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Stats advance: Analyzing the 5-hour Energy 301
A statistical look ahead to the 19th race of the 2015 Sprint Cup season DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 13, 2015) – Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire going into the 5-hour ENERGY 301 on July 19 (1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). NEW HAMPSHIRE-SPECIFIC STATISTICS Clint Bowyer (No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota) · Two wins, four top fives, seven top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 14. 500 , 10th-best · Average Running Position of 12.335, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 95.0, eighth-best · 245 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 124.934, seventh-fastest · 3760 Laps in the Top 15 (69.9), eighth-most · 498 Quality Passes, 10th-most Kyle Busch (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota) · One win, seven top fives, ten top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 14.050, ninth-best · Average Running Position of 13.375, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 94.7, ninth-best · 232 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 124.801, 11th-fastest · 3975 Laps in the Top 15 (66.5), 10th-most · 532 Quality Passes, eighth-most Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Three wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 17. 500 , 12th-best · Average Running Position of 14.294, 13th-best · Driver Rating of 88.1, 13th-best · 187 Fastest Laps Run, second-best · 3529 Laps in the Top 15 (59.0), 13th-most · 548 Quality Passes, sixth-most Dale Earnhardt Jr (No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet) · Seven top fives, 14 top 10s · Average finish of 13.350, seventh-best · Average Running Position of 11.743, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 97.1, sixth-best · 251 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 125.100, fifth-fastest · 4435 Laps in the Top 15 (74.2), fourth-most · 625 Quality Passes, third-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 AARP Member Advantages Chevrolet) · Three wins, 16 top fives, 22 top 10s; four poles · Average finish of 10.700, third-best · Average Running Position of 7.680, series-best · Driver Rating of 107.3, series-best · 457 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 125.292, series-fastest · 5266 Laps in the Top 15 (88.1), series-most · 676 Quality Passes, series-most Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota) · Two wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 10. 500 , second-best · Average Running Position of 11.406, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 103.2, third-best · 320 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 125.064, sixth-fastest · 3936 Laps in the Top 15 (73.2), fifth-most · 570 Quality Passes, fourth-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John's/ Budweiser Chevrolet) · One win, six top fives, 14 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 13.750, eighth-best · Average Running Position of 12.288, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 93.1, 10th-best · 219 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 124.890, ninth-fastest · 4002 Laps in the Top 15 (66.9), ninth-most · 465 Quality Passes, 11th-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) · Three wins, ten top fives, 18 top 10s · Average finish of 10.950, fifth-best · Average Running Position of 11.144, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 102.1, fourth-best · 432 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 125.193, third-fastest · 4758 Laps in the Top 15 (79.6), second-most · 626 Quality Passes, second-most Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet) · One win, three top fives, eight top 10s · Average finish of 18.050, 13th-best · Average Running Position of 14.160, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 91.3, 12th-best · 340 Fastest Laps Run, series-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 124.891, eighth-fastest · 3781 Laps in the Top 15 (63.2), 12th-most · 534 Quality Passes, seventh-most Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) · One win, four top fives, seven top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 11.000, sixth-best · Average Running Position of 12.985, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 95.6, seventh-best · 229 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 124.866, 10th-fastest · 2147 Laps in the Top 15 (65.3), 11th-most · 336 Quality Passes, 12th-most Kyle Larson (No. 42 Target Chevrolet) · Two top fives, two top 10s · Average finish of 2. 