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.
Hall's call: 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame class revealed
RELATED: More on the Hall of Fame " See all of the nominees CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Two phenomenally successful contemporary car owners, a champion driver-turned-beloved-broadcaster, a driver with a prolific winning history and the man described as NASCAR racing's "original car owner" are the newly elected members of the 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame class. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France introduced the new inductees on Wednesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, calling this group of five perhaps "the greatest class yet." The new members, selected from a group of 20 nominees, include 1973 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and 1975 Daytona 500 winner Benny Parsons, who later became one of the most revered television broadcasters in the sport's history; team owner Rick Hendrick, who has notched a record 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles; driver Mark Martin, whose 96 career victories across NASCAR's three national touring series are sixth all-time; car owner Raymond Parks, whose cars won the first NASCAR modified title in 1948 and NASCAR's first premier series title a year later; and car owner Richard Childress, whose pairing with Hall of Fame driver Dale Earnhardt produced six championships and 67 victories in NASCAR's top division. Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles is this year's recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. MORE: Hall of Fame reaction pours in Parsons, who succumbed to lung cancer on Jan. 16, 2007, was named on 85 percent of ballots cast by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Committee. Parsons had been on the ballot for eight years. "This is the biggest honor of Benny's life," said Terri Parsons, his widow. "It summarizes everything he has ever worked toward. Every job he has ever had, be it as a race car driver in all divisions, host of NASCAR radio shows, NASCAR color commentator for TV networks each were just as important to him as the next. "He lived his life for NASCAR fans and helping to make the sport of auto racing a better sport for them to enjoy. I know he is smiling his big smile tonight saying, 'Unbelievable!' " In a career that spanned 25 years, Parsons won 21 Sprint Cup races in 526 starts, but he was a top-10 machine, recording 283 for a staggering percentage of 53.8. Hendrick, who received 62 percent of the vote, has won car owner titles in the Sprint Cup Series with three different drivers -- six with Jimmie Johnson , four with Jeff Gordon and one with fellow Hall of Famer Terry Labonte . Hendrick's 242 owner wins in the premier series rank second all-time. "I'm extremely proud to go in with Benny Parsons and Mark Martin , who drove for me, and then Richard Childress, who's one of my closest friends in the sport," Hendrick said. "Parks… I watched the video on him, and he kind of helped the sport get started. "So I'm really humbled to be in the position I'm in. I've been doing it now for 33 years, and I hope that we've got some more things to accomplish, but I'm very, very appreciative of the fact that I got voted in while I’m still racing." Martin, who garnered 57 percent of the vote, boasts the highest Sprint Cup victory total (40) of any eligible driver not already inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. In addition, Martin has 49 NASCAR XFINITY Series wins to his credit (second all-time), along with seven wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. His 56 Sprint Cup poles rank seventh on the all-time list. PHOTOS: Martin, other inductees through the years Martin, who was runner-up in the final Sprint Cup standings on five occasions, most recently in 2009 at age 50, described his selection to the Hall of Fame as the "crown jewel of my career." "I didn't expect it," Martin said. "And I'm so grateful to the people who helped me get there… I have so many great memories of the sport. The class that I'm being inducted in, I’m humbled to no end." Parks, named on 53 percent of the ballots, funded his racing operations through his successful real estate ventures in Atlanta. With mechanic Red Vogt tuning his cars, Parks dominated stock car racing in the 1940s and 1950s, teaming with Red Byron to win the inaugural modified title in 1948 and the first premier series championship in 1949. Also included on Parks' roster of drivers over the years were Bob Flock, Roy Hall , Fonty Flock and NASCAR Hall of Famer Curtis Turner. Park, who has been on the Hall of Fame ballot for eight years, passed away in 2010 at age 96. Childress, who was included on 43 percent of voting panel ballots, started his career as a driver but found considerably more success in the sport as an owner. In addition to the races and titles he won with Earnhardt, Childress holds 11 owner's championship trophies in NASCAR's top three series, second only to Hendrick's 14. Childress performed the posthumous induction of close friend and driver Dale Earnhardt into the first NASCAR Hall of Fame Class. "I was really, really honored and proud that day," Childress said. "I didn't really expect to get in because I was told that the only way you were going to get in was to retire or be deceased -- and I sure liked the first one better, and I haven't got plans to retire yet either." Landmark Award winner Earles had a simple business philosophy that made Martinsville Speedway one of the most pre-eminent short tracks in the country. "The secret to success in our business is giving the customer what he wants," Earles said before his death in 1999. "When a man plunks down his money, he deserves the best. You try to make him comfortable, give him a great show and make sure he gets his money's worth. And we've always tried to do just that. "Your customers are your greatest assets, and that will never change. You actually sell the customer a memory as much as a race. If their memories are good, they’ll keep coming back." Note: Hendrick and Childress will field a combined seven cars in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (6 p.m. ET on FOX).
