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2016

NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Class of 2016
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.

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

Bobby Isaac - 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.

Terry Labonte - Driver (b. 11/16/58)

Terry Labonte - Driver (b. 11/16/58)

Hometown: Corpus Christi, TX
Premier Series Stats
Competed: 1978-current
Starts: 881
Wins: 22
Poles: 27

Terry Labonte is a two-nickname NASCAR star. Early in his career he was known as the “Iceman” for his coolness under pressure. But his demeanor belied his determination. Later in his career he became known as the sport’s “Iron Man” due to a record 665 consecutive starts in NASCAR’s premier series, a record which stood until 2002. Two more items to consider when assessing the Labonte legacy: the two premier series championships he won in 1984 and ’96. Two titles would be impressive enough; the 12-year gap distinguishes them further. No other driver has won his first two championships that far apart and Labonte is one of only six drivers to have won premier series championships in two decades. Labonte, from Corpus Christi, Texas – the first driver from outside the Southeast to win the premier series title since New Yorker Bill Rexford in 1950 – was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Great Drivers in 1998, coinciding with the sport’s 50th anniversary. He also was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 along with his younger brother Bobby Labonte, the 2000 champion of NASCAR’s premier series.

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

O. Bruton Smith - Executive/Promoter (b. 3/2/27)

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.

Landmark Award Winner

Harold Brasington (b. 5/10/09 - d. 2/4/96)

Harold Brasington (b. 5/10/09 - d. 2/4/96)

Hometown: Darlington, S.C.

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.

Squier-Hall Award Winner

Steve Byrnes (b. 5/10/09 - d. 2/4/96)

Steve Byrnes (b. 4/14/59 - d. 4/21/2015)

From 2001-14, Byrnes served as a pit reporter for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races on FOX. He also served as a studio show host and appeared on various programs. Prior to joining FOX, Byrnes hosted a variety of NASCAR programs including Inside Winston Cup Racing with Ned Jarrett and Darrell Waltrip’s Racers on TNN. He also worked as a pit reporter for CBS, TNN and TBS. His courageous battle with cancer served as an inspiration to the NASCAR industry, fans and his peers. In April, shortly before his passing, Bristol Motor Speedway named its Sprint Cup race the Food City 500 In Support of Steve Byrnes and Stand up to Cancer.

2016 Nominees

Buddy Baker - Driver (b. 3/12/15 - d. 11/11/60)

Buddy Baker - Driver (b. 3/25/41 - d. 8.10.15)

Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
Premier Series Stats
Competed: 1959-1992
Starts: 699
Wins: 19
Poles: 38

At six feet, six inches tall, Buddy Baker was often called the “Gentle Giant,” however, the nickname “Leadfoot” was more apropos due to the blistering speeds he often achieved during his 33-year career. In 1980, the Charlotte, N.C., native won the Daytona 500 with an average race speed of 177.602 mph – a track record that still stands. That same year, Baker became the first driver to eclipse the 200-mph mark on a closed course while testing at Talladega Superspeedway. Although he didn’t win at the 2.66-mile superspeedway in 1970, Baker won there four times throughout his stellar career. In 1979, Baker, the son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker, won the inaugural pre-season event now known as the Sprint Unlimited. He won 19 wins in the premier series, including a victory in the 1970 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway where he lapped the rest of the field. He also won back-to-back World 600s at Charlotte in 1972-73. After retiring in 1992, Baker made a successful transition to the television booth as a commentator for The Nashville Network and CBS, and later as a radio co-host on Late Shift and Tradin’ Paint for SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

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 (stats as of 8/13/15)
Starts: 2,579   
Wins: 105
Poles: 47

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 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, inaugural NASCAR Hall of Famer 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.

Ray Evernham - Crew Chief (b. 8/26/57)

Ray Evernham - Crew Chief (b. 8/26/57)

Hometown: Hazlet, N.J.
Premier Series Crew Chief Stats
Competed: 1992-1999
Starts: 213
Wins: 49
Poles: 30

In the 1992 season finale, a young driver and crew chief pairing made their NASCAR premier series debut. Less than a decade later, Jeff Gordon and Ray Evernham were in the record books. Evernham guided Gordon and the No. 24 team to three championships in four seasons (1995, ’97, ’98), and a series-leading 49 wins in the 1990’s. Among their triumphs were two Daytona 500s (1997, ’99) and two Brickyard 400s (1994, ’98). Matching Evernham’s mechanical prowess was his innovation on pit road. Under his direction, the “Rainbow Warriors” revolutionized the art of the pit stop. In 2001, Evernham tried his hand at ownership, leading the return of Dodge to NASCAR. His drivers won 13 times, including Bill Elliott’s triumph in the 2002 Brickyard 400. After selling majority ownership of his team in 2007, Evernham worked for ESPN as a race analyst before joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2014 as a consultant for its competition department.