500 , series-best · Average Running Position of 10.730, third-best · Driver Rating of 99.1, fifth-best · 14 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 125.217, second-fastest · 443 Laps in the Top 15 (72.9), sixth-most · 51 Quality Passes, 13th-most Ryan Newman (No. 31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet) · Three wins, seven top fives, 16 top 10s; seven poles · Average finish of 15.150, 11th-best · Average Running Position of 13.142, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 91.8, 11th-best · 169 Fastest Laps Run, third-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 124.770, 12th-fastest · 4342 Laps in the Top 15 (72.6), seventh-most · 504 Quality Passes, ninth-most Tony Stewart (No. 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet) · Three wins, 14 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 10.947, fourth-best · Average Running Position of 10.290, second-best · Driver Rating of 106.9, second-best · 412 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 125.104, fourth-fastest · 4347 Laps in the Top 15 (76.6), third-most · 557 Quality Passes, fifth-most The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2015 Top 16 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Kevin Harvick 28 1 1 6 14 0 13.9 93.1 2 Jimmie Johnson 26 0 3 10 18 1 10.3 102.1 3 Joey Logano 13 0 2 3 5 2 17.9 77.2 4 Dale Earnhardt Jr 31 0 0 7 14 4 15.3 97.1 5 Martin Truex Jr 18 0 0 3 6 1 14.4 86.3 6 Brad Keselowski 11 3 1 4 7 0 11 95.6 7 Jamie McMurray 24 0 0 4 6 3 20.5 70.4 8 Kurt Busch 28 0 3 7 11 1 16.1 88.1 9 Matt Kenseth 30 0 1 7 15 1 13.3 85.7 10 Jeff Gordon 40 4 3 16 22 2 11.4 107.3 11 Denny Hamlin 18 0 2 7 11 0 10.5 103.2 12 Kasey Kahne 22 0 1 3 8 3 17 91.3 13 Paul Menard 16 0 0 0 0 0 23.7 61.4 14 Ryan Newman 26 7 3 7 16 3 13.8 91.8 15 Clint Bowyer 18 1 2 4 7 1 14.5 95.0 16 Aric Almirola 9 0 0 1 2 0 19.6 64.8 New Hampshire Motor Speedway Data Season Race #: 19 of 36 (07-19-15) Track Size : 1.058-mile Banking/Turn 1 & 2 : 2 to 7 degrees Banking/Turn 3 & 4 : 2 to 7 degrees Banking/Frontstretch : 1 degree Banking/Backstretch : 1 degree Frontstretch Length : 1, 500 feet Backstretch Length : 1, 500 feet Race Length : 301 laps / 318.46 miles Top 10 Driver Rating at New Hampshire Jeff Gordon .............................. 107.3 Tony Stewart ............................. 106.9 Denny Hamlin ............................ 103.2 Jimmie Johnson ........................ 102.1 Kyle Larson . ............................... 99.1 Dale Earnhardt Jr . ....................... 97.1 Brad Keselowski ......................... 95.6 Clint Bowyer ............................... 95.0 Kyle Busch ................................. 94.7 Kevin Harvick .............................. 93.1 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (20 total) among active drivers at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Kyle Busch , Toyota 138.130 mph, 27.574 secs. 07-11-14 2014 race winner : Brad Keselowski , Ford 108.741 mph, (02:58:03), 07-13-14 Track qualifying record: Brad Keselowski , Ford 140.598 mph, 27.090 secs. 09-21-14 Track race record: Jeff Burton , Ford 117.134 mph, (02:42:35), 07-13-97 New Hampshire Motor Speedway: History · Groundbreaking for New Hampshire International Speedway, as New Hampshire Motor Speedway was originally named, was Aug. 13, 1989. · The 1.058-mile oval is located on approximately 1,200 acres; the multi-use complex is the largest sports facility in New England. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was on July 11, 1993 – won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace . · Speedway Motorsports, Inc. agreed to purchase New Hampshire International Speedway from Bob and Gary Bahre on January 11, 2008 and then renamed the track New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Starts · There have been 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway; one per year from 1993 through 1996 and two per year since. · 160 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire; 129 in more than one. · Jeff Gordon has competed in all 40 races at New Hampshire – the only driver to accomplish the feat. · Only one active championship contending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver has made their first career start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway: Joey Logano (9/14/08). · Three drivers will attempt to make their series debuts at New Hampshire this weekend: Trevor Bayne , Matt DiBenedetto and Brett Moffitt . · Ryan Newman leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at New Hampshire with an 8.692. Poles · Mark Martin won the inaugural Coors Light pole at New Hampshire in 1993 with a speed of 126.871 