NASCAR reveals nominees for 2017 Hall of Fame class
RELATED: Five more names on list of 2017 Hall of Fame nominees " MORE: See the 2017 Hall of Fame nominees DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 24, 2016) -- Legendary engine builders, crew chiefs, owners, drivers and the most recognizable voice in motorsports. The talents, eras and levels may differ, but all share a common thread. They shaped NASCAR, and on Wednesday, they were recognized as nominees for the highest honor the sport bestows -- enshrinement into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. NASCAR today announced the 20 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Class of 2017, as well as the five nominees for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Included among the list are five first-time nominees, all legends who made excellence a habit through their various contributions to the sport. Among them are record-holding four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr .; the man with the most car owner wins in NASCAR national series history with 322, Jack Roush; former all-time consecutive starts leader Ricky Rudd; legendary motorsports broadcasting pioneer Ken Squier; and three-time premier series champion engine builder and three-time Daytona 500 -winning crew chief Waddell Wilson. For a full list of nominees, please see below. The nominees were selected by a nominating committee consisting of representatives from NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from both major facilities and historic short tracks, and the media. The committee's votes were tabulated by accounting firm Ernst & Young. From the list of 20 NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees, five inductees will be elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on NASCAR.com. Voting Day for the 2017 class will be Wednesday, May 25. Added to this year's list of Landmark Award nominees is Janet Guthrie -- the first female driver to compete in a NASCAR premier series superspeedway race. The four returning nominees for the Landmark Award are H. Clay Earles, Raymond Parks, Ralph Seagraves and Squier (more on each below). Potential Landmark Award recipients include competitors or those working in the sport as a member of a racing organization, track facility, race team, sponsor, media partner or being a general ambassador for the sport through a professional or non-professional role. Award winners remain eligible for NHOF enshrinement. Following are the 20 nominees for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, listed alphabetically: Buddy Baker , won 19 times in NASCAR's premier (now Sprint Cup ) series, including the Daytona 500 and Southern 500. Red Byron , first NASCAR premier series champion, in 1949. Richard Childress , 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series. Ray Evernham , three-time NASCAR premier series championship crew chief. Ray Fox , legendary engine builder, crew chief and car owner. Rick Hendrick , 14-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series. Ron Hornaday , four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion. Harry Hyde , 1970 NASCAR premier series championship crew chief. Alan Kulwicki , 1992 NASCAR premier series champion. Mark Martin , 96-time race winner in NASCAR national series competition. Hershel McGriff , 1986 NASCAR west series champion. Raymond Parks , NASCAR's first champion car owner. Benny Parsons , 1973 NASCAR premier series champion. Larry Phillips , only five-time NASCAR weekly series national champion. Jack Roush , five-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series. Ricky Rudd , won 23 times in NASCAR's premier series, including the 1997 Brickyard 400. Ken Squier , legendary radio and television broadcaster; inaugural winner/namesake of Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. Mike Stefanik , winner of record-tying nine NASCAR championships. Waddell Wilson , won three NASCAR premier series championships as an engine builder. Robert Yates , won NASCAR premier series championship as both an engine builder and owner. The five nominees for the Landmark Award, listed alphabetically, are: H. Clay Earles , founder of Martinsville Speedway . Janet Guthrie , the first female to compete in a NASCAR premier series superspeedway race. Raymond Parks , NASCAR's first champion car owner. Ralph Seagraves, formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Ken Squier , legendary radio and television broadcaster; inaugural winner/namesake of Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. NASCAR Hall of Fame Nomination Eligibility -- Drivers who have competed in NASCAR for at least 10 years and been retired for two years are eligible for nomination to the NHOF. Previously, eligible drivers must have been retired for three years. -- In addition, drivers who have competed for a minimum of 10 years and reached their 55th birthday on or before Dec. 31 of the year prior to the nominating year are immediately eligible for the NHOF. -- Any driver who has competed for 30 or more years in NASCAR competition by Dec. 31 of the year prior to the nominating year is automatically eligible, regardless of age. -- Drivers may continue to compete after reaching any of the aforementioned milestones without compromising eligibility for nomination or induction. -- For non-drivers, individuals must have worked at least 10 years in the NASCAR industry. -- Individuals may also be considered who made significant achievements in the sport, but left the sport early due to a variety of circumstances. The 22-person Nominating Committee: NOMINATION COMMITTEE NASCAR Hall of Fame: Executive Director Winston Kelley; Historian Buz McKim. NASCAR Officials: Chairman / CEO Brian France; Vice Chairman Jim France; Vice Chairman of NASCAR 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, Competition Scott Miller; Senior Vice President, Marketing & Driver Services Jill Gregory. Track Owners/Operators: International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy; Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell; Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage; Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark; former Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George; Dover Motorsports CEO Denis McGlynn; Pocono Raceway board of directors 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.
