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2014

2014 Nominees

Class of 2014 Inductees

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced a history-rich list of 25 Nominees for the 2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of Inductees. Click on a thumbnail below to read the selected Nominee's bio.

Red Byron - Driver (b. 3/12/15 - d. 11/11/60)

Red Byron - Driver (b. 3/12/15 - d. 11/11/60)

Hometown: Anniston, Ala.
Premier Series Stats
Competed: 1949-1951
Starts: 15
Wins: 2
Poles: 2

Robert “Red” Byron was there at the outset, to say the least. Byron won the sanctioning body’s first race in 1948, on the Daytona beach-road course. He went on in ’48 to win NASCAR’s first season championship – in the NASCAR Modified Division. The following year he won NASCAR’s first Strictly Stock title – the precursor to today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – driving for car owner Raymond Parks. The Strictly Stock schedule had eight races; Byron won two of them. Wounded in World War II, Byron drove with a special brace attached to the clutch pedal, to assist an injured leg – making his accomplishments even more impressive. That injury contributed to Byron’s relatively brief career, after which he continued to be involved in motorsports. When he died in 1960 at the age of 45, Byron had branched out, striving to make more history, by developing an American car capable of winning the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car event. In 1998, he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers, recognition of a highly significant career, the relative brevity of it notwithstanding.

Richard Childress - Owner (b. 9/21/45)

Richard Childress - Owner (b. 9/21/45)

Hometown: Winston-Salem, N.C.
Premier Series Owner Stats
Competed: 1969-present
Starts: XX
Wins: X
Poles: X

Richard Childress, long before he became one of the preeminent car owners in NASCAR history, was a race car driver himself, with limited means. Still, he persevered, which is what you do when you purchase your first race 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, seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt, who won six championships and 67 races between 1984-2000 for RCR. But Childress has had other successes. In addition to Earnhardt’s championships, Childress drivers have given him five others. His total of 11 national series owner championships is second all-time. Childress was the first NASCAR owner to win championships in all three of NASCAR’s national series. Along the way, Childress has excelled off the track. He was one of the first owners to recognize the market potential for race team collectables. In recent years he established his own winery in North Carolina. And in 2008, Childress was recognized for his role in establishing the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. That $20 race car seems a light year away.

Jerry Cook - Driver (b. 6/20/43)

Jerry Cook - Driver (b. 6/20/43)

Hometown: Rome, N.Y.
Modified Series Stats
Competed: 1963-1982
Starts: 1,474
Wins: 342
Poles: 26

Jerry Cook made his name in modifieds, winning six NASCAR Modified championships, including four consecutively from 1974-77. All the while, he was vying with another driver from his hometown of Rome, N.Y., nine-time champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans, for supremacy in NASCAR’s open-wheel realm. The rivalry was home-grown – and intense. Modified racing is NASCAR's oldest form of competition – the staple of the very first NASCAR season in 1948. Cook has said the cars’ appeal was based on that history and the fact that the racing is unique within NASCAR. After retiring from racing in 1982, Cook stayed with the sport and helped shape the series known today as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Cook served as the series’ director when it began in 1985 and remains with NASCAR as competition administrator. In 1998, he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.

H. Clay Earles - Promoter (b. 8/11/13 - d. 11/16/99)

H. Clay Earles - Promoter (b. 8/11/13 - d. 11/16/99)

Hometown: Martinsville, Va.
Career Highlights
Opened Martinsville Speedway in 1947
Chairman of the Board and CEO of Martinsville Speedway

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 – 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 speedway has grown from a dusty, primitive operation into a multi-million dollar facility covering over 340 acres. It’s been called "two drag strips with short turns" due to the 800-foot straights and tight turns banked at only 12 degrees. Martinsville has been called ''the Augusta National of auto racing.'' Earles had roses climbing the outhouses and azaleas in the turns. 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 November 16, 1999 as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the speedway.