mph. · 18 drivers have Coors Light poles at New Hampshire, led by Ryan Newman with seven. · Four active drivers have multiple poles at New Hampshire: Ryan Newman (seven), Jeff Gordon (four), Brad Keselowski (three) and Kyle Busch (two). · Five drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at New Hampshire: Ken Schrader (1997 sweep); Jeff Gordon (1998-1999); Rusty Wallace (1999-2000); Ryan Newman (twice – 2003-2004 and 2011 sweep); Juan Pablo Montoya (2009-2010). · Youngest New Hampshire Coors Light pole winner: Brian Vickers (07/17/2005 – 21 years, 8 months, 23 days). · Oldest New Hampshire Coors Light pole winner: Bill Elliott (07/21/2002 – 46 years, 9 months, 13 days). · Brad Keselowski (9/19/10) is the only active driver to post his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light pole at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Wins · 24 different drivers have won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, led by Jeff Burton with four. · Eight active drivers have multiple wins at NHMS: Kurt Busch , Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson , Ryan Newman , Tony Stewart (each have three); Clint Bowyer , Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano (each have two) · Two drivers have posted consecutive wins at New Hampshire Motor Speedway: Jimmie Johnson (2003 sweep) and Kurt Busch (2004 sweep). · Youngest New Hampshire winner: Joey Logano (06/28/2009 – 19 years, 1 month, 4 days). · Oldest New Hampshire winner: Mark Martin (09/20/2009 – 50 years, 8 months, 11 days). · Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at New Hampshire in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with nine; followed by Roush Fenway Racing (seven), Team Penske (six), Joe Gibbs Racing (six) and Richard Childress Racing (four). · Five different manufacturers have won at New Hampshire; led by Chevrolet with 18 victories; followed by Ford (13), Toyota (four), Dodge (three) and Pontiac (two). · Jeff Burton is the only driver to win the July race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway three consecutive years in a row (1997, ’98 and ’99) · Five of the 40 (12.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at New Hampshire have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Ryan Newman in 2011. · The Coors Light pole is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (five) than any other starting position at New Hampshire. · Eight of the 40 (20%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at New Hampshire have been won from the front row: five from the pole and three from second-place. · 22 of the 40 (55%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at New Hampshire have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Nine of the 40 (22.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at New Hampshire have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at New Hampshire is 38th, by Jeff Burton in 1999. · The deepest in the field that an active race winner has started at New Hampshire is 32nd, by Kurt Busch in the summer of 2003. · Dale Earnhardt Jr . leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at New Hampshire without visiting Victory Lane at 31; followed by Jamie McMurray and Casey Mears (24 starts each). · Three active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have posted their first career win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway: Ryan Newman (9/15/02), Clint Bowyer (9/16/07) and Joey Logano (6/28/09). Additional Finishing Position Stats · Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart are tied for the series lead in runner-up finishes at New Hampshire with five each. · Jeff Gordon leads the series in top-five finishes at New Hampshire with 16; followed by Tony Stewart with 14 and Jimmie Johnson with 10. · Jeff Gordon leads the series in top-10 finishes at New Hampshire with 22; followed by Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson with 18 each. · Jimmie Johnson leads NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at New Hampshire with an 10.269. · All 14 active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners at New Hampshire Motor Speedway participated in at least one or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Ryan Newman and Joey Logano won at New Hampshire in their second appearance. Track Specific Stats · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was the July 1, 2007 race won by Denny Hamlin over Jeff Gordon with a MOV of 0.068 second. · 17 of the 33 (51.5%) NSCS races scored by el
Sights and Sounds: 5-Hour Energy 500
Take a dramatic look back at the Jeff Gordon's victory along with the sights and sounds from Pocono.