Matt Kenseth's suspension upheld on final appeal
MORE: Official release on decision " Kenseth suspended for two races CONCORD, N.C. -- Matt Kenseth 's suspension from NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition was upheld Thursday after a final appeal. The original probation period given was amended from six months to now through Dec. 31, 2015. The ruling issued by National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer Bryan Moss at the NASCAR Research & Development Center will keep Kenseth out of the next two races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs, at Texas this weekend and Phoenix the next. Moss' decision comes after a three-member panel upheld Kenseth's behavioral penalties -- stemming from his on-track fracas with rival Joey Logano last weekend at Martinsville Speedway -- during Thursday's initial appeals hearing. Moss' ruling is final. The burden of proof rested with Kenseth for the final appeal. In the first hearing, the burden of proof was NASCAR's responsibility. Earlier Thursday, the National Motorsports Appeals Panel ruled that Kenseth did not provide sufficient evidence to overturn his suspension or six-month probation for the on-track incident. The rotating three-member panel for the initial hearing was composed of Ken Clapp, NASCAR's vice president of marketing development until his retirement in 1999; Bill Mullis, a former driver and the owner of Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va.; and Dale Pinilis, longtime operator of historic Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. The final appeal was only the third hearing overseen by Moss, a former Gulfstream Aerospace executive who joined the NASCAR appeals process last year. Moss also heard the final appeal for behavioral penalties against driver Kurt Busch in February, and the last appeal for technical penalties against Richard Childress Racing 's No. 31 team in May. Moss upheld the decision of the three-member panel in both instances. Kenseth offered a smile as he arrived at the R&D Center on Thursday morning at approximately 8:10 a.m. ET, followed minutes later by team owner Joe Gibbs for the 9 a.m. hearing. RELATED: France explains reasoning behind penalty On Tuesday, NASCAR suspended Kenseth for the next two races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs for his role in a crash with Logano in the late stages of Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway . Kenseth was also placed on probation for six months. Kenseth's Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota, several laps down, made heavy contact with Logano's race-leading Team Penske No. 22 Ford, sending both cars into the Turn 1 wall. NASCAR competition officials parked Kenseth for the remainder of the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 . Kenseth, Gibbs and No. 20 crew chief Jason Ratcliff were each summoned to the NASCAR officials' hauler for post-race consultation. Kenseth was eliminated from championship eligibility during the three-race Contender Round in large part because of an on-track run-in with Logano at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 18. Contact from Logano nudged race leader Kenseth into a late-race spin, ending his bid for an automatic berth in the Chase's next round. WHAT TRANSPIRED: Kansas " Martinsville Kenseth expressed frustration at Logano's unapologetic stance after the incident, saying he "should have stopped running his mouth, A, and No. 2, he's lying when he said he didn't do it on purpose." Kenseth's irritation mounted in the two races that followed -- at Talladega, when Logano hindered his entry to pit road during a mid-race stop; and at Martinsville as Logano and teammate Brad Keselowski orchestrated their maneuvers in a series of mid-race restarts. The Penske drivers' arrangement on restarts was partially to blame for a crash with 65 laps remaining, bottling up the front-runners and snaring Kenseth, Keselowski and Kurt Busch with the most damage. Kenseth's No. 20 returned to the track after repairs, running at reduced pace before his wreck with Logano at the front of the field. Joe Gibbs Racing released a statement shortly after Tuesday's penalty was issued, saying Kenseth would appeal the severity of the punishment.
