAR executive; former president of Riverside International Raceway

Fireball Roberts, 33 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series wins, including the 1962 Daytona 500

T. Wayne Robertson, helped raise NASCAR popularity as R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. senior VP

Wendell Scott, NASCAR trailblazer was the first African-American NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series race winner, and first to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Ralph Seagraves, formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

Curtis Turner, early personality, called the “Babe Ruth of stock car racing”

Joe Weatherly, two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion.

Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100.

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