Glory Road has served as one of the most prominent focal points and signature exhibits since the NASCAR Hall of Fame opened in May 2010. Encircling the Great Hall, Glory Road features 18 historic cars that tell the story of NASCAR. On January 11, 2014, the NASCAR Hall of Fame unveiled a complete makeover of the iconic exhibit. The second generation, dubbed Glory Road 2.0, features a refresh of all 18 cars reflecting the six generations of NASCAR premier series race cars that have been driven and built by some of the sport's most celebrated drivers, owners and mechanics.
Marshall Teague built and drove the 1952 No. 6 Hudson Hornet sponsored by Hudson Motor Company, the first manufacturer in NASCAR history to support a race team. Teague's 1951 victory at Daytona Beach drew the attention of Hudson Motor Company leading to a sponsorship and allowing Teague to sign a second driver to his team—2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Herb Thomas. Teague went on to win at Daytona Beach in 1952, marking the first back-to-back win on the beach-road course. Teague and Thomas won 10 races throughout the season, and Thomas finished second in points to champion Tim Flock. The Hudson Hornet's "step-down" frame design gave the car a low center of gravity greatly increasing its handling capabilities. Its "Twin H Power" carburetion system used two carburetors to power its potent six-cylinder flathead engine. The Hudson Hornet brand dominated NASCAR racing in the early 1950s with various drivers capturing 80 wins from 1951 through early 1955 and winning three consecutive championships in 1951, 1952 and 1953.
Buck Baker, a 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, drove Chryslers to his first NASCAR championship in 1956 but switched to Chevrolets the following season in support of a new, high-performance model known as the "Black Widow." It was the first American manufactured car made with racing in mind. During the 1957 season, Baker made 40 starts and led all drivers in wins with 10 and poles with six. He went on to take the championship title becoming the first driver to win back-to-back NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup Series) championships. Owners Fred and Dianne Bowden of Monrovia, Calif., first discovered the car at a show at Auto Club Speedway and they jokingly asked if it was for sale. Fred saw the car a few years later and asked again if it was for sale, which resulted in a deal that made him the proud owner of a piece of NASCAR history.
Glen Wood, a 2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, and Curtis Turner drove the 1961 No. 21 Ford Starliner, an entirely stock Ford that came straight from a local dealership. The stock car was modified for performance and safety with a stripped interior, a roll cage and a reworked engine within NASCAR guidelines. The sloped roofline designed by Ford helped with aerodynamics on the newly opened superspeedways of the era that demanded increased speeds. During the 1961 season, the Wood Brothers team entered the Ford Starliner in 15 races. This car was a front-row starter six times and scored four top-five finishes. This particular model racked up six wins among three drivers in 1961.
Fred Lorenzen drove the 1966 No. 26 Ford Galaxie for Junior Johnson at the Dixie 400 at Atlanta International Raceway (now Atlanta Motor Speedway) on Aug. 7, 1966. On the heels of Ford Motor Company boycotting NASCAR, Johnson built this specially designed Ford and signed Lorenzen as the driver in an attempt to lure Ford back into the sport. The car was painted yellow and had a dropped nose, chopped roof and raised rear quarter panels resembling a banana. Lorenzen qualified third and was leading midway through the race when a front hub broke sending the car into the wall and out of the race. When Lorenzen crashed, a journalist said, "It's pretty hard to drive a banana at 145 miles per hour." The nickname stuck, and the car has been known as the "Banana Car" of the "Yellow Banana" ever since. This Ford ranks as one of the most controversial stock cars in NASCAR history. Its radical body design was used in only one race, but it brought attention to the need for body templates, which have been used in the NASCAR inspection process ever since.
Ned Jarrett, a 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, drove the 1966 No. 11 Ford Fairlane in nine events from July 10, 1966, to Oct. 16, 1966, during the final season of his career. Because Ford race teams decided to run a limited schedule that season, Jarrett went in search of another team. He signed on with team owner Bernard Alvarez of Jacksonville, Fla., who was supporting the new Ford Fairlane. Jarrett's best finish in the car was third at Islip, N.Y. His final start in the Fairlane was at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he finished 37th after engine problems knocked him out of the race. Jarrett launched his NASCAR career in 1953 and participated in 352 events with 50 wins. He also took the title at the 1961 and 1965 NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup Series) championships. Before coming to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the Fairlane could still be found competing in vintage events on road courses in California, where its owners Mark and Linda Mountanos reside.
