Five individuals were selected as the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Wednesday in Charlotte following a spirited debate by the hall's voting committee.
The five new members will be inducted into the Hall next January.
Following is the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017:
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BENNY PARSONS -- Nobody didn't like Parsons, who enjoyed huge popularity, first as a driver and then as a broadcaster. Parsons won the 1973 NASCAR premier series championship in one of the most dramatic fashions in series history and two years later won the Daytona 500. He was the first driver to qualify a stock car at more than 200 mph (200.176) in 1982 at Talladega Superspeedway. Parsons also was known as a voice of the sport, making a seamless transition to television following his NASCAR career. He was a commentator for NBC and TNT until his death in 2007, at the age of 65.
RICK HENDRICK -- Over the last 32 years, team founder Rick Hendrick has built Hendrick Motorsports into one of the truly elite teams in NASCAR. Hendrick Motorsports owns the all-time record with 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car owner championship titles â six with Jimmie Johnson, four with Jeff Gordon and one with NASCAR Hall of Fame member 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, while Johnson won five in a row from 2006-10.
MARK MARTIN -- Over a stellar career, Martin won 40 Premier Series races, 49 more in what is now the XFINITY Series and seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races, giving him a total of 96 race wins in NASCAR's top three divisions. On top of that, Martin finished second in points five times, coming home as runner-up to Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson, four drivers who have a combined 20 Premier Series titles. Known for his incredible work ethic, in his later years, Martin mentored many young drivers.
RAYMOND PARKS -- Had there been no Raymond Parks, there might be no NASCAR today. That's how powerful Parks' influence was, as he helped bankroll NASCAR in its earliest days. Funded by successful business and real estate ventures in Atlanta, Parks began his career as a stock-car owner in 1938 with drivers Lloyd Seay and Roy Hall. His pairing with another Atlantan, mechanic Red Vogt, produced equipment good enough to dominate the sport in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Red Byron won the first NASCAR title (modified, 1948) and first premier series title (1949) in Parks-owned cars.
RICHARD CHILDRESS -- 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.
H. CLAY EARLES -- One of the original pioneers of stock car auto racing, H. Clay Earles played an integral role in the early years of NASCAR's development. Earles built and opened Martinsville Speedway in 1947, and the short track remains the only facility to host NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races every year since the series' inception in 1949. The speedway held its first race on Sept. 7, 1947 â three months before the creation of NASCAR. In 1964, Earles decided it was time for a "different" type of trophy for his race winners. He gave winners grandfather clocks, a tradition that continues today.