Modified great Jerry Cook to go in NASCAR Hall of Fame
RELATED: Learn more about the NASCAR Hall of Fame Jerry Cook never intended to support his family driving a modified stock car. It kind of snuck up on the young resident of Rome, New York. Cook, who built his first modified at the age of 13, took the wheel by happenstance, when his hired driver wrecked two of the race cars he owned. That was in 1963, well before Cook won his first of six NASCAR modified championships. But Cook soon discovered he had a knack for winning races – and finishing well enough to cash a decent check when he didn't. "Every time I reached into my pocket, it had money in it," Cook would say later. "So I kept racing." And indeed Cook did – all the way into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, into which he’ll be inducted Jan. 22 as part of the Class of 2016 that also includes Bobby Isaac, Terry Labonte , O. Bruton Smith and Curtis Turner. Induction ceremonies will be live on NBCSN, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio beginning at 8 p.m. ET. Cook won modified championships in 1971-72 and 1974-77. Before retiring at the conclusion of the 1982 season, Cook also posted six championship points finishes of second and two of third. He won 342 NASCAR modified races in 1,474 career starts – and countless other non-sanctioned events. Cook finished among the top 10 an amazing 85% of the time. Cook joins fellow Roman and career-long modified racing rival Richie Evans in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The late Evans, a nine-time NASCAR modified champion, was inducted in 2012 as the first Hall member whose career wasn't connected to NASCAR's premier series. Cook is the second. "We've now finished off the battle of Rome," said Cook. "For me and Ritchie to both be in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, it kind of tops it off." Cook and Evans made upstate New York the epicenter of NASCAR modified racing in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. Each driver had his legion of fans – vociferous on behalf of the merits of their favorite charioteer. Cook and Evans were respectful of each other and friends off the track, yet as different as night and day. Evans was the flamboyant one, famous for living life to its fullest with rock and roll music as the race shop's background noise. A writer calling Cook’s home, however, would find the telephone answered by the driver’s wife, Sue, who would refer him to the backyard garage where preparing or repairing Cook's red cars was quietly taking place. Ray Evernham, a former modified driver, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship crew chief and television analyst had this to say about Cook: "Jerry was not a guy who raced on the edge. Jerry won his share no doubt. But if he didn't win, he was still going to be in the top five." In some years, Cook's team would run nearly 100 races, at up to 19 tracks of all sizes, shapes and surfaces from New England to Virginia. Some of Cook's signature wins took place outside New York and New England. Cook’s first major victory was the 1969 Dogwood 500 at Martinsville Speedway . He won a trio of 200-lap races at the tough, Bowman - Gray Stadium (in North Carolina) quarter mile between 1977 and 1980. The closest Cook came to the NASCAR premier series was a Daytona 500 qualifying race in 1973. His car's engine blew seven laps from the end. Cook, with a wife and two children, took a look at what non-factory-supported drivers were winning and decided to stay in the modifieds. "So that's why I stuck with what I did best," he said. Cook retired after winning the Spencer Speedway championship in 1982. For more than 30 years he was a key member of NASCAR's competition department and was instrumental in the formation of the current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Cook, 72, was named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers in 1998. He is a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame and New York Stock Car Hall of Fame.