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.
Hall of Fame preview: Mark Martin among contenders
RELATED: Meet 2017's nominees " Live stream of reveal, 5 p.m. ET Mark Martin will be one of 20 people considered for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame when the Voting Panel convenes in Charlotte on Wednesday to determine the 2017 class. (TV coverage: NBCSN, 5 p.m. ET) Three of those on the ballot are former premier series champions -- Red Byron, NASCAR's first Strictly Stock champion in 1949; Benny Parsons, the 1973 winner who went on to enjoy a successful second career in the broadcast booth; and Alan Kulwicki, killed in a plane crash just four-and-a-half months after capturing the 1992 crown. There was no championship trophy for Martin, who retired from competition at the end of the 2013 season. But that doesn't diminish the accomplishments the Batesville, Arkansas, native garnered during a career that spanned more than three decades. Martin, 57, won 40 times in the premier series, with victories coming at 21 different tracks. He finished 10th or better 453 times, in more than half of his 882 career starts. He also won 56 poles. RELATED: Live stream, 5 p.m. ET, Wednesday In the battle for the championship, Martin placed second five times, a mark he shares with current Hall of Fame member Bobby Allison, and he scored 17 top-10 points finishes during his career. "It makes me proud I was able to be as successful as I was and grateful for the opportunities I had," Martin told Little Rock, Arkansas, radio station KABZ-FM recently. "To be real honest I didn't enjoy a … significant part of my career because I was trying so hard to get that championship because I wanted it, and even more than that, the people who supported me wanted it for me so badly. I saw time running out. "I spent too much of my time focused on that and not enjoying the opportunities I had. Today, when I look back on it I wish I hadn't done that." Martin lost the 1990 title by 26 points to Dale Earnhardt and finished second to the Richard Childress Racing driver again four years later. Other runner-up finishes through the years came against Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson . "My life would not be different one bit had I won one of those or not," Martin said. "I had a great career. … I don't think it would have changed a thing in my life had I won one of those trophies. I was very close. I got beat by only four of the greatest of all time in NASCAR in my opinion. … "I'm not embarrassed." Earnhardt was one of five members inducted into the Hall ’s inaugural class in 2010. Gordon, a four-time series champion with 93 career victories, retired from driving at the end of 2015 and won't be eligible for Hall of Fame consideration until 2018 and possible induction until '19. Stewart, winner of three premier series titles and co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing , will cease to compete full time in the series following the 2016 season. Johnson is a six-time champion and boasts 77 career wins, including two thus far this season. In addition to his premier series exploits, Martin held the XFINITY Series record for career wins for 14 years and is also a seven-time winner in the Camping World Truck Series. It is his second consecutive appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot. First-year nominees for the 2017 ballot are former Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr ., team co-owner Jack Roush, driver Ricky Rudd, noted crew chief and engine builder Waddell Wilson and broadcaster Ken Squier. Rounding out the list of nominees are Buddy Baker, Richard Childress, Ray Evernham, Ray Fox, Rick Hendrick, Harry Hyde, Hershel McGriff, Raymond Parks, Larry Phillips, Mike Stefanik and Robert Yates. Also to be determined by the Voting Panel is the 2017 recipient of the Landmark Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to NASCAR. The five nominees are Martinsville Speedway track founder H. Clay Earles, driver Janet Guthrie, team owner Raymond Parks, former RJ Reynolds executive Ralph Seagraves and Squier. The Voting Panel is scheduled to begin the selection process Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. ET at the Charlotte Convention Center. The announcement of those chosen will take place in the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Great Hall (5 p.m. ET, NBCSN). NASCAR.com will also live stream the event: You can watch it live here.
