Benny Phillips named sixth Squier-Hall award winner
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 2, 2016) – NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame today announced longtime High Point (N.C.) Enterprise reporter and sports editor Benny Phillips as the sixth recipient of the Squier- Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. Phillips spent 48 years with the Enterprise, serving as its sports editor for 32 of them. He will be honored during NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony festivities on Jan. 20, 2017 and featured in an exhibit in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition to his time at the Enterprise, Phillips wrote for Stock Car Racing magazine for 27 years and spent 12 years with TBS. The prestigious Squier- Hall Award is the latest in a long list of accolades bestowed upon Phillips during, and after, his exemplary career. Phillips was named the NMPA Writer of the Year seven times, won the NMPA Joe Littlejohn Award in 1977, the IMHOF Henry T. McLemore Award in 1978, the Buddy Shuman Award in 1986 and the NMPA George Cunningham Award in 1988. Phillips, who battled polio throughout his life, died in 2012 at the age of 74. "Benny Phillips told the engaging stories that transformed our drivers into heroes, and with it developed a deserved reputation as a trusted confidant whose determination and affable personality made him a beloved fixture in the NASCAR garage," said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. "Benny delivered the stories of our sport to millions of NASCAR fans on a daily basis through newspapers, books, magazines and television. This award has been given only to the giants of his industry, and unquestionably, Benny was exactly that." Phillips penned four books, including Dale Earnhardt’s autobiography "Determined," which he co-authored with fellow NASCAR reporter Ben Blake. Phillips was among eight nominees voted upon by a panel comprised of NASCAR and NASCAR Hall of Fame executives, journalists, public relations representatives and former competitors. The Squier- Hall Award was created in 2012 to honor the contributions of media to the success of the sport. Legendary broadcasters Ken Squier and Barney Hall , for whom the award is named, were its initial recipients. Chris Economaki, Tom Higgins and Steve Byrnes have since won the award. The other seven nominees were: Norma "Dusty" Brandel: The first woman to report from inside the NASCAR garage. Russ Catlin: One of the best-known early racing writers and historians, served as editor of "Speed Age" magazine. Shav Glick: Covered motorsports for the Los Angeles Times for 37 years, bringing NASCAR coverage to the West Coast. Bob Jenkins: Served as the lead NASCAR lap-by-lap anchor at ESPN from 1982-2000. Bob Moore: Spent more than 20 years as a NASCAR beat writer including stints with the Daytona Beach News-Journal and The Charlotte Observer. T. Taylor Warren: Best known for his three-wide photo of the 1959 Daytona 500 finish, he covered every Daytona 500 until his death in 2008. Steve Waid: Covered NASCAR for more than 40 years for the Roanoke Times & World News, NASCAR Scene and NASCAR Illustrated.
NASCAR community reacts to passing of Barney Hall
RELATED: Barney Hall passes away at age 83 " Hall honored prior to final race Legendary NASCAR broadcaster Barney Hall passed away Tuesday at the age of 83 from complications after a recent medical operation. Hall was known as "The Voice of NASCAR" and was a fixture for Motor Racing Network's coverage of the sport. His unique brand of storytelling earned Hall a place in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2012, when the shrine created the annual Squier- Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence, honoring Hall alongside legendary TV broadcaster Ken Squier. MORE: The story behind the Squier- Hall Award " Squier, Hall recognized for media excellence Shortly after news of Hall's passing surfaced, drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Brad Keselowski , Chase Elliott and many more took to Twitter to pay tribute. Barney Hall was a legend. He was the nicest, most genuine and funniest man I've ever met! He will be greatly missed. — Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) January 27, 2016 Thank you Barney . You were a blessing and will be missed. https://t.co/0n52ssKUEQ — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) January 27, 2016 This is awful, awful news. Great guy & incredible spokesman for the sport for