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

Ray Fox - Builder/Owner/Race Official (b. 5/28/16 - d. 6/15/14)

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. 

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

Rick Hendrick - Owner (b. 7/12/49)

Hometown: Palmer Springs, Va.
Premier Series Owner Stats
Competed: 1984-present (stats as of 8/13/15)
Starts: 3,498
Wins: 237
Poles: 204

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.

Harry Hyde - Crew Chief (b. 1/17/25 - d. 5/13/96)

Harry Hyde - Crew Chief (b. 1/17/25 - d. 5/13/96)

Hometown: Brownsville, Ky.
Premier Series Crew Chief Stats
Competed: 1966-1993
Wins: 56
Poles: 88

Harry Hyde was so good, they made a movie about him. Hyde, who inspired Robert Duvall’s character Harry Hogge in the cinematic classic Days of Thunder, enjoyed a nearly three-decade career in NASCAR’s premier series. During that tenure, his incredible leadership skills translated to immense success – even to the greenest of drivers. Prior to guiding Dave Marcis, Neil Bonnett and Geoff Bodine to their first career wins and harnessing the talent of Tim Richmond, Hyde laid a championship foundation with fellow NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Bobby Isaac. In 1969, Hyde called the shots for Isaac’s 17-win season, which ranks among the most prolific seasons in the history of the sport. That year, Isaac also won 19 poles, which still stands as a NASCAR premier series record. Hyde’s crowning achievement came in 1970, when he won the NASCAR premier series championship with Isaac, winning 11 times and capturing 32 top fives in 47 starts.

Alan Kulwicki - Driver (b. 12/14/54 - d. 4/1/93)

Alan Kulwicki - Driver / Owner (b. 12/14/54 - d. 4/1/93)

Hometown: Greenfield, Wis.
Premier Series Stats
Competed: 1985-1993
Starts: 207
Wins: 5
Poles: 24

Noted Wisconsin short-track racer Alan Kulwicki moved to Charlotte in 1984 with nothing but a pickup truck, a self-built race car and the hopes of competing in NASCAR’s highest series. He had no sponsor and a limited budget. A mechanical engineer by trade, Kulwicki’s understanding of the inner-workings of a car helped him burst onto the scene as the 1986 NASCAR Rookie of the Year with his self-owned AK Racing team. Throughout his career, Kulwicki received lucrative offers from powerhouse race teams, but insisted on racing for himself. That determination eventually led to his first of five career victories at Phoenix in 1988, and the unveiling of his trademark “Polish Victory Lap,” a celebratory clockwise cool down lap with the driver’s window facing the fans. His signature season was his championship-winning 1992 campaign, where Kulwicki overcame a 278-point deficit with six races remaining to capture the NASCAR premier series title. He had two wins, 11 top fives and 17 top 10s to defeat Bill Elliott by 10 points – at the time, the tightest championship margin in series history. Kulwicki never got the chance to defend his title, dying in a plane crash in 1993. Five years after his death, he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers.

Mark Martin - Driver (b. 1/9/59)

Mark Martin - Driver (b. 1/9/59)

Hometown: Batesville, Ark.
Premier Series Stats
Competed: 1981-2013
Starts: 882
Wins: 40
Poles: 56

He’s often described as the “greatest driver to never to win a championship,” but Mark Martin’s legendary career is so much more than that. He came incredibly close to that elusive title many times – finishing second in the championship standings five times. In 1990, Martin finished 26 points behind Dale Earnhardt, his closest run at the championship. He set career highs for wins (seven), top-five finishes (22) and laps led (1,730) in 1998, but was left with another second-place finish, this time to Jeff Gordon. He also finished second in 1994, 2002 and ‘09. Over the course of his 33-year premier series career, Martin compiled 40 wins (17th all time) and 61 runner-up finishes (sixth) in 882 starts (fifth). His 56 career poles rank seventh on the all-time list. Martin saw success at every level of NASCAR. He won 49 times in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, holding the series wins record for 14 years. He retired with 96 wins across NASCAR’s three national series, sixth on the all-time list. In 1998, Martin was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.