Gordon's love for Charlotte lasting, 22 years after first win
Photo credit: Charlotte Motor Speedway CONCORD, N.C. – With its close proximity to race shops, Charlotte Motor Speedway is known as the home track for most of the NASCAR community. But Tuesday's gathering at the 1.5-mile speedway had more of a tourist feel, as fans hailed from places near and far. There was the man from Bakersfield, California, – "Harvick country," he states proudly – the fan from Switzerland, the Canadian couple and everyone in between. They wore different numbers on their shirts and spoke with different accents, but they were all there to see one man. Mr. Jeff Gordon . The FOX Sports analyst and four-time NASCAR champion helped celebrate the 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder leading up to Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) by taking photos with 100 Charlotte ticketholders. Despite Gordon's retirement following his championship run last season, the fandom was as feverous as ever, as each visitor itched to exchange a few words with the former No. 24 driver. "It's slightly different (now) because many of them say a lot of the same things, 'I wish you were out there,' (or) 'I miss you being out there,'" Gordon said of the fans. "But I'm getting a lot of great comments about being up in the booth, so it's nice. I'm enjoying myself, so I think it comes across in the broadcast and interacting with the fans, I get to hear that from them as well." Gordon and the fans stood on the roof of the infield's Champion's Pavilion, the spot providing the group a birds-eye view of the quad oval. The track is impressive; a feeling Gordon reciprocates, as he recalls the first time he laid eyes on it. "I think it doesn't mean the same to everybody," Gordon said, "but for me, the very first time I ever came to North Carolina … when I drove by this facility, I was blown away. I'd seen Indianapolis Motor Speedway , but beyond that, I'd never seen anything that looked like this. Just the appearance of it put me in awe." Gordon found success at Charlotte early in his career, earning a runner-up result in his first race at the North Carolina track in 1993. And on Sunday, he'll broadcast his first Coca-Cola 600 ; 22 years after he earned his first-ever win in the Cup Series in the '94 running of the 600-mile event. The win put Gordon on the racing map and made folks wonder about this young "kid" from California who was driving nose-to-nose with Dale Earnhardt. RELATED: See all the winners of the longest race in NASCAR But Gordon's love affair with Charlotte began before the Victory Lane celebration. "When I drove a stock car here for the first time, I just fell in love with it," Gordon said. "I love the way the track flows, the banking, the grip level, bumps and everything that comes along with it. And of course, winning my first race, having it happen in the 600." The longest race on the Cup circuit, the Coca-Cola 600 has long been revered as one of NASCAR's biggest races – one of the sport's "Majors," as Gordon says. "Daytona, here, Brickyard, maybe a Southern 500 , some would also say Talladega." Gordon said, rattling off a list of stock car racing's biggest events. "But this is a big, big deal to win this race. To me, it's probably second or third ranking in our series as far as most prestigious events." Winning the coveted Coca-Cola 600 trophy is no easy feat – the man who has won three of those races can tell you that. With the cars being more advanced today and eliminating some of the physical aspect, Gordon emphasizes the continued need for mental toughness. "You're talking about a minimum of four hours being in the car," Gordon said. "Pit crews, crew chiefs, everyone's on edge, not just the drivers … (They're) pushing the limits every single lap, which is not the way it used to be. You used to pace yourself and be able to manage the tires and your car and you could still be competitive at the end of the day – if you were in one piece. "That's not the case anymore – it's just all out. So, that mentally drains you by pushing that hard for that period of time." RELATED: Gordon embraces new career with 'contagious' energy The task of taming a 600-mile monster is daunting, especially for younger drivers. Gordon's No. 24 replacement Chase Elliott will attempt the feat, as he prepares to make his second Coca-Cola 600 