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Beginning with the 2015 class, the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR was introduced to honor significant contributions to the growth and esteem of NASCAR.
Potential Landmark Award recipients could include competitors or those working in the sport as a member of a racing organization, track facility, race team, sponsor, media partner or being a general ambassador for the sport through a professional or non-professional role. Award winners will remain eligible for NASCAR Hall of Fame enshrinement.
Five nominees will be selected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominating Committee and then be voted on by the Voting Panel. To win the award, an individual must appear on at least 60 percent of the ballots and no more than one award will be presented annually. Voting for this award will occur immediately following the voting for the NASCAR Hall of Fame class and be monitored by the same independent accounting firm that oversees NASCAR Hall of Fame voting.
A special plaque honoring the Landmark Award winner in the Hall of Honor is revealed as part of the Induction Weekend events each year.
Throughout his career, Jim Hunter left an indelible mark on NASCAR and those associated with the sport. His wit and wisdom helped guide NASCAR’s growth during portions of six decades as a company executive, track president, public relations professional and journalist. Hunter broke into the motorsports business as a member of the media in the 1950s. He worked as the sports editor of the Columbia Record, was an award-winning reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and columnist for Stock Car Racing magazine. He moved to the public relations side of the business with Dodge in the 1960s before serving as public relations director at Darlington Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway. In 1983, Hunter was named NASCAR vice president of administration. In 1993, he became president of Darlington Raceway and corporate vice president of the International Speedway Corporation. He remained at Darlington until 2001 when he accepted an offer from Bill France Jr. to return to NASCAR to lead an expanded public relations effort aimed at responding to the needs of burgeoning media coverage. Many drivers and industry executives credit Hunter’s mentorship as the key to their NASCAR success.
Jim France grew up in the early years of stock car racing, living and learning every detail of the sport from his own experiences and from his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer William H.G. “Big Bill” France (2010), the founder and first president of NASCAR; and brother, NASCAR Hall of Famer William C. “Bill Jr.” France (2010), NASCAR’s former president, chairman and CEO. Joining ISC in 1959, Jim France worked in all phases of operations in his early years with the company. He was elected to the ISC board in 1970 and has served as the company’s secretary, assistant treasurer, vice president, chief operating officer, executive vice president, president and, now, chairman. He has been involved in motorsports most of his life: In 1999, he founded GRAND-AM Road Racing; and in 2012, he was the driving force behind the merger of GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series, which began operation as one entity in 2014. With a deep passion for the fan experience, France led the DAYTONA RISING project, a $400 million renovation that made Daytona International Speedway the world’s first motorsports stadium.
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 premier series races every year since the series’ inception in 1949. The speedway held its first race on Sept. 7, 1947 – three months before the creation of NASCAR. That initial race drew more than 6,000 fans to the track, which had just 750 seats ready. Built as a dirt track, the .526-mile asphalt and concrete speedway has grown from a dusty, primitive operation into a multimillion-dollar facility covering over 340 acres. The track’s unique paperclip shape makes it especially challenging, with 800-foot straights and tight turns banked at only 12 degrees. 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. Earles passed away on Nov. 16, 1999, as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the speedway.
Laughs. Those were the only responses elicited by Harold Brasington when he showed members of his Darlington, S.C. community plans to build a superspeedway in the small southern farm town. But Brasington had the last laugh. The South Carolina businessman, who believed in Bill France’s fledgling NASCAR business, created the sanctioning body’s first superspeedway - a one-of-a-kind egg-shaped oval, paved on an old cotton and peanut field. Expecting 10,000 fans to show up at Darlington Raceway’s first competition on Labor Day of 1950, 25,000 spectators showed up for the inaugural Southern 500 – NASCAR’s first 500-mile race. A mega-event was born. Darlington's success inspired Brasington to extend his reach north -- to North Carolina. He employed his track building and promoting expertise, helping in the creation of Charlotte Motor Speedway and building North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham, North Carolina.
Anne Bledsoe France, paired with her husband, NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., would create what today is one of the largest and most popular sports in the world. Anne played a huge role in the family business. Bill organized and promoted races and she took care of the financial end of the business. She first served as secretary and treasurer of NASCAR, and when Daytona International Speedway opened in 1959, she served in the same roles for International Speedway Corporation. She also managed the speedway's ticket office. France remained active in family and business life until her passing in 1992.