decades. I'll never forget that voice. https://t.co/SWB4ngmpZE — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) January 27, 2016 Had the honor of being in the booth with Barney at 2014 Daytona July race. When I hear "The Voice of NASCAR" I think Barney Hall . Legend. — Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) January 27, 2016 Sad to hear about the passing of Barney Hall . Such a legendary voice and factual commentator for MRN. Thoughts and prayers to his family. — Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) January 27, 2016 Very sorry to hear of the passing of Barney Hall . He did so much for the sport. Such a legendary voice. — Joey Logano (@joeylogano) January 27, 2016 So sad to here the news of Barney Hall he was the voice of Nascar when I was growing up I listened to him every Sunday #RipBarney — Ty Dillon (@tydillon) January 27, 2016 There will never be another like him. Our thoughts & prayers are with the family & @MRNRadio friends of Barney Hall . pic.twitter.com/mUOIKyKNfB — RCR (@RCRracing) January 27, 2016 Loved listening to Barney Hall call races as we were running up and down the road to dirt tracks he was so good!! @MRNRadio — Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (@StenhouseJr) January 27, 2016 Saddened to hear about loss of Barney Hall . His voice synonymous with the excitement & growth of our sport. His Impact is immeasurable. — Eric McClure (@ericmcclure) January 27, 2016 When I was young, like many I'd stage races on floor w/toy cars. Except I would record play-by-play on tape. I wanted to be Barney Hall ... — Eric McClure (@ericmcclure) January 27, 2016 Growing up listening to the race cheering for my dad as a kid Barney hall was one of the best on the radio. Prayers for him and his family. — Jeb Burton (@JebBurtonRacing) January 27, 2016 Barney Hall was truly the best. A legend and an inspiration to many. Our deepest condolences to his friends and family. — JR Motorsports (@JRMotorsports) January 27, 2016 Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, fans and colleagues of the great Barney Hall . — Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) January 27, 2016 Rest in peace Barney , thank you for all your contributions to NASCAR. https://t.co/BwXp5GY0s2 — Tommy Baldwin Racing (@TBR_Racing) January 27, 2016 Perfect description for Barney Hall . Godspeed, Barney ! #NASCAR https://t.co/cIvGLxwJKI — BK Racing (@BKRacing_2383) January 27, 2016 Barney Hall – the Rembrandt and Picasso of painting a picture of NASCAR. The Hemingway and Twain of telling the story. RIP my dear friend. — Winston Kelley (@WinstonKelley) January 27, 2016 Thinking of the @MRNRadio family this morning & sending thoughts and prayers to Barney's loved ones. https://t.co/0gWV8wfgSo — Red Horse Racing (@RedHorseRacing) January 27, 2016 So sad to hear that Barney Hall passed away. A true pioneer in NASCAR His voice will be missed. One of the most respected men in our sport — ray evernham (@RayEvernham) January 27, 2016 Thank you Barney . https://t.co/trBNfxA6JX — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) January 27, 2016 Well said @MRNRadio . He will forever be a part of @NASCAR folklore. May he rest in peace. #BarneyHall https://t.co/ywjYIeXPfp — Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) January 27, 2016 Really hate to wake up to the passing of Barney Hall .. He has done so much for our sport and was a true gentleman pic.twitter.com/lAS2MWdYrt — Rodney Childers (@RodneyChilders4) January 27, 2016 Sad to see the passing of Barney Hall . Loved listening to him call races on @MRNRadio — AJ Allmendinger (@AJDinger) January 27, 2016 We often talk about people who helped make #NASCAR what it is today. @MRNRadio 's Barney Hall was one of those people. #ThanksBarney — Stewart-Haas Racing (@StewartHaasRcng) January 27, 2016 Was just in the Barney Hall studio this week. I will always remember his smooth calling of a race. RIP https://t.co/FZ6cGCAnEP — David Ragan (@DavidRagan) January 27, 2016 No voice like Barneys!!! One of the nicest guys this sport has ever known... https://t.co/lDOXE0nC8W — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) January 27, 2016 May you RIP Barney . Your love and passion for the sport could be felt through your voice... https://t.co/uLaNYxyblD — DeLana Harvick (@DeLanaHarvick) January 27, 2016 So sad to hear the passing of Barney Hall .. Loved listening to him on Sunday while we worked in the Go Kart shop.He was the voice of NASCAR — Elliott Sadler (@Elliott_Sadler) January 27, 2016 Thoughts and prayers to the @MRNRadio bunch and @TheMikeBagley . I know how much they'll be missing Barney and it's such a sad deal. #NASCAR — Jon Wood (@_JonWood) January 27, 2016 Rest In Peace, Barney Hall . pic.twitter.com/TQP49ACIqL — Roush Fenway Racing (@roushfenway) January 27, 2016 We are deeply saddened by the loss of legendary NASCAR broadcaster Barney Hall . Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone at @MRNRadio . — Toyota Racing (@ToyotaRacing) January 27, 2016