start. Elliott, now in his rookie season, started 28th and finished 18th in the 2015 Coca-Cola 600 , then driving the No. 25 for Hendrick Motorsports . As for any advice from the former boss of the No. 24? Gordon said his 20-year-old successor doesn't need it. "I haven't had to give him much advice on the race track," Gordon said. "He's a natural … He gets better every weekend. "I'm excited for that 24 team. I had to defend a lot with fans being upset about them keeping the No. 24 and I said, 'Just wait, just wait, I think you're going to be proud of the results.' And now, I'm starting to see everybody's now saying, 'What a great replacement for the 24!' " Gordon's statement was validated by fans sporting Elliott-themed shirts earlier, one young boy in particular wearing a blue No. 24 NAPA hat. This fan will likely grow up knowing Elliott -- rather than Gordon -- as the driver of the legendary No. 24 Chevrolet. It's a mark of a racing transition, a generational shift. And Gordon loves it. "Listen, I love seeing the sport grow," he said. "I'm still heavily involved in the sport, not just from the FOX side, but from Hendrick Motorsports . And I think the sport is amazing right now. The racing is as good as it's ever been. We have some great young talents. Not to mention veterans that are doing great things … I'm all for bringing new fans and seeing fans get excited about it, people like Chase or Ryan Blaney or Kyle Larson . "I support it 100 percent."
Best in-car audio from the 5-hour ENERGY 301
Check out the best in-car audio from the 5-hour ENERGY 301 as Kyle Busch grabs his third win in four races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Sprint Cup qualifying order for Daytona 500
RELATED: Sprint Unlimited results # Car Driver Team 1 30 * Josh Wise Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet 2 40 * Reed Sorenson CRC Brakleen Chevrolet 3 26 * Robert Richardson Jr. Stalk It Toyota 4 35 * David Gilliland Ford 5 23 David Ragan Dr Pepper Toyota 6 98 * Cole Whitt Toyota 7 32 Bobby Labonte C&J Energy Services Ford 8 38 Landon Cassill Florida Lottery Ford 9 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Chevrolet 10 34 Chris Buescher Love's Travel Stops Ford 11 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger/Scott Products Chevrolet 12 59 * Michael McDowell Thrivent Financial Chevrolet 13 46 Michael Annett Pilot/Flying J Chevrolet 14 83 Michael Waltrip Maxwell House Toyota 15 93 * Matt DiBenedetto Dustless Blasting Toyota 16 7 Regan Smith Nikko RC/Golden Corral Chevrolet 17 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 18 42 Kyle Larson Target Chevrolet 19 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald's/Cessna Chevrolet 20 10 Danica Patrick Nature's Bakery Chevrolet 21 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota 22 27 Paul Menard Peak Antifreeze/Menards Chevrolet 23 14 Brian Vickers Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet 24 95 Ty Dillon (i) Cheerios Chevrolet 25 6 Trevor Bayne AdvoCare Ford 26 44 Brian Scott # Albertsons Co./Shore Lodge Ford 27 31 Ryan Newman CAT Chevrolet 28 78 Martin Truex Jr . Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Toyota 29 3 Austin Dillon DOW Chevrolet 30 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr . Fastenal Ford 31 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet 32 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet 33 13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet 34 16 Greg Biffle KFC Nashville Hot Ford 35 19 Carl Edwards ARRIS Toyota 36 24 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 37 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's Chevrolet 38 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr . Nationwide Chevrolet 39 20 Matt Kenseth Dollar General Toyota 40 18 Kyle Busch M&M's 75 Toyota 41 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet 42 21 * Ryan Blaney # Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 43 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford 44 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford * Required to qualify on time, (i) Ineligible for driver points in this series
From the Vault: Tony Stewart completes 'The Double'
After completing the Indianapolis 500 , Tony Stewart flew to Charlotte Motor Speedway to run in the Coca-Cola 600 finishing in third place, totaling 1100 on-track miles in one day.