Tim Flock - Driver (b. 5/11/24 - d. 3/31/98)

Tim Flock - Driver (b. 5/11/24 - d. 3/31/98)

Hometown: Fort Payne, Ala.
Premier Series Stats
Competed: 1949-1961
Starts: 187
Wins: 39
Poles: 38

A two-time NASCAR premier series champion, Flock was one of the sport’s first dominant drivers. In 187 starts, Flock had 39 victories, a total that still ranks 18th on the all-time wins list. Flock won his first series title in 1952 while driving Ted Chester’s Hudson Hornet, and his second in 1955 driving Carl Kiekhaefer’s Chrysler. He dominated that season, posting 18 wins, 32 top fives and 18 poles in 39 races. Flock’s 18 wins stood as a single-season victory record until Richard Petty surpassed it with 27 wins in 1967.

Ray Fox - Builder/Owner/Race Official (b. 5/28/16)

Ray Fox - Builder/Owner/Race Official (b. 5/28/16)

Hometown: Daytona Beach, Fla.
Premier Series Owner Stats
Competed: 1962-1974
Starts: 200
Wins: 14
Poles: 16

A New England native, Ray Fox saw his first automobile race at the 2-mile board track at Rockingham Park near Salem, N.H. Following service in the U.S. Army in World War II, Fox moved to Daytona Beach, Fla. to work as an auto mechanic. Fox built the engine in the Buick driven by Fireball Roberts which led the 1955 Daytona Road & Beach Course wire-to-wire. Roberts, however, was disqualified after it was determined that the car’s mechanic, Red Vogt, had modified the pushrods. In 1956 Fox went to work for Carl Kiekhaefer whose Chrysler 300 cars won 22 of the season’s first 26 race and was named mechanic of the year. In 1960, Fox built the Chevrolet in which NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson won the Daytona 500. Rookie of the year and NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson won three times in 1960 driving Fox-built Pontiacs. In 1962, Fox became a car owner. He won nine times with Johnson and twice – including the 1964 Southern 500 – with Buck Baker. Others who competed in Fox’s cars included NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough, Fred Lorenzen, Buddy Baker and Charlie Glotzbach. Fox retired in the early 1970s but in 1990 accepted the role of NASCAR’s engine inspector, a position he held until his second retirement at the age of 80 in 1996. He continues to live in Daytona Beach.

Anne B. France - Executive (b. 10/27/04 - d. 1/2/92)

Anne B. France - Executive (b. 10/27/04 - d. 1/2/92)

Hometown: Nathan’s Creek, N.C.
Career Highlights
Secretary and treasurer of NASCAR
Secretary and treasurer of International Speedway Corporation

Behind every great man… The rest of that old adage applies perfectly to Anne Bledsoe, as she was known until she married a Washington, D.C. native named Bill France. They met at a dance at Children's Hospital in the nation's capital, and were married in 1931. They arrived in Daytona Beach, Fla., in 1934. Bill France, aka “Big Bill,” had a mind for business, and his wife owned a knack for finance. The pair would team to create what today is one of the largest and most popular sports in the world. Anne France played a huge role in the family business. He 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.

Rick Hendrick - Ownder (b. 7/12/49)

Rick Hendrick - Owner (b. 7/12/49)

Hometown: Palmer Sprints, Va.
Premier Series Owner Stats
Competed: 1984-present
Starts:XX
Wins: X
Poles: X

The founder and owner of Hendrick Motorsports, Rick Hendrick’s organization is recognized as one of NASCAR’s most successful. A longtime racing enthusiast and driver himself, Hendrick owned drag-racing boat teams that won three championships before founding “All-Star Racing,” the team that would evolve into Hendrick Motorsports, in 1984. Hendrick Motorsports owns an all-time record 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car owner championship titles – five with Johnson, four with Gordon and one with Terry Labonte. Hendrick also has 13 total NASCAR national-series car-owner championships, which is most in NASCAR history. Gordon and Labonte combined to win four consecutive titles from 1995-98. In 2010, Johnson won a record-extending fifth consecutive championship. Some of NASCAR’s most prominent drivers have driven for Hendrick. Geoff Bodine was the first, snaring the organization’s first victory on April 29, 1984, at Martinsville Speedway. The late Tim Richmond, three-time series champion Darrell Waltrip and the late Benny Parsons, the 1973 series champion, also are Hendrick alumni. Ricky Craven, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader, Joe Nemechek and Kyle Busch are other well-known drivers who have driven for Hendrick. Hendrick and his wife, Linda, reside in North Carolina.