Opinion: Time for NASCAR to deliver message of its own
Editor's note: The views expressed in this column are solely those of the author. Are you not entertained? In a nod to the gladiator era, Martinsville Speedway 's round in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason worked a packed coliseum into a frenzy Sunday, with Matt Kenseth taking his pound of flesh from Joey Logano in a move that stretched the limits of NASCAR's unwritten "boys, have at it" policy to let drivers settle differences amongst themselves. NASCAR's big-league playoffs channeled shades of a Saturday night showdown at Bowman Gray Stadium , the historic NASCAR-sanctioned short track where weekend warriors fuel their long-running feuds with regular fits of retaliation -- all to the delight of the bloodthirsty crowd. Sunday, shockingly, it happened with the cameras rolling on one of stock-car racing's biggest stages. RELATED: Logano calls Kenseth a 'complete coward' At the center was Kenseth, who -- to borrow baseball jargon -- had already backed Logano off the plate with instances of hard racing over the course of the first 400 laps. But what happened on Lap 454 was no mere brushback pitch. This was a purposeful beanball directed at the head, the result of bubbling-over tensions from Logano's punting of Kenseth in a late-race battle for the lead at Kansas Speedway two weeks ago. In the short trip from his car's wrecked carcass to the infield care center, Kenseth conjured up mechanical or tire-failure hokum in a thin attempt to explain away the telegraphed laying in wait for payback. Maybe his car wouldn't turn or stop, but it was driveable enough to plow Logano's Ford into the wall like so much snow. The surprising move runs crosscurrent to Kenseth's mild-mannered and relatively easy-going reputation. But that character has also shown glimpses of a testy nature over his career, with Sunday's showing, his history of bumper cars at the same Martinsville track with Brian Vickers a few years ago, and his famed post-race tackle between the haulers of Brad Keselowski in the Charlotte Chase race making that short list. GALLERY: Photos of the incident from the track, garage Kenseth may not take ownership of the crash or his intent, but it's a teachable moment and an opportunity for NASCAR officials to take ownership of the competition back in house. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said Sunday evening that series officials were "certainly disappointed" in the run-in and that it merited further discussion, with any possible penalties emerging Tuesday. Even O'Donnell smiled with a "no comment" when asked if Kenseth's car failure theory was plausible. Longtime fans would have to dig back into the sport's lawless, rough-and-tumble early years to find a similar example, but there isn't really a comparable case in recent memory for Sunday's antics, where an ailing, laps-down driver decides that a dominant, leading driver won't make it to the finish. The Jeff Gordon - Clint Bowyer altercation at Phoenix in November 2012 comes close, with off-the-pace Gordon waiting for Bowyer to pass before ramming his rival, ultimately earning a $100,000 fine and 25-point penalty. Kyle Busch wrecking Ron Hornaday under caution during a truck race at Texas a few years back? Also close, but the two principles in that instance were both on the same lap, racing for position before tensions erupted. At stock-car racing's weekly levels, laps-down drivers wait on leading cars to mete out revenge and it's all part of the show. Is it part of the Sprint Cup show? Tuesday's anticipated penalty announcement -- and the promotional ads pitching the series' next race this weekend at Texas -- will tell the tale. NASCAR officials want to see emotions from competitors, but they also don't want to see cars wielded as weapons, especially with hard, intentional hits on the driver's side. They also want what's best for fans, who cheered lustily at Sunday's developments, though it may have been driven as much by Logano's comeuppance for his recent unapologetic aggression as by Kenseth's unsavory methods. Kenseth sent a message by unceremoniously ending Logano's three-victory streak with gusto. Now it's NASCAR's turn to deliver a message, one that resembles a 95-mph fastball high and inside. Otherwise, it's time to revise the 2016 schedule to add Bowman Gray to the Chase and allow the "boys, have at it" mantra to spread its wings in the name of entertainment. POLL: What's your opinion on incident?