Hershel McGriff - Driver (b. 12/14/27)

Hershel McGriff - Driver (b. 12/14/27)

Hometown: Bridal Veil, Ore.
Pro Series West Stats
Competed: 1971-2012
Wins: 37
Poles: 43

Hershel McGriff exhibited a competitive passion that lasted longer than any driver in NASCAR history. His first race was the 1950 Southern 500, in the NASCAR premier series’ sophomore season, at the age of 22. His final NASCAR race was at Sonoma Raceway in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West – in 2012 at the age of 84. In between: Greatness, and lots of it. McGriff started 85 races in parts of 28 NASCAR premier series seasons, capturing four wins – all in 1954, when he finished sixth in championship points. But in what is now known as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, McGriff displayed an excellence that made him one of the best drivers in series history. Competing in parts of 35 seasons, McGriff won 37 races, good for third on the all-time West Series wins list. His signature year came in 1986 when he won the series title, part of a string of 10 consecutive seasons with finishes in the top 10 of championship points. In 1998, McGriff 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: Ellerbe, N.C.
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.

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.

Mike Stefanik - Driver (b. 5/20/58)

Mike Stefanik - Driver (b. 5/20/58)

Hometown: Coventry, R.I.
NASCAR Whelan Modified Stats
Competed: 1985-present
Starts: 449
Wins: 74
Poles: 48

At the very top of the list of all-time NASCAR championships sits two men: NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans … and Mike Stefanik. Each tallied nine in their exemplary careers, with Stefanik’s coming in both the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Seven of his titles came in his primary racing series – the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. In 2003, he was named one of the Tour’s 10 Greatest Drivers, an obvious choice if there ever was one – Stefanik holds the all-time series record in championships, wins, poles, top fives and top 10s. Stefanik won two championships consecutively in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competition, in 1997-98. That, along with a win total that still places him 10th on the all-time series wins list, earned him a spot on the Top 10 Drivers of the First 25 Years of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East list in 2011. In addition, Stefanik spent one full-time season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – and it was a successful won. He captured the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, in 1999.

Robert Yates - Driver/Owner (b. 4/19/43)

Robert Yates - Owner/Engine Builder (b. 4/19/43)

Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
Premier Series Owner Stats
Competed: 1989-2007
Wins: 57
Poles: 48

Robert Yates was the rare breed, exceling in any field he chose. But two in particular placed him among NASCAR’s greats – engine building (his first love) and team ownership. Yates, who began his career at Holman-Moody Racing in 1968, landed a job with NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson in 1971 – and the rest is history. He provided the power behind Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough, later leading Allison to a series championship in 1983 with DiGard Racing. In the late 1980s, Yates launched his own team, Robert Yates Racing. Success came quickly – driver Davey Allison won the 1992 Daytona 500, and finished third in that season’s championship standings. In 1996, Yates expanded to a two-car team with Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett and Ernie Irvan – and immediately won that year’s Daytona 500 with Jarrett. Jarrett would go on to win another Daytona 500 in 2000, a year after winning the NASCAR premier series championship – all in Yates owned Fords. His lineage continues today, as son Doug carries on his legacy as one of the top engine builders in the sport.

Landmark Award Nominees

Harold Brasington (b. 5/10/09 - d. 2/4/96)

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

Hometown: Martinsville, Va.

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 and concrete speedway has grown from a dusty, primitive operation into a multi-million 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 November 16, 1999 as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the speedway.

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

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

Hometown: Dawson County, Ga.
Premier Series 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 title (modified, 1948) and first premier series title (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 premier series 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.

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

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

Hometown: Winston-Salem, N.C.

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 developmental NASCAR Winston Racing Series races. He retired from R.J. Reynolds in 1986.

Ken Squier (b. 4/10/35)

Ken Squier (b. 4/10/35)

Hometown: Waterbury, Vt.

With a smooth voice, and knack for weaving a simple note into an epic tale, Ken Squier carved a massive footprint during NASCAR’s formative broadcast years. One of NASCAR’s original broadcasters, Squier began his career with the Motor Racing Network (MRN) in 1970. It was his golden voice that took NASCAR to a national audience thirsting for live coverage, giving his insider’s view of what he famously described as “common men doing uncommon things.” He is perhaps best-known for calling the 1979 Daytona 500, a milestone moment for the entire sport, as Squier’s voice on CBS welcomed millions to the first live flag-to-flag coverage of "The Great American Race" – a moniker he coined. Following that signature moment, Squier proceeded to call races for CBS and TBS until 1997 before shifting to the studio as host for NASCAR broadcasts until 2000. Squier continues to enlighten NASCAR fans to this day, mostly through special appearances. In 2012, NASCAR announced the creation of the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence, which would be housed in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Squier and MRN’s Barney Hall were inaugural winners of the award.

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