Bruce, Cain reveal NASCAR Hall of Fame ballots
RELATED: Photos of Voting Day, inductees NASCAR.com was privileged to have two ballots cast as part of NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Day on Wednesday. Senior writers Kenny Bruce and Holly Cain each submitted their five nominations for induction in the Class of 2017 and a vote for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. A spirited discussion and voting process created one of the most intriguing classes in the stock-car shrine's history with Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin, Raymond Parks and Benny Parsons selected as Hall of Fame members. Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles received the Landmark Award. Here are Holly's and Kenny's ballots cast Wednesday with their choices for induction: Kenny Bruce Ron Hornaday Jr. No one dominated NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series like Hornaday, the only four-time series champ. He remains the leader in career wins, top-five and top-10 finishes in Truck Series history. Mark Martin. The working man's racer; Martin finished second in the premier series points battle five times and earned 40 wins in 882 career starts. His XFINITY Series record wasn't too shabby, either. Benny Parsons. Folks who knew Benny the Broadcaster might not know just how talented Parsons was behind the wheel of a race car. The 1973 premier series champion, Parsons won 21 times, including victories in the Daytona 500 (1975) and World 600 ('80). Raymond Parks. The Atlanta-based businessman not only provided much-needed financial assistance as the newly formed NASCAR governing body got up and running, but Parks was a successful car owner as well. His career as an owner peaked in 1949 when driver Red Byron won NASCAR's first Strictly Stock crown. A year earlier, Byron had won the group's first Modified title in a Parks-backed entry. Robert Yates. As an engine builder, Yates helped power Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough to 77 victories. As a car owner, his drivers won three Daytona 500 titles, 57 races and 48 poles. Landmark Award H. Clay Earles. His Martinsville Speedway was there from the beginning (actually before NASCAR was formed) and it remains a popular stop today as one of three short tracks on the premier series schedule. Keeping up with the changing landscape of the sport wasn't easy, and no one did it better than Mr. Earles. Holly Cain These are the Hall of Fame votes I considered the most worthy and timely, considering a ballot of 20 of the sport's most deserving people. I tried to decide on a well-balanced group of drivers, owners and technical people and considered time on the ballot, too. Some I did not vote for this year I feel like will be definite choices in the upcoming Hall of Fame votes. Red Byron. NASCAR's first champion should be in its Hall of Fame for historic reasons. He won NASCAR's very first race on Daytona Beach in 1948, won NASCAR's first "season" championship and then its first Strictly Stock title, which is the modern era Sprint Cup crown. Raymond Parks . He owned the first championship car driven by Red Byron and for many of the same reasons Bryon needs to be in the Hall, so does Parks. Even after the two early titles he fielded cars for greats such as Bob and Fonty Flock. He is the sport's heritage, its beginning. Benny Parsons . Many current NASCAR fans know Benny from his ease and skill behind the television microphone and camera once he retired from driving a race car, but he was an amazing competitor, too, winning NASCAR's two biggest trophies -- the 1973 Cup championship and the 1975 Daytona 500 . Perhaps most amazingly, he finished among the top 10 in 54 percent of the races he ran. Waddell Wilson. It is impressive Wilson was so successful both as an engine builder and a crew chief. He built the motors that David Pearson and Benny Parsons drove to titles and as a crew chief led Buddy Baker and Cale Yarborough (twice) to Daytona 500 wins. He built the first engine that broke 200 mph -- driven by Parsons in qualifying for the 1982 Winston 500 . Robert Yates. This is another example of the ultimate in successful multi-tasking. Similar to Wilson, he built championship-quality engines (1983 with Bobby Allison) and then Yates owned a championship team, fielding the car with which Dale Jarrett won a title in 1999. He owns three Daytona 500 wins as part of a 57-win legacy as a team owner and won 77 races as an engine builder. Landmark Award Ralph Seagraves. This was a tough category. My selection was based on his contribution really being a turning point for the entire sport. Under Seagraves' leadership, RJ Reynolds provided top-dollar, high-promotion sponsorship of the sport that lasted for more than 30 years. It thrust NASCAR into another stratosphere as far as the American sports landscape was concerned and absolutely created a foundation that is still enjoyed today.
Martin calls selection 'the crown jewel' of his career
RELATED: Photos from the induction day Mark Martin told the tale more than once on NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Day this week, about his connection to fellow inductee Benny Parsons. Martin was a teenager -- "a nobody," as he termed it -- with racing dreams carved from his earliest days of wheeling cars on dirt. Parsons, in the prime of his driving career in the mid-1970s, took time for the Arkansas youngster and his father, sharing advice over lunch in his hometown of Ellerbe, North Carolina. Talk about a follow-through. Martin, 57, joined Parsons among the five chosen for induction in the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Class of 2017. "It hasn't soaked in yet," Martin said by telephone Wednesday after the Hall's announcement. "I didn't expect it. It is, by far, the crown jewel of my career and I'm so grateful for the people that helped me get there." Martin wasn't in Charlotte to hear his name called; instead, he was on his way to Indianapolis, reasoning that he wouldn't be among the five inductees this year. Martin was named on 57 percent of the voting panel's ballots, third-most among the 20 nominees. Still, he took the unexpected nature of being selected to heart, saying, "If I would've been on the voting panel, I would've probably voted another way." Martin's credentials -- both his success and his longevity across four decades in NASCAR competition -- eventually won out in just his second year on the ballot. Martin won 40 times in NASCAR's top division and combined for 56 more victories in its other two national series. But Martin acknowledged the gaps in his resume, those that he came heart-wrenchingly close to achieving. Among those were his five runner-up finishes in the championship standings and his 0-for-29 career streak in the Daytona 500 , the sport's most prestigious race. After Wednesday's accomplishment, Martin said that Hall of Fame induction fills any potential voids. "Look, I don't have a Daytona 500 trophy and I don't have a championship trophy, and I said many times that when people would complain about my not having one of those, I would ask the question: 'How would my life be different if I had one?' " Martin said. "And I truly believe that my life would not be very different. But my life will be different from now on because I'm in that Hall, because that is my crown jewel. "That speaks of not one year worth of success, not one great achievement, but a body of work, and that's what I'm proud of."
Five legends unveiled as 2017 NASCAR Hall Of Fame Class
RELATED: See all of the nominees DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 25, 2016) – NASCAR announced today the inductees who will comprise the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017. The five-person group -- the eighth since the inception of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010 -- consists of Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin, Raymond Parks and Benny Parsons. In addition, NASCAR announced that Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles won the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. The NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel met today in a closed session at the Charlotte Convention Center to debate and vote upon the 20 nominees for the induction class of 2017 and the five nominees for the Landmark Award. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton announced the class and Landmark Award winner, respectively, this evening in the NASCAR Hall of Fame's "Great Hall." The Class of 2017 was determined by votes cast by the Voting Panel, including representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from major facilities and historic short tracks, media members, manufacturer representatives, retired competitors (drivers, owners, crew chiefs), recognized industry leaders, a nationwide fan vote conducted through NASCAR.com and, for the third year, the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion ( Kyle Busch ). In all, 54 votes were cast, with four additional Voting Panel members recused from voting as potential nominees for induction (Ricky Rudd, Robert Yates, Waddell Wilson and Ken Squier). The accounting firm of EY presided over the tabulation of the votes. Voting was as follows: Benny Parsons (85%), Rick Hendrick (62%), Mark Martin (57%), Raymond Parks (53%) and Richard Childress (43%). The next top vote-getters were Robert Yates, Red Byron and Alan Kulwicki. Results for the NASCAR.com Fan Vote, in alphabetical order, were Buddy Baker, Alan Kulwicki, Mark Martin, Benny Parsons and Larry Phillips. The five inductees came from a group of 20 nominees that included, in addition to the five inductees chosen: Buddy Baker, Red Byron, Ray Evernham, Ray Fox, Ron Hornaday Jr., Harry Hyde, Alan Kulwicki, Hershel McGriff, Larry Phillips, Jack Roush, Ricky Rudd, Ken Squier, Mike Stefanik, Waddell Wilson and Robert Yates. Nominees for the Landmark Award included Earles, Janet Guthrie, Raymond Parks, Ralph Seagraves and Ken Squier. Class of 2017 Inductees: Richard Childress Long before he became one of the preeminent car owners in NASCAR history, Richard Childress was a race car driver with limited means. 