Bloodlines help Bassett shoot for the stars
Young driver finished in fourth place in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series standings CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Dillon Bassett has proven to be a quick study. Yes, racing runs deep in his bloodlines, but the 17-year-old from Winston-Salem, North Carolina has seen the start of his NASCAR racing career get off to a soaring start. Bassett was among the drivers honored at Friday night's NASCAR Whelen All-American Series banquet in the Crown Ballroom of the Charlotte Convention Center. The evening recognized champions and rookies of the year on the state and provincial level as well as track champions, the top three finishers in the national title and a handful of other awards. RELATED: Anders honored as 2014 national champion " Awards photo gallery In his first full season, Bassett rolled off an impressive 13 wins, 31 top-five finishes and 35 top-10 finishes in 37 starts while finishing fourth in the final NASCAR Whelen All-American Series standings. He also finished second in the state championship standings to Lee Pulliam, the two-time national champion. Bassett received the inaugural UNOH Youth Achievement Award, which recognizes the top driver 17-and-under in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. "This is the first year I ran a full NASCAR series schedule and I think to win 13 races in your first year is pretty exciting," Bassett said. "I know after I clicked off like three in a row or something I was getting pumped up. And to finish the season with 13, I feel like it's a pretty good accomplishment for us." Among the tracks Bassett competed at this season included: Motor Mile Speedway, Anderson Motor Speedway, Southern National Motorsports Park, Hickory Motor Speedway, Caraway Speedway, East Carolina Motor Speedway and Langley Speedway. Hickory, where Bassett scored several victories this year, was one track that really stood out. "It's a local short track. A lot of good racing. We've been there quite a few times this year and it doesn't matter where you were at on the race track, it seemed like there was always racing going on. It's pretty fun. It had to be fun for the fans just to watch. You know, sometimes you go to tracks and you only have three or four cars racing; when we went to Hickory it just seemed like everybody was racing." At a young age, Bassett found great success in Bandolero Bandits. He won a national championship in 2006 and three national championships in 2007. When he moved to Legends cars in 2009, he won more national championships. Upon moving to limited late models in 2010, he won a track championship the following year. Dillon's father, Ronnie Bassett Sr., was a past NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track champion with a 1997 title in Stadium Stocks at Bowman Gray Stadium . His older brother, Ronnie Bassett Jr., just completed his first full season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and finished 11th in the final standings. Ronnie Jr. also was a Bandolero Bandit national champion in 2006 and won track and state championships. Of his family's history in the sport, Dillon says, "It gives you something to shoot for. "Right now I'm at an equal level of where my dad was running late models." In 2015, the plan is for Dillon to move up the NASCAR ladder. "Next year, me and my brother and going to run the (NASCAR) K&N Pro Series East. We're trying to step up as much as we can," Dillon said. He added that the goal was to run the full schedule, plus a handful of NASCAR K&N Pro Series West races as well, if the schedule permits. In addition to his strong 2014 season, Dillon turned some heads with his participation in the 2013 Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown. He scored the pole for the event before finishing seventh in a race that included NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars Kyle Busch , David Ragan , Kyle Larson , Matt Kenseth , Ricky Stenhouse Jr . and Tony Stewart . "It was fun to get out there and race with those guys. You are going to learn a ton considering they run in NASCAR's top series. It was a blast. Look forward to hopefully doing it some more. I know they changed tracks to South Boston this year and we didn't run it. The timing didn't work out. But hopefully, we can run it some more in the future." If Dillon Bassett continues to be a quick study as he moves up the ladder, he may find himself racing against some of those names a little more frequently. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
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
Rhodes looks to take next step into national series