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.
Parsons' 10-step list finally complete after Hall's call
RELATED: Five legends unveiled for 2017 Hall of Fame Class CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When Benny Parsons had learned that his recent cancer diagnosis was a terminal one, he made a plan for his wife, Terri, to carry out after his death in January 2007. On Wednesday, May 25 -- Voting Day for the NASCAR Hall of Fame -- Terri Parsons checked the last box on that 10-item list. "I know when Benny knew that he wasn't going to make it, his biggest fear was he was going to be forgotten. And I think this cements that," Terri Parsons said. "He will never be forgotten now, and I think his final wish ... he gave me a list of 10 things to do, and as of today, all 10 are done." Benjamin Stewart Parsons will forever be remembered as a NASCAR champion, a Daytona 500 winner and a blue-collar competitor behind the wheel. But he'll also be known as a brilliant, engaging commentator for stock-car racing from the TV booth. After Wednesday, if either of those memories were ever to fade, he'll now be forever known as a NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee. Mostly, Parsons will also be known simply as Benny, an everyman ambassador for the sport known as much for his driving and broadcasting skills as for his ability to bond with fans in the stands. That enduring popularity is what produced a groundswell of fan support on social media and an overwhelming show of approval by the 54-member voting panel, which named him on 85 percent of its ballots, leading all 20 Hall of Fame nominees. "It always meant a lot to Benny what people thought of him because Benny loved everybody," said Phil Parsons, Benny's younger brother and himself a longtime TV broadcaster. "From the fans to the competitors to the owners, sponsors, NASCAR, ARCA, whoever it might've been, they always meant a lot to him. So it was important that people liked him because he genuinely liked everybody in return. And I think he would be very pleased today knowing that this honor was bestowed upon him." Fellow Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett, whose bond with Parsons dates back to his earliest experience in NASCAR, shared the sentiment. Parsons made his first start in NASCAR's top divison in August 1964 at Asheville-Weaverville Speedway in western North Carolina. Jarrett won that Sunday in dominating fashion, but took time out of the race weekend to welcome the newcomer. That first chance meeting forged a friendship that extended beyond their driving careers and into television, where the two often shared a role as color commentator. "To have worked with him for so long on television and to see his dedication to the sport and the love for the fans, and the reaction of the fans over the years -- he was a people person," Jarrett said. "People could relate to him because he was one of them, just a down-to-earth type of individual who wanted the best for them, and they sensed that. With all of that, we became great friends." Jarrett said he had a strong gut feeling about Parsons on Wednesday, pointing also to the support he received in the voting room. Terri Parsons had a similar feeling, one that was somehow different than the previous seven votes -- all of which she faithfully attended. Maybe it was the overwhelming response she said she received from her persistent campaigning for her husband, reminding people every day to participate in fan balloting. Maybe it was her welcome upon her arrival at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Wednesday afternoon. "There was a man waiting for me at the parking place that said, 'Are you Mrs. Parsons? Hurry, hurry,' " she said with a laugh. "I felt a little different about that. They didn't care last year if I had a parking place or not." Benny Parsons now has a permanent place, one that will become official with his enshrinement in January 2017, close to the 10-year mark since his passing at age 65. "Somewhere tonight he's saying 'fantastic,' I'm sure, and we all know the smile that he'd have on his face, and there's certainly one on mine because I've been here for nine years waiting for this," Terri Parsons said, noting the time it's taken to cross the last item from her list. "All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you."