Barney Hall passes away at age of 83
RELATED: NASCAR community reacts to Barney Hall's passing Barney Hall , whose soothing voice delivered stock-car racing broadcasts over radio airwaves for 54 years, died Tuesday from complications after a recent medical operation. He was 83. Hall was a fixture with Motor Racing Network (MRN) since its inception in 1970. His longevity and connection to racing fans with his unique brand of storytelling earned Hall a place in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2012, when the shrine created the annual Squier- Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence, honoring Hall alongside legendary TV broadcaster Ken Squier. MORE: The story behind the Squier- Hall Award " Squier, Hall recognized "I learned a long time ago, listen to the fans," Hall told NASCAR.com in the days before his final broadcast in 2014. "If you do what makes them happy, you're pretty much OK. If not, ain't nobody happy." NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said of Hall following news of his passing: "The entire NASCAR family extends its condolences to the family, friends and fans of Barney Hall , a NASCAR broadcasting giant for more than 50 years. Barney's impeccable delivery and incredible storytelling skills left an indelible mark on the sport that he so clearly loved. His legacy remains through an honor that rightly carries his name -- the Squier- Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. It will remain a constant reminder of the skill and passion that Barney brought to his work." Seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty said this about Hall : "He defined calling the races over the radio and he was the best at what he did in his field for a long, long time. He was there loudly during some of our greatest times and there silently during others. He was our voice and our friend. He will be missed. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Barney and his family at this time." Hall's radio career began during his four years of active duty in the United States Navy. After his military service, he returned to his hometown of Elkin, North Carolina, as a disc jockey for local station WIFM. RELATED: Barney Hall through the years Hall transitioned to calling on-track action, joining his first broadcast of the Daytona 500 in 1960 and was the first public address announcer at Bristol Motor Speedway when it opened one year later. Hall began his career with MRN as a reporter calling the action from the turns. As NASCAR grew from a regional sport to having a wider national reach, Hall moved to the booth and his recognizable voice resonated with a larger audience. "Whether you met him or not, you felt like you knew him," said Winston Kelley, executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and a colleague of Hall's at MRN. "His easy, conversational delivery made you feel like you were listening to one of your closest friends or relatives tell you a story -- the story of the very NASCAR race he was describing. He could paint a picture that would make Picasso or Rembrandt proud and tell a story that would awe Hemingway or Twain. "He was not just a trusted voice to listeners and race fans, he became what many believe is the most trusted journalist in NASCAR by the sport's competitors for decades." Hall made his final broadcast in July 2014 at Daytona International Speedway , calling Aric Almirola 's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in the track's rain-shortened summer race. He received a standing ovation in the pre-race drivers' and crew chiefs' meeting. "To have been in this stuff for 54 years, I've gotten to know everybody at one time or another," said Hall , who received the Bill France Award of Excellence in 2007. "It's a pretty good feeling to go in that garage and hear somebody at some point go, 'Hey, Barney Hall , how you doing?' That makes you feel good. It really, really does." Hall is survived by his companion of 35 years, Karen Carrier, who was by Hall's side as he passed away.
Bruce: Remembering Barney Hall , the voice of NASCAR
RELATED: Hall passes away at 83 " Racing community reacts to Hall's passing He often said he had the best job in racing and the best seat in the house and maybe that's true, but the folks on the other end of the airwaves probably disagreed on the latter point. Wherever one might be while listening to Barney Hall "call" a race was the best seat and that might be sitting at home or riding down the highway. Regardless of where the action was getting ready to unfold, all one had to hear was "And the pace car's about to ease off onto pit road" to know that you were in the capable, comfortable hands of Barney Hall . The legendary announcer for Motor Racing Network passed away Tuesday. He was 83. PHOTOS: Barney Hall through the years "Give a call," and "up on the wheel" were just two of the many signature, go-to phrases coined by Hall , uttered with the ease and confidence bred from a career that spanned more than five decades. He informed listeners as to what was taking place on the track, but also entertained with stories that only a true insider would know. And Hall knew plenty. He didn't just have the ear of the listener, but that of the industry as well, due in large part to the respect he showed to others and the respect he had for his craft. Industry leaders confided in him. Drivers and owners sought his advice. His influence greatly overshadowed his slight frame, yet he would never admit as much. He was just a little ol' radio announcer from Elkin, North Carolina, doing his best to inform and entertain. He was on the air for some of NASCAR's biggest events, but was always hard-pressed to pick a favorite. Prior to his 2007 induction into the National Motorsports Hall of Fame, Hall recalled Dale Earnhardt's final victory, a stirring, come-from-behind win at Talladega, "but I also remember some of Richard (Petty's) finishes at Daytona," he said at the time. "It was personally satisfying to me when David Pearson won the Daytona 500 and Dale Earnhardt won the Daytona 500 . Because I knew both of them extremely well and I knew how much it meant to them despite the fact that they downplayed it, said 'if we never get a career win at Daytona it ain't no big deal,' because it was a big deal. I know how much it meant to them." What he didn't know was just what a big deal he was, and how much he meant to everyone else. " Barney will be forever the original voice of NASCAR," Petty, a seven-time premier series champion, said in a statement issued Wednesday. "He may not have been there at the first race, but he was at a lot of them and is a pioneer of the sport. He helped grow the sport nationally. He made it come to life, gave it excitement and made everyone feel like they were right there at the track, even if you weren't." Hall called his last race two years ago, the annual summer stop at Daytona International Speedway , but continued to contribute to MRN productions. His presence at the track was sorely missed, but in the last year or so, I've noticed something that seems to sum up how folks felt about him and what he meant to them. It's on those occasions when strolling through the garage one can hear the track P.A. announcer drop in a snippet of some long-ago race. Fans pause. And listen. And smile. As Barney's familiar voice calls the action and the leaders charge toward the finish line once more. So grieve at his passing, but smile when you think of all the pleasure Barney Hall brought to so many for so long.
Helton remembers Barney Hall on Sirius XM
NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton talks on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio about the lasting impact of Barney Hall on the sport of NASCAR.
Barney Hall honored prior to final race for MRN
TNT's Adam Alexander, Wally Dallenbach, and Kyle Petty took time out of their pre-race show to honor legendary radio announcer Barney Hall as he gets set to call his final race for MRN.
Five new names on list of 2017 Hall of Fame nominees
RELATED: NASCAR reveals nominees for 2017 Hall of Fame class " MORE: See the 2017 Hall of Fame nominees Longtime NASCAR team owner Jack Roush and four-time Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday highlight five new nominees to be considered for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2017. Roush and Hornaday join former premier series driver Ricky Rudd, winning engine builder Waddell Wilson and television broadcaster/journalist Ken Squier as first-time nominees. The NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominating Committee met last week in Daytona Beach, Florida, to determine this year's list of nominees. All 15 of those on the 2016 list that were not chosen for induction return on the 2017 ballot. Roush, 73, has been a car owner in NASCAR's premier series since 1988, and the Roush Fenway Racing organization has earned 135 Sprint Cup victories as well as two series championships. Four RFR drivers have won five XFINITY Series titles while the organization also sports one CWTS crown. Hornaday, 57, won Truck Series titles in 1996, '98, 2007 and '09. When he stepped aside at the end of the 2014 season, his 51 career victories were tops for the series, a mark that still stands. Rudd earned 23 premier series wins in a career that spanned three decades. One of the top road racers of his generation, Rudd scored NASCAR wins for some of the sport's top team owners, including Richard Childress, Bud Moore and Rick Hendrick. Winning the 1997 Brickyard 400 was notable as Rudd managed the feat as an owner/driver. Wilson's engines took drivers