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. He owned the cars that NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt drove to six championships and 67 wins between 1984-2000. In addition to Earnhardt’s championships, Childress drivers have given him five others. Childress was the first NASCAR owner to win owner championships in all three of NASCAR’s national series, and his 11 owner titles are second all-time. Childress also owned the vehicles driven by NASCAR XFINITY Series driver champions Clint Bowyer (2008) and Austin Dillon (2013), as the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver champion Austin Dillon . Rick Hendrick The founder and owner of Hendrick Motorsports , Rick Hendrick’s organization is recognized as one of NASCAR’s most successful. Hendrick Motorsports owns an all-time record 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car owner championship titles -- six with Jimmie Johnson , four with Jeff Gordon and one with NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte . Hendrick also has 14 total NASCAR national series owner championships, 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. Hendrick also owned the car driven by 2003 NASCAR XFINITY Series driver champion Brian Vickers . Hendrick’s 242 owner wins in the premier series rank second all-time. Mark Martin He is 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. Over the course of his 31-year premier series career, Martin compiled 40 wins (17th all time) and 56 poles (seventh all time). 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, seventh on the all-time list. In 1998, Martin was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers. Raymond Parks 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. Parks’ team produced two premier series wins, two poles, 11 top fives and 12 top 10s in 18 events. Benny Parsons Benny Parsons won the 1973 NASCAR premier series championship and 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 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. Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR: H. Clay Earles 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. 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.
Ty Dillon, Erik Jones top Friday practices at Charlotte
PRACTICE 2: Results Richard Childress Racing 's Ty Dillon topped the board in the XFINITY Series' final practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Sitting behind the wheel of his No. 3 Chevrolet, Dillon laid down a field-fast lap of 181.342 mph. Landing in the runner-up spot was Joe Gibbs Racing 's Daniel Suarez in the No. 19 Toyota (181.056 mph) with his teammate Erik Jones -- who topped opening practice -- right behind him to take third in the No. 20 (180.379 mph). Defending race winner Austin Dillon , who is pulling double duty this weekend, was fourth-quickest on the speed charts at 180.210 mph. Rounding out the top five was the No. 48 Chevrolet of Brennan Poole , who wheeled his Chip Ganassi Racing entry around CMS at 179.958 mph. Next on the agenda for the XFINITY Series is Saturday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying (11:15 a.m. ET, FS1) for the Hisense 4K TV 300 (2:30 p.m. ET, FS1). PRACTICE 1: Results Two-time 2016 XFINITY Series winner Erik Jones scored the fastest lap during the series' opening practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway . The No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing wheelman topped the leaderboard at 181.159 mph. Next on the speed charts was fellow JGR driver -- and Sprint Cup Series regular -- Denny Hamlin , driving the No. 18 Toyota at 180.584 mph. This weekend marks the first XFINITY Series start of the season for the Daytona 500 winner. Fellow Sprint Cup regular Ryan Blaney was third-quickest after propelling his No. 12 Team Penske Ford around the 1.5-mile track at 179.874 mph. Daniel Suarez 's No. 19 JGR entry (179.826 mph) and the No. 3 of Richard Childress Racing 's Ty Dillon (179.468 mph) were fourth and fifth, respectively. Defending race winner Austin Dillon was right behind his brother in sixth (179.378 mph).