April 30, 2019
In a few weeks, NASCAR will announce the Hall of Fame Class of 2020. Some of the sports most recognizable names are included in this year’s voting ballot. Of the 20 nominees, only 5 will be inducted. Here are the individuals I selected as most worthy to receive NASCAR’s highest honor.
Never before has an individual risen to the ultimate height of one sport, only to retire and perform the same feat in a second professional sport. As a head coach, he led the Washington Redskins to three Super Bowl champions. After leaving the professional football coaching ranks he founded Joe Gibbs Racing in 1992. The organization has won four Cup Series Championships with Bobby Labonte (2000), Tony Stewart (2002, ’05), and Kyle Busch (2016). Plus winning five NASCAR Xfinity Series titles.
Know simply as “Coach,” Joe Gibbs is quick with a smile, holds the respect of the entire NASCAR garage, and practices his faith openly with this organization. There is no better representative of the sport and none more worthy of induction into the Hall of Fame.
Know as a hard-nosed competitor, Tony Stewart owns the distinction of winning NASCAR Cup Championships as a driver and car owner. Moving from Indy Cars to NASCAR, Stewart won three times in his first year on the circuit, capturing the 1999 Rookie of the Year title. He won two Cup Championships driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.
After partnering with Gene Haas in 2009 to form his own team, Stewart won the title again in 2011. He has since added another owner title with Kevin Harvick in 2014.
Waddell Wilson could probably be inducted twice to the Hall of Fame. Once as an engine builder and once as a crew chief. His engines captured three NASCAR Cup Series titles, in 1968 and 1969 with Hall of Famer David Pearson behind the wheel. Then again in 1973 with another Hall of Fame driver, Benny Parsons.
Wilson built engines for NASCAR Hall of Famers Pearson, Parsons, Fireball Roberts, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, and Darrell Waltrip. An incredible 123 poles and 109 wins were achieved among those drivers with Waddell Wilson powerplants under the hood.
As a crew chief, Wilson won the Daytona 500 three time and posted 22 Cup Series victories.
Maybe not the most recognized name on the list, Mike Stefanik won nine NASCAR Championships. Seven in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 1989, ’91, ’97, ’98, 2001, ’02, ’06 and two in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East 1997 and 1998.
According to NASCAR, on the Whelen Modified Tour, Stefanik holds the all-time series record in championships, wins, poles, top fives, and top 10s. Driving for one year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Stefanik won the Rookie of the Year title in 1999.
Second, only to Richard Petty’s 1,185 Cup Series starts with 906, Ricky Rudd made 788 of them in a row. Winning 23 times, Rudd ended his career with 194 top five and 374 top 10 finishes.
Ricky Rudd earned the 1977 Cup Series Rookie of the Year award and finished the 1991 season second in the Championship standings. Scoring a victory in 16 consecutive Cup seasons from 1983-98, Rudd was one of the series most durable and consistent drivers.
The 20 Nominations for the 2020 Class of NASCAR’s Hall of Fame
Here is the entire list of nominees, tell us your favorites, we would love to hear from you.
Sam Ard, NASCAR Xfinity Series pioneer and two-time champion
Buddy Baker, won 19 times in the NASCAR Cup Series, including the Daytona 500 and Southern 500
Neil Bonnett, won 18 times in the NASCAR Cup Series, including consecutive Coca-Cola 600 victories
Red Farmer, three-time Late Model Sportsman champion; 1956 Modified champion
Ray Fox, legendary engine builder, crew chief and car owner
Harry Gant, winner of 18 NASCAR Cup Series races, including two Southern 500 victories
Joe Gibbs, combined for nine car owner championships in Cup and XFINITY series
John Holman, won two NASCAR Cup Series championships as co-owner of Holman-Moody Racing
Harry Hyde, 1970 NASCAR Cup Series championship crew chief
Bobby Labonte, won a championship in both the Cup Series and XFINITY Series
Hershel McGriff, 1986 NASCAR west series champion
Ralph Moody, won two NASCAR Cup Series championships as co-owner of Holman-Moody Racing
Marvin Panch, won 17 times in the NASCAR Cup Series, including the 1961 Daytona 500
Jim Paschal, 23 of his 25 NASCAR Cup Series wins came on short tracks
Larry Phillips, first five-time NASCAR weekly series national champion
Ricky Rudd, won 23 times in NASCAR Cup Series, including the 1997 Brickyard 400
Mike Stefanik, winner of record-tying nine NASCAR championships
Tony Stewart, three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, two-time Brickyard 400 winner
Red Vogt, the first master mechanic of NASCAR, and a founding member
Waddell Wilson, won three NASCAR Cup Series championships as an engine builder