to more than 100 premier series victories, while as a crew chief, he won 19 times, including three times in the Daytona 500 . Squier began his broadcasting career at age 12 (his father owned and operated a television station) and was part of the first crew to call the Daytona 500 live (in 1979). The Squier- Hall Award, created in 2012, honors the contributions of media to the success of the sport and is named in honor of Squier and longtime Motor Racing Network broadcaster Barney Hall . The Nominating Committee also determined the list of five candidates for the Landmark Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to NASCAR. New to the 2017 list is Janet Guthrie, the first woman to qualify for and compete in the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500 . She joins Martinsville (Va.) Speedway track founder H. Clay Earles, former car owner Raymond Parks, Ralph Seagraves of former series sponsor RJ Reynolds and its Sports Marketing Enterprises marketing arm, and Squier. The 15 returning nominees among those to be considered for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame for 2017: Buddy Baker -- Nineteen career premier series wins. Red Byron -- NASCAR's first strictly stock champion. Richard Childress -- Currently boasts 105 premiers series wins and six championships as a car owner. Ray Evernham -- Won three premier series titles as crew chief for Jeff Gordon ; as an owner, worked with Dodge when the manufacturer re-entered NASCAR. Ray Fox -- Car owner, engine builder and crew chief; won 14 times as an owner. Rick Hendrick -- Team owner whose Hendrick Motorsports organization has won 11 premier series titles and 240 races. Harry Hyde -- For two decades (1960s though '80s), Hyde was one of the most successful crew chiefs in the garage; helped guide Bobby Isaac to the 1970 premier series title. Alan Kulwicki -- Won premier series title in 1992 as an owner/driver. Mark Martin -- Took runner-up honors in championship battle five times; ended career with 40 premier series wins, 49 in XFINITY Series and seven in Trucks. Herschel McGriff -- A four-time winner based on the West Coast, McGriff enjoyed one of the longest NASCAR driving careers in NASCAR; former Winston West Series champion. Raymond Parks -- First team owner to win strictly stock championship (with driver Red Byron). Benny Parsons -- Former premier series champion who enjoyed a successful second career in the broadcast booth. Larry Phillips -- Legendary short track ace from the Midwest; won five NASCAR national Weekly Series titles and seven regional championships. Mike Stefanik -- Seven-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion. Robert Yates -- Engine builder and championship winning team owner (57 wins). Voting Panel and Nominating Committee members will meet May 25 to determine the 2017 Hall of Fame class.
Steve Byrnes honored with Squier-Hall Award
RELATED: Steve Byrnes passes away at 56 CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The NASCAR Hall of Fame honored late broadcaster Steve Byrnes on Saturday at the weather-delayed induction ceremony at the Charlotte Convention Center. His son Bryson accepted the Squier‑ Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence earlier this afternoon at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on behalf of his father, who passed away from cancer in April. "This day is about those who paved the way in our sport," FOX Sports broadcaster Krista Voda said during Byrnes' introduction. "Each of us has a person, the one who guided us, who gave us a blueprint. Steve Byrnes was my person, my mentor, my friend. In April, Steve lost his courageous battle with cancer but not before serving as an inspiration to the entire NASCAR community." The Squier- Hall award is named in honor of legendary broadcasters Ken Squier and Barney Hall and has been presented to influential members of NASCAR media for the past three years. Byrnes' wife, Karen, and son, Bryson, were among the many family members present at the induction ceremony. "Just be nice to others," Bryson Byrnes said on lessons his father taught him. "You know, just enjoy what you do, have a great attitude while doing it, and just always going full out when you do do something, and do what you love, and when you do do it, just do it with a heart and a passion of doing it." RELATED: Through the years photo gallery Drivers Darrell Wallace Jr . and Dale Earnhardt Jr . were among those to tweet tributes and remebrances of Byrnes after Saturday's ceremonies at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. I often delete pics but this one has always been in the bank. It's a constant reminder of how great he was! pic.twitter.com/56sgTqRA8A — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) January 23, 2016 One of the best EVER to cover the sport. Steve Byrnes honored with the Squier- Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence @NASCARHall today. — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) January 23, 2016
NASCAR announces updates to Hall of Fame voting panel
NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2016 Voting Day set for May 20 RELATED: Steve Byrnes to vote on NASCAR Hall of Fame heroes DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR today announced several revisions to the NASCAR Hall of Fame (NHOF) Voting Panel. The 58-member panel will vote for the NHOF Class of 2016 on Wednesday, May 20 in Charlotte, North Carolina, to be announced that afternoon in the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Great Hall . For the first time, new NASCAR broadcast partner NBC will be represented on the Voting Panel. Below are the eight new members of the NHOF Voting Panel. • Ron Bennett, Holland (New York) Motorsports Complex • Jeff Burton , NBC Sports Network • Steve Byrnes, FOX Sports 1 • Brent Dewar, NASCAR • Eli Gold, Motor Racing Network • Kevin Harvick , reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion • Marty Smith, ESPN • Jim Utter, Charlotte Observer A full list of the panel members can be found below. "These eight new voters collectively hold a vast array of NASCAR knowledge from all disciplines of the industry," said Brett Jewkes, NASCAR senior vice president and chief communications officer. "Each new member brings a unique background and passion for the history of NASCAR and will contribute greatly to the Hall of Fame voting process." The 22-member Nominating Committee -- which includes the additions of Bennett and Dewar -- will meet on Friday, Feb. 20 in Daytona Beach, Florida, to discuss, debate, and vote for the 20 NHOF Class of 2016 nominees and five nominees for the second Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. The results will be announced that afternoon at Daytona International Speedway . Additionally, Dr. Jerry Punch will move to the voting panel for the Squier- Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. The fifth recipient of the award will be announced during the July race weekend at Daytona. The NHOF Class of 2015, which includes Bill Elliott, Fred Lorenzen, Wendell Scott, Joe Weatherly and Rex White, will be officially inducted on Friday, Jan. 30 at 8 p.m. ET live on NBC Sports Network. NOMINATING COMMITTEE NASCAR Hall of Fame: Executive Director Winston Kelley; Historian Buz McKim. NASCAR Officials: Chairman / CEO Brian France; Vice Chairman Jim France; President Mike Helton; Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar; Executive Vice President / Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell; Executive Vice President / Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps; Senior Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton; Competition Administrator Jerry Cook. Track Owners/Operators: International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa Kennedy; Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell; Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage; Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark; former Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony George; Dover Motorsports CEO Denis McGlynn; Pocono Raceway board of director member Looie McNally; Bowman Gray Stadium operator Dale Pinilis; Holland Motorsports Complex operator Ron Bennett; Rockford Speedway operator Jody Deery; West Coast representative Ken Clapp. Media: Mike Joy, FOX. VOTING PANEL The Voting Panel consists of the above 22-member Nominating Committee and the following 36 representatives. In addition a Fan Vote is the 59th -- and final -- vote. American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association: Dusty Brandel, AARWBA President. Eastern Motorsports Press Association: Ron Hedger, EMPA President. National Motorsports Press Association: Brian Nelson, NMPA President. Print & Online Media: Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com; Jenna Fryer, Associated Press; Al Pearce, Autoweek; Jim Pedley, RacinToday.com; Bob Pockrass, Sporting News; Nate Ryan, USA Today; Jim Utter, Charlotte Observer. Broadcasters: Rick Allen, NBC; Jeff Burton , NBCSN; Steve Byrnes, FS1; Eli Gold, MRN; Dave Moody, SiriusXM; Doug Rice, PRN; Marty Smith, ESPN. Manufacturers: Jim Campbell, Chevrolet; Edsel Ford, Ford; David Wilson, Toyota. Retired Drivers: Ned Jarrett; Richard Petty; Ricky Rudd. Retired Car Owners: Junior Johnson; Bud Moore; Robert Yates. Retired Crew Chiefs: Buddy Parrott; Waddell Wilson; Eddie Wood. Reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion : Kevin Harvick . Industry Leaders: Former NASCAR Senior Vice President Paul Brooks; MRN announcer Barney Hall ; Retired Associated Press writer Mike Harris; former motor sports journalist Tom Higgins; former broadcaster Ken Squier; former Charlotte Motor Speedway President Humpy Wheeler. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NASCAR Hall of Fame inducts class of 2015
Annual ceremony pays tribute to five racing legends RELATED: More NASCAR Hall of Fame coverage HALL OF FAME PRESENTATIONS: Elliott " Lorenzen " Scott " White " Weatherly CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- On Friday night, in a particularly moving ceremony, the NASCAR Hall of Fame welcomed one of the most significant classes since the induction of its inaugural class in 2010. Perennial most popular driver Bill Elliott headlined a five-member class that also included NASCAR trailblazer Wendell Scott, the first African-American driver ever to win at NASCAR's highest level and the first ever to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame; Fred Lorenzen, a supremely talented driver who won 26 of his 158 career starts; two-time champion Joe Weatherly, who won 25 races in NASCAR's premier series and 101 races in the NASCAR modified ranks; and 1960 champion Rex White, who started 233 races and finished in the top five in 110 of them. Introduced by three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart , Lorenzen, from Elmhurst, Illinois, was one of the first "northern" drivers to gain acceptance in what was, at the time, a predominantly Southeastern sport. Though Lorenzen never competed in more than 29 races in a single season, he won 26 times in 158 starts, a remarkable winning percentage of 16.46. "One of the most pivotal moments of dad's career came on Christmas Eve 1960, when Ralph Moody called dad and asked him to drive for Holman Moody," said Lorenzen's son, Chris, in accepting induction on behalf of his father. "Soon after, there he was at Darlington driving his Holman Moody Ford signature pearlescent white No. 28 to Victory Lane ... Dad always said, 'The sky is the limit, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.' That has been dad's most important saying in life, and he certainly lived by it." Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon introduced the late Wendell Scott, whose Dec. 1, 1963 victory at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida, stands as the first win by an African-American driver in NASCAR's top series. In a career that included 495 starts, Scott recorded 147 top-10 finishes. "We have been led to this great celebration and enshrinement tonight because of the character, tenacity and determination of Wendell O. Scott Sr.," Scott's son, Franklin, said in accepting induction on behalf of his father. "I believe dad envisioned a night such as this comprised of his family, friends and fellow competitors. Unfortunately, the love of his life, Mary Scott, is not here physically because of health reasons, but her spirit is definitely here in a very profound way. "The legacy of Wendell Scott depicts him as one of the great vanguards of the sport of NASCAR racing. Daddy was a man of great honor. He didn't let his circumstances define who he was. The Bible teaches that before a person can have honor, they must first have integrity and humility. In addition another one of his great attributes was perseverance. There were two words that were forbidden for us to use growing up in the Scott household. Those words were 'can't' and 'never.' "In spite of the many obstacles, struggles and hardships he faced, he persevered. What seemed to be insurmountable odds to others, daddy considered it an opportunity. His intestinal fortitude to follow his dreams has placed him among the greatest to ever compete in the sport he loved -- racing." Reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick took the dais to introduce the third new member of the Hall of Fame, 1960 champion Rex White, who collected 28 victories and 36 poles in his 233 starts in NASCAR's premier series. "Words can't express how honored I am to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame along with the other Hall of Fame members, especially my 2015 fellow inductees," White said. "No driver wins a championship by himself, and nobody enters the Hall of Fame alone. I am the symbol of a team effort. From my first race in 1953 until now, this effort spans 62 years." Brad Keselowski , 2012 NSCS champion introduced Joy Barbee, niece of the late Joe Weatherly, who won championships in 1962 and 1963 before a crash in the fifth race of the 1964 season, at Riverside (Calif.) Raceway took his life. Known as the "Clown Prince of Stock Car Racing" for his gregarious nature and proclivity for practical jokes (rubber snakes were a favorite), Weatherly won 25 races and 18 poles in 229 starts. "Being the youngest of seven, I was only two-and-a-half when Joe was killed, so I really don't remember him at all, but what I can share with you is a memory that I will hold forever in my heart and that is a memory about the love of a brother and a sister, Joe and my mother Betty. "I feel like I knew Joe through her, through the stories she would tell us as kids, and the passion you could hear in her voice when she spoke of him ... I must say that standing here tonight is such a great honor, and I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be here accepting this award on behalf of my Uncle Joe." Kasey Kahne , who took over the No. 9 car from Elliott, introduced his racing hero, "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville," the most prolific winner of the 2015 Hall of Fame class with 44 victories in NASCAR's top series, 16th on the all-time list. Elliott won the Cup championship in 1988 after becoming the first driver in series history to claim the Winston Million in 1985 with victories in the Daytona 500 , Southern 500 at Darlington Speedway and Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway . Champion crew chief Ray Evernham performed the official induction of Elliott, who advanced to NASCAR's highest level from a small family operation in Dawsonville, Georgia. "It's just an honor to be here, guys," Elliott said. "If you look on the walls here at the people who are already inducted into this great Hall of Fame, it's just incredible ... One thing that I look at out here today, guys, is one common bond with all these racers is the hard work and the dedication all these guys had. "And for me to stand up here among the guys that have already been here is totally incredible." Anne Bledsoe France, wife of founder and NASCAR Hall of Fame member Bill France Sr., was honored with the first Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Familiarly known as "Annie B," Anne B. France handled the business end of NASCAR racing while "Big Bill" grew the sport into a national phenomenon. Lesa France Kennedy, CEO of International Speedway Corporation, accepted the award on behalf of her grandmother. Renowned Charlotte Observer racing writer Tom Higgins received the Squier- Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence, joining Ken Squier, Barney Hall and the late Chris Economaki. NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes aptly referred to the quartet as the "Mount Rushmore" of motorsports journalism.