David Pearson, a 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, drove the 1969 No. 17 Ford Torino Cobra Talladega to his third NASCAR championship. Named for the famed superspeedway that opened the same year, the Ford Torina Cobra Talladega was a more aerodynamic version of the Ford Torino Cobra. Its sloped nose, smooth rear deck, rolled rocker panels and specially mounted front bumper helped the car slice through the air. During the 1969 season, Pearson took 11 wins and 42 top-five finishes in 51 starts. Ford won a total of 26 races that season including 11 consecutive wins between June 26 and Aug. 17. That year was the beginning of an era known as the "Aerowars," when Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Corporation competed to design the most aerodynamic car for NASCAR competition. The Ford model competed on both long and short tracks while the Chrysler counterparts were designed for use on speedways one mile or longer. The competition between the manufacturers continued through the 1970 season, with Ford taking the championship in 1969 and Chrysler in 1970.
Bobby Allison, a 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, drove the 1973 No. 12 Coca-Cola Chevrolet Chevelle marking his return to team ownership after driving with Junior Johnson’s team the previous season. Allison carried the coveted Coca-Cola sponsorship with him when he left Johnson's team. With his brother Eddie serving as crew chief, Allison drove the Chevrolet Chevelle to two wins with six poles and 15 top-five finishes in 27 starts during the 1973 season. Throughout his racing career, Allison was one of the most popular drivers on the circuit. And now, years after his retirement, he remains one of the most popular figures in the sport. Allison began his career on the short tracks of South Florida before moving to Alabama in the early 1960s. Allison, his brother Donnie and fellow Floridian Red Farmer made up what became known as "The Alabama Gang" as they traveled across the state picking up win after win. Allison ended his NASCAR premier series career in 1988 with the 1983 championship title and, according to NASCAR records, 84 victories.
Cale Yarborough, a 2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, drove the 1976 No. 11 Holly Farms Chevrolet Laguna S-3 to his first of three consecutive NASCAR titles. The Chevrolet Laguna S-3 was a specialized variation of the Chevrolet Chevelle that featured a slanted grill section and louvered rear side windows designed specifically for NASCAR competition. Team owner Junior Johnson contributed greatly to his team's success with engine enhancements to the car. Johnson was always an innovator experimenting with new technologies, which gave his team an advantage when NASCAR mandated a reduced engine size in 1974. By 1976, Johnson had discovered numerous performance secrets, and for several seasons his team was winning a third of the races held. During the 1976 season, Yarborough won nine races. Between Sept. 12 and Oct. 3, the team pulled off the rare feat of four consecutive victories. It was the beginning of a decade of dominance in NASCAR by the Junior Johnson team.
Richard "The King" Petty, a 2010 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, drove the 1979 No. 43 STP Chevrolet Monte Carlo to his seventh NASCAR championship. Petty was unhappy with the performance of his familiar Dodge in 1978 so he moved to Chevrolet midyear in an effort to be more competitive. Although this model looked large and bulky, it performed well anywhere it raced. Petty used the Monte Carlo on short and intermediate tracks and General Motor's more aerodynamic Oldsmobile Cutlass on superspeedways. The Monte Carlo was used until NASCAR mandated a downsized race car in the beginning of 1981. During his NASCAR premier series career, Petty racked up seven championship titles, 200 victories and seven Daytona 500 wins in his 1,185 starts. He retired from driving in 1992 and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 2010.
Darrell Waltrip, a 2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, drove the 1986 No. 11 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo Aerocoupe for team owner Junior Johnson. Fresh off winning the 1985 championship in a Monte Carlo, Waltrip was asked to drive the newly designed model called the Aerocoupe, which featured a large, extended rear window giving the car an aerodynamic advantage. Waltrip had three wins and finished second in points for the year. He continued to compete with this model until May 1989 when it was replaced by the Lumina. During his time behind the wheel of a Monte Carlo Aerocoupe, Waltrip won 12 races and got the biggest victory of his career, the 1989 Daytona 500.
Dale Earnhardt, a 2010 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, drove the 1990 No. 3 Goodwrench Chevrolet Lumina to his fourth NASCAR championship. The body style of the Lumina was introduced in mid-1989 replacing the highly successful Monte Carlo. The Lumina featured a smaller frontal area than previous models, which helped it cut through the air and gave it a competitive edge. Luminas also had V8 engines and rear wheel drive while showroom versions had V6 engines and front wheel drive, marking the first time the race car was a complete technological departure from the street version. In 1990, roof strips were added to NASCAR race cars including the Lumina in an effort to keep them on the ground in the event of a spin. During the 1990 season, "The Intimidator" had nine wins and four poles. From 1981 to 1991, Earnhardt was the most successful driver with four championships and 46 wins. Throughout his NASCAR premier series career, he racked up seven championships tying with Richard Petty for the most championship titles.
Gordon's breakout season was 1994, when he captured the first victory of his NASCAR premier series career in the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet Lumina. At age 22, he was on track to become a NASCAR superstar. His first win was the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the longest on the NASCAR schedule. Gordon started the race from the pole position and led the first lap but then sat back like a wily veteran. He bided his time and kept the leaders in sight realizing the length of the race would take a toll on his equipment. With nine laps remaining, Gordon passed Ricky Rudd for the lead and held on for his first of 88 victories. His margin of victory was nearly four seconds over Rusty Wallace. In Victory Lane, Gordon celebrated with his crew, his team owner Rick Hendrick and his crew chief Ray Evernham.
Rusty Wallace, a 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, drove the 2000 No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Taurus to his 50th career victory at the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, the same track where he had his first career win in 1986. During the 2000 season with team owner Roger Penske, Wallace picked up four wins and led all drivers with nine poles. Wallace began his NASCAR premier series career in 1980 making a bold statement by finishing second for the season. Over the years, he became known as a master of the short tracks. During his NASCAR premier series career, Wallace racked up the 1989 championship title, 55 victories and finished in the top 10 in points for 17 of his 22 full seasons as a driver. He retired from driving in 2005 and became a respected broadcaster.
Bill Elliott drove the 2001 No. 9 Dodge Intrepid R/T, marking Chrysler Corporations return to NASCAR competition after nearly a quarter of a century. Dodge asked renowned crew chief Ray Evernham to help bring the brand back to the sport. Evernham signed 1988 NASCAR champion Bill Elliott, a NASCAR veteran and a master of the superspeedways, as the lead driver for the team. The Dodge Intrepid was extensively tested in the wind tunnel before hitting the racetrack to ensure the car was aerodynamically competitive. The car made its debut at the 2001 Daytona 500 and was immediately successful with Bill Elliott setting the pole speed at 183.565 mph and finishing in the top five. The first win in a points-paying race for the new team came at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November 2001. During the 2001 season, Elliott had one win, two poles, four top-five finishes and nine top-10 finishes. Since the beginning of his NASCAR premier series career in 1976, Elliott has captured 44 wins and 55 poles in his more than 700 starts.
Jimmie Johnson drove the 2006 No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the final race of the season on Nov. 19, 2006, capturing his first of six championship titles. During the 2006 season, Johnson picked up five wins and 24 top-10 finishes in his 36 starts. He came to the Ford 400 with a 63-point lead over Matt Kenseth. Johnson started the race in 15th and had a conservative run only leading for two laps of the race. He finished ninth and beat Kenseth for the championship title by 56 points. He was virtually unstoppable for the next four seasons racking up an amazing five consecutive championships. With the help of his crew chief Chad Knaus and team owner Rick Hendrick, Johnson found Victory Lane a total of 66 times from his first win in 2002 through 2013. On Nov. 17, 2013, Johnson won his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship within eight years, an unprecedented achievement in the history of NASCAR.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove the 2008 No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet Impala SS during his first year with Hendrick Motorsports. He excited his fan base by winning the non-points Gatorade Duel, a Daytona 500 qualifying race and his first race with the team. He went on to win the Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Speedway later that year. The new Chevrolet Impala SS was known as a "COT," or Car of Tomorrow, because of its advanced safety features and stability. NASCAR Research and Development took the lead in designing the Chevrolet Impala SS. The car featured the universal chassis used by all teams but had a customized engine, nose and tail sections, and side windows. It also featured a large rear wing and a splitter mounted on the front for advanced handling and aero-adjustment options. Added safety features included a taller roof for easier entry and exit for the driver, energy-absorbing foam panels on the doors and a seat that was set several inches to the center of the car.
Tony Stewart drove the 2011 No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet Impala to victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the final race of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. He came to the Ford 400 locked in a tight point battle with Carl Edwards, who was ahead by three points. Edwards won the pole and Stewart started at a distant 15th. During the high-stakes race, Edwards came to the front several times, but Stewart took the lead at lap 123 and then for good on lap 232 of the 267-lap event. Stewart beat Edwards to the line by 1.3 seconds for his 44th career victory. In an unprecedented event, both Stewart and Edwards tied with 2,403 points for the season. The tie was broken based on the number of wins each driver acquired during the year. Tony Stewart was awarded his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship with five wins for 2011 while Edwards, with one win, came home second.
Matt Kenseth drove the 2013 No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry during his first year with Joe Gibbs Racing. The inaugural year of the Gen-6 car was a successful year for Kenseth—he earned the most wins with seven, had 12 top-five finishes, 20 top-10 finishes and came in second in points. It was his best season since he won the Winston Cup (now NASCAR Sprint Cup Series) championship in 2003. The new Gen-6 car featured stock-appearing bodies in an effort to put the "stock" back in stock car. The body panels came from the manufacturer as they did in past generations. The hood and rear deck lid were made from carbon fiber for strength and a lighter weight. Extra bars were added to the interior of the car for safety—one bar runs from the floor to the top of the windshield and another runs along the top of the windshield giving extra support to the roll cage and the frame.