Jack Ingram - Driver (b. 12/28/36)

Jack Ingram - Driver (b. 12/28/36)

Hometown: Asheville, N.C.
Busch/Nationwide Series Stats
Competed: 1982-1991
Starts: 275
Wins: 31
Poles: 5

The NASCAR Nationwide Series has had a variety of incarnations through the years but when considered collectively, an argument can be made that Jack Ingram is the series’ all-time greatest driver. Before the formation of the series, Ingram won three consecutive championships, from 1972-74, in its precursor – the Late Model Sportsman Division. When the NASCAR Busch Series was formed, he won the inaugural title in 1982 and again in ’85. In his 10 years of competition in what was called the NASCAR Busch Series, Ingram had 31 wins, a record that stood until Mark Martin broke it in 1997. All but two of Ingram’s 31 wins came on short tracks.

Bobby Issac - Driver (b. 8/1/32 - d. 8/14/77)

Bobby Issac - Driver (b. 8/1/32 - d. 8/14/77)

Hometown: Catawba, N.C.
Premier Series Stats
Competed: 1961-1976
Starts: 309
Wins: 37
Poles: 49

Bobby Isaac knew one speed: Fast. His uncanny skill at qualifying a race car proves that. His 49 career poles ranks tied for ninth all-time. Maybe more impressive: Isaac captured 19 poles in 1969, which still stands as the record for poles in a single season. Only 37 drivers have 19 or more poles in their entire career. Isaac began racing in NASCAR’s premier series in 1961. He finished runner-up in the series standings in 1968 behind NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson. In 1969 he finished sixth in the standings after posting 17 wins and those 19 poles. In his breakthrough season, 1970, Isaac won the championship posting 11 victories, 32 top fives and 38 top 10s in 47 starts. A year later, in September 1971, he set 28 world-class records on the Bonneville Salt Flats in his Dodge. Many of his records exist to this day. Isaac won 37 races in NASCAR's top series during his career, which ranks 19th on the all-time wins list. In 1998, Isaac was named one NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.

Dale Jarrett - Driver (b. 11/26/56)

Dale Jarrett - Driver (b. 11/26/56)

Hometown: Hickory, N.C.
Premier Series Stats
Competed: 1984-2008
Starts: 668
Wins: 32
Poles: 16

Dale Jarrett personified big-stage performances. A three-time Daytona 500 winner and two-time winner of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jarrett excelled under NASCAR’s brightest spotlights. 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, and recorded six additional top-five championship finishes. 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. Ned and Dale Jarrett become the third father-son duo selected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, following Bill France Sr. and Bill France Jr., and Lee and Richard Petty.

Fred Lorenzen - Driver (b. 12/30/34)

Fred Lorenzen - Driver (b. 12/30/34)

Hometown: Elmhurst, Ill.
Premier Series Stats
Competed: 1956-1972
Starts: 158
Wins: 26
Poles: 32

Fred Lorenzen was one of NASCAR’s first true superstars even though he was a “part-time” driver never running more than 29 of the season’s 50-plus races. Lorenzen got his start in NASCAR as a mechanic with the famed Holman-Moody team in 1960, but was elevated to lead driver by the end of the year. Lorenzen won three races in only 15 starts the following season. Lorenzen’s best overall season came in 1963 as he finished with six wins, 21 top fives and 23 top 10s in 29 starts. Despite missing 26 races that season, he finished third in the standings. In 1964, he entered 16 of the scheduled 62 races but won eight, including five consecutive starts. During that stretch, Lorenzen led 1,679 of the possible 1,953 laps, one of the most dominant runs in NASCAR history. In 1965, he won two of NASCAR’s major events – the Daytona 500 and the World 600. Lorenzen retired in 1967 but made a brief comeback from 1970-72. Lorenzen was an extremely popular driver with fans, to the point that he had several nicknames – “Golden Boy,” “Fearless Freddie” and “The Elmhurst Express.” In 1998, he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.

Raymond Parks - Owner (b. 6/5/14 - d. 6/20/10)

Raymond Parks - Owner (b. 6/5/14 - d. 6/20/10)

Hometown: Dawson County, Ga.
Premier Series Owner Stats
Competed: 1949-1955
Starts: 18
Wins: 2
Poles: 2

Raymond Parks is one of stock-car racing’s earliest – and most successful – team owners. 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 premier series title in 1949 in a Parks-owned car. Though Parks’ team competed for only four seasons – 1949, 1950, 1954 and 1955 – his place in NASCAR history is secure. Parks’ team produced two wins, two poles, 11 top fives and 12 top 10s in 18 events. Drivers Red Byron, Bob Flock and Roy Hall drove his cars during the 1949 season. Byron drove for him again in 1950. Fonty Flock drove for Parks in 1954, and Curtis Turner drove for him in 1955. Parks retired from racing in the mid-1950s.

Benny Parsons - Driver (b. 7/12/41 - d. 1/16/07)

Benny Parsons - Driver (b. 7/12/41 - d. 1/16/07)

Hometown: Detroit, Mich.
Premier Series Stats
Competed: 1964-1988
Starts: 526
Wins: 21
Poles: 20

Benny Parsons, a Wilkes County, N.C.-native who called Detroit home after driving a taxi for a living during his years in the northern city, won the 1973 NASCAR premier series championship in one of the most dramatic fashions in series history. Parsons could be called an everyman champion: winning enough to be called one of the sport’s stars but nearly always finishing well when he wasn’t able to reach Victory Lane. He won 21 times in 526 career starts but finished among the top 10 283 times – a 54 percent ratio. One of Parsons’ biggest victories came in the 1975 Daytona 500. He also was the first driver to qualify a stock car at more than 200 mph (200.176) in 1982 at Talladega Superspeedway. He was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. 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 passing in 2007, at the age of 65.

Maurice Petty - Engine Builder (b. 3/27/39)

Maurice Petty - Engine Builder (b. 3/27/39)

Hometown: Randleman, N.C.
Career Highlights
Brief driving career from 1960-1964
Chief engine builder at Petty Enterprises

The chief engine builder at Petty Enterprises, Maurice Petty becomes the fourth member of the dynasty to be chosen for membership in the NASCAR Hall of Fame – following his older brother Richard, father Lee and his cousin Dale Inman. The man simply called “Chief” supplied the horsepower that propelled Richard Petty to a majority of his record 200 NASCAR victories, plus his seven NASCAR premier series championships and seven Daytona 500 victories. Lee Petty, Buddy Baker, Jim Paschal and Pete Hamilton were also among those who 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.

Larry Phillips - Driver (b. 7/3/42 - d. 9/21/04)

Larry Phillips - Driver (b. 7/3/42 - d. 9/21/04)

Hometown: Springfield, Mo.
Weekly Series Stats
Competed: 1989-2001
Starts: 308
Wins: 226
Poles: N/A

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.

Les Richter - Executive/Promoter (b. 10/6/30 - d. 6/12/10)

Les Richter - Executive/Promoter (b. 10/6/30 - d. 6/12/10)

Hometown: Riverside, Calif.
Career Highlights
President and general manager of Riverside International Raceway
Executive vice president of competition and senior vice president of operations for NASCAR
Vice president for special projects for Auto Club Speedway

Les Richter achieved extraordinary success as both a NASCAR executive and a National Football League defensive star. After becoming an All-American and All-Pro as a hard-nosed lineman and linebacker, Richter, a native of Fresno, Calif., brought an incomparable work ethic to the world of motorsports. His second career began in 1959 at Riverside International Raceway, where he quickly rose to become president and general manager in 1961. Richter, affectionately known as “Coach” throughout the motorsports industry, came to NASCAR in 1983 and evolved into one of the most important advisors to then-NASCAR Chairman/CEO Bill France Jr. as NASCAR’s popularity expanded. Richter was named NASCAR's executive vice president of competition in 1986 and the senior vice president of operations in 1992. His last job in motorsports was as vice president of special projects for Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., a track he helped come into existence and then become established as a big-time facility. Richter was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in February of this year. Richter passed away in 2010 at the age of 79.

Fireball Roberts - Driver (b. 1/20/29 - d. 7/2/64)

Fireball Roberts - Driver (b. 1/20/29 - d. 7/2/64)

Hometown: Daytona Beach, Fla.
Premier Series Stats
Competed: 1950-1964
Starts: 207
Wins: 33
Poles: 32

Glenn Roberts, who got his legendary nickname from his days as a hard-throwing pitcher in high school, is perhaps the greatest driver never to win a NASCAR title. He was arguably stock car racing’s first superstar, an immensely popular prototype for some of today’s competitors who are stars on and off the track. During his career he often came up big in the biggest events, winning the Daytona 500 in 1962 and the Southern 500 in 1958 and 1963. Overall, he won seven races at Daytona International Speedway, starting with the Firecracker 250 in the summer of 1959—the year the speedway opened.

T. Wayne Robertson - Promoter (b. 8/27/49 - d. 1/14/98)

T. Wayne Robertson - Promoter (b. 8/27/49 - d. 1/14/98)

Hometown: Winston-Salem, N.C.
Career Highlights
Senior vice president at R.J. Reynolds/president of R.J. Reynold’s Sports Marketing Enterprises (SME) division
Oversaw the creation of The Winston—now known as the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race

T. Wayne Robertson is renowned for taking R.J. Reynolds’ sponsorship of NASCAR’s premier series – then called NASCAR Winston Cup, now NASCAR Sprint Cup – to a new level of success. Robertson held dual roles of senior vice president at R.J. Reynolds and president of the company’s Sports Marketing Enterprises (SME) division which managed sponsorships in NASCAR, the NHRA, Senior PGA Tour and other entities. He had a distinguished 27-year career in sports marketing, the last 14 heading SME. Robertson followed the legendary Ralph Seagraves as Reynolds’ point man with NASCAR. Among his many accomplishments was overseeing the creation of what is now known as the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race – originally called The Winston. The foundation of his marketing approach was simple – and effective. Robertson was all about partnerships and the resulting relationships that enabled all partners to benefit. Robertson joined the R.J. Reynolds organization in 1971 as an administrative trainee and show car driver. A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., Robertson earned an associate degree from Rowan Technical Institute. Robertson died in a boating accident in 1998 at age 48.

Wendell Scott - Driver/Owner (b. 8/29/21 - d. 12/23/90)

Wendell Scott - Driver/Owner (b. 8/29/21 - d. 12/23/90)

Hometown: Danville, Va.
Premier Series Stats
Competed: 1961-1973
Starts: 495
Wins: 1
Poles: 1

Wendell Scott wasn’t the first African-American to compete in NASCAR’s premier division. But the Danville, Va. native, whose career on wheels began as a taxi driver, was the first of his race to become a full-time competitor in the series. Scott served three years in the U.S. Army during World War II where he honed his mechanical skills in the motor pool. Scott started racing in 1947 and experienced immediate success behind the wheel. He won over 100 races in the next decade at local area tracks. Scott made his first start in NASCAR’s premier series March 4, 1961 at Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds in Spartanburg, S.C. He made 23 starts that season, posting five top-five finishes. On Dec. 1, 1963 at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Fla., Scott became the first African-American to win a NASCAR premier series event. Scott won the 100-mile feature race after starting 15th. Over the next 13 years, Scott would make 495 starts, which ranks 32nd on the all-time list. In his distinguished career, Scott accumulated 20 top-five finishes including eight of them in the same season he won his first career race, 1964. Scott also posted 147 top-10 finishes, more than 25 percent of the races he entered.

Ralph Seagraves - Promoter (b. 4/21/29 - d. 9/27/98)

Ralph Seagraves - Promoter (b. 4/21/29 - d. 9/27/98)

Hometown: Winston-Salem, N.C.
Career Highlights
An official with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
Helped establish the sponsorship of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series

Ralph Seagraves’ life – and NASCAR’s world – changed the moment he met NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson. In the late 1960s, Seagraves, an official with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, had been searching for a means to market cigarettes after the federal government banned RJR’s products from advertising on television and radio. Johnson, ever the entrepreneur, had an idea. How about RJR sponsor his cars? Seagraves had a bigger idea: Why not sponsor NASCAR’s top series? And so, in 1971, for the first time since its inception in 1949, NASCAR’s premier series had major corporate backing. The NASCAR Winston Cup Series was born. The partnership helped NASCAR launch into the national spotlight, and created a bedrock of stability for the next three decades. RJR’s Winston brand sponsored NASCAR’s top series for more than 30 years, ending in 2003. Under Seagraves leadership, RJR helped a number of race track operators refurbish their facilities, many of which were short tracks that ran NASCAR Winston Racing Series races, part of the sport’s developmental program. He retired from R.J. Reynolds in 1986.

Bruton Smith - Executive/Promoter (b. 3/3/27)

Bruton Smith - Executive/Promoter (b. 3/3/27)

Hometown: Oakboro, N.C.
Career Highlights
Helped build Charlotte Motor Speedway
Chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc. taking them public in 1995 becoming the first motorsports company traded in the New York Stock Exchange

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.

Curtis Turner - Driver (b. 4/12/24 - d. 10/4/70)

Curtis Turner - Driver (b. 4/12/24 - d. 10/4/70)

Hometown: Roanoke, Va.
Premier Series Stats
Competed: 1949-1968
Starts: 184
Wins: 17
Poles: 16

Called by some the “Babe Ruth of stock car racing,” Curtis Turner was among the fastest and most colorful competitors in the early years of NASCAR premier series racing. Turner posted his first of 17 career victories in only his fourth start on Sept. 11, 1949, at Langhorne (Pa.) Speedway. Although many of Turner’s victories came on short tracks and dirt ovals – much of his career pre-dated NASCAR’s superspeedway era – he won the 1956 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway and the first American 500 at Rockingham Speedway in 1965. He also won 38 of 79 races in which he competed in the NASCAR Convertible Division. Turner competed in NASCAR’s first “Strictly Stock” race in 1949 in Charlotte and was the only driver to win a NASCAR premier series race in a Nash. He remains the only series driver to win two consecutive races from the pole leading every lap. Turner drove for many legendary NASCAR owners including the Wood Brothers, Junior Johnson, Smokey Yunick and Holman-Moody. Turner was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.

Joe Weatherly - Driver (b. 5/29/22 - d. 1/19/64)

Joe Weatherly - Driver (b. 5/29/22 - d. 1/19/64)

Hometown: Norfolk, Va.
Premier Series Stats
Competed: 1952-1964
Starts: 229
Wins: 25
Poles: 18

Joe Weatherly won two championships (1962-63) and 25 races in NASCAR’s premier series. But that’s only part of his story, which is long on versatility. A decade earlier in 1952-53, he won 101 races in the NASCAR Modified division, capturing that championship in 1953. He even tried his hand in NASCAR’s short-lived Convertible Division from 1956-59 winning 12 times. Weatherly was one of the first drivers who attracted fans to NASCAR as much for his personality as his racing ability, thus his nickname the “Clown Prince of Stock Car Racing.” When he won his first NASCAR premier series championship, in 1962, he drove for legendary owner Bud Moore. When he repeated as champion a year later, he drove for nine different teams. Those were the only two years Weatherly competed in the premier series full-time. Weatherly was named one of the NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.

Rex White - Driver/Owner (b. 8/17/29)

Rex White - Driver/Owner (b. 8/17/29)

Hometown: Spartanburg, S.C.
Premier Series Stats
Competed: 1956-1964
Starts: 233
Wins: 28
Poles: 36

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.

Images courtesy of ISC Archives/Getty Images