K&N Pro Series East champ, 17, eyes move up RELATED: More coverage from Home Tracks " Learn more about Ben Rhodes For most high school students, the turn from spring into summer can come with a sharp decline in productivity, merely clicking off the days before vacation time. Ben Rhodes , however, was just getting warmed up. The 17-year-old product of Louisville, Kentucky, made the most of the seasonal transition with four consecutive wins in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. The string helped Rhodes secure the series championship with one race remaining, a run he capped off with a 15th-place finish last weekend at Dover International Speedway . Rhodes' season-ending tally of five wins and six pole positions is impressive enough; only Dylan Kwasniewski (six wins in 2013) and Joey Logano (five wins in 2007) have posted similar numbers. The streak of four victories in a row, though, only raised the degree of difficulty. "It felt really good; I probably should have enjoyed it more while it was happening because you don't realize what you have until its gone," said Rhodes, a member of the current NASCAR Next class of up-and-coming drivers."... Once it's gone, you realize how sweet it really was. We're working for it again. We've been trying this whole time to get some wins and create another streak, but we've just got to be more on top of our game with some of these races." Rhodes started off strong, qualifying on the front row in each of the first four races. He was on the pole position at Bristol Motor Speedway in March for one of the series' signature events, and while missing out on his first career victory with a third-place finish left a sour taste, he realized then that his Turner Scott Motorsports team had the potential for something special. "I'd say that was where it started. We carried that one for a long time, carried it throughout the year," Rhodes said. "The competition has really gotten tougher -- they're very good at what they do. They're all very talented. It's hard to race against these guys week in, week out. We all know each other pretty well, so we can kind of predict what we're going to do on the race track, so that's fun. It's been an interesting challenge for me this year, and I've really enjoyed it. I'd say we clicked around Bristol and from there, it's gotten only better." After Bristol, the wins came in bunches. Rhodes dominated at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina the following week for his first victory in the series, a triumph that vaulted him to a lead in the standings that he would never relinquish. After a runner-up effort at Richmond in April, the stunning streak of wins at Iowa Speedway , Bowman Gray Stadium , Five Flags Speedway and Langley Speedway gave Rhodes a commanding advantage. Rhodes held serve the rest of the way with three more top-fives, finishing with a 60-point edge in the K&N East standings over Canadian standout Cameron Hayley . All the while, he faced the rigors of school work, forcing a delicate balancing act with the series' 16-race schedule -- a Victory Lane celebration one day, pre-calculus problems and research papers the next. Meeting goals on both fronts wasn't easy, but Rhodes had a game face for each one. "It's hard, really hard. ... It's always hard just because it's hard to switch that focus," Rhodes said. "Once you get to the race track, I go into race mode and everything else is blocked out so it's hard to just switch your focuses like that. The school works with me very well, but it's still very hard for me to just switch the focus. I'm ready to be out, ready to focus on my racing career." Rhodes has already ventured into what may be his next steps, notching two top-10 finishes in his three appearances in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this season. While nothing is set in stone for 2015, Rhodes pulled no punches about where he'd like to be next year. "I would love to be running one of the national series, either the Camping World Truck Series or the XFINITY Series, but either way, I think the XFINITY Series will be much better and easier for me to transition into with the cars," Rhodes said. "The trucks from what I understand so far, they're a little bit different for the aero package and it's harder to get used to for me. I've gotten used to the radial tires now, so that was a really big step. But no plans right now. We're still working on some sponsorship opportunities and talking to teams. We'll see what we get lined up and hopefully here in the next couple months we'll have something." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
NASCAR TV schedule: June 1-7
Get full lineup of NASCAR programming for the week RELATED: See the full weekend schedule All times ET Monday, June 1 10 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks (re-air), FOX Sports 1 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 2 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 Tuesday, June 2 10 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket (re-air), FOX Sports 1 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 2 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 Wednesday, June 3 11 a.m., TUDOR United SportsCar Championship: Belle Isle (re-air) 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 2 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 Thursday, June 4 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 7 p.m., NASCAR K&N Pro Series East: Bowman Gray Stadium (tape), NBC Sports Network 8 p.m., NASCAR K&N Pro Series West: Shasta Speedway (tape), NBC Sports Network 2 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 Friday, June 5 10 a.m., NASCAR Masters of the Clock: The Legend of Martinsville (re-air), FOX Sports 1 11 a.m., One Hot Night: The NASCAR 1992 All-Star Race (re-air), FOX Sports 1 Noon, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1 4:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1 6 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1 8:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Setup, FOX Sports 1 9 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 400 , FOX Sports 1 Saturday, June 6 9 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1 11:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, FOX Sports 1 12:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Weekend Edition, FOX Sports 1 Sunday, June 7 11:30 a.m., NASCAR RaceDay: Dover, FOX Sports 1 1 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Axalta 'We Paint Winners' 400 , FOX Sports 1 &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;
Nominees for 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame class announced
Evernham, Kulwicki, Martin added to ballot; Landmark Award nominees named Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— Legendary engine builders, crew chiefs, owners and drivers. Their roles and responsibilities may have differed, but they all have one trait in common – each made an everlasting mark on NASCAR history. NASCAR today announced the 20 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016, as well as the five nominees for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Included among the list are five first-time nominees – legends all – who exceled in various disciplines, at various levels. RELATED: Photo gallery of the Class of 2016 nominees Among them are three-time NASCAR premier series championship crew chief Ray Evernham; 1970 NASCAR premier series championship crew chief Harry Hyde; 1992 NASCAR premier series champion Alan Kulwicki; winner of a combined 96 NASCAR national series races, Mark Martin; and 1986 NASCAR west series champion Hershel McGriff. For a full list of nominees, please see below. The nominees were selected by a nominating committee consisting of representatives from NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from both major facilities and historic short tracks and the media. The committee's votes were tabulated by accounting firm Ernst & Young. From the list of 20 NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees, five inductees will be elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on NASCAR.com. Voting Day for the 2016 class will be Wednesday, May 20. The five nominees for the Landmark Award are Harold Brasington, H. Clay Earles, Raymond Parks, Ralph Seagraves and Ken Squier (more on each below). Potential Landmark Award recipients include competitors or those working in the sport as a member of a racing organization, track facility, race team, sponsor, media partner or being a general ambassador for the sport through a professional or non-professional role. Award winners remain eligible for NHOF enshrinement. Following are the 20 nominees for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, listed alphabetically: Buddy Baker, won 19 times in NASCAR's premier (now Sprint Cup) series, including the Daytona 500 and Southern 500 Red Byron , first NASCAR premier series champion, in 1949 Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series Jerry Cook , six-time NASCAR Modified champion Ray Evernham , three-time NASCAR premier series championship crew chief Ray Fox , legendary engine builder and owner of cars driven by Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and others Rick Hendrick, 14-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series Harry Hyde , 1970 NASCAR premier series championship crew chief Bobby Isaac , 1970 NASCAR premier series champion Alan Kulwicki , 1992 NASCAR premier series champion Terry Labonte , two-time NASCAR premier series champion Mark Martin , 96-time race winner in NASCAR national series competition Hershel McGriff, 1986 NASCAR west series champion Raymond Parks , NASCAR's first champion car owner Benny Parsons , 1973 NASCAR premier series champion Larry Phillips , only five-time NASCAR weekly series national champion O. Bruton Smith , builder of Charlotte Motor Speedway and architect of Speedway Motorsports Inc. Mike Stefanik , winner of record-tying nine NASCAR championships Curtis Turner, early personality, called the "Babe Ruth of stock car racing" Robert Yates , won NASCAR premier series championship as both an engine builder and owner The five nominees for the Landmark Award are as follows… Harold Brasington , founder of Darlington Speedway H. Clay Earles , founder of Martinsville Speedway Raymond Parks , NASCAR's first champion car owner Ralph Seagraves , formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Ken Squier , legendary radio and television broadcaster; inaugural winner/namesake of Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence The 22-person Nominating Committee are as follows... NOMINATION COMMITTEE NASCAR Hall of Fame: Executive Director Winston Kelley; Historian Buz McKim. NASCAR Officials: Chairman / CEO Brian France; Vice Chairman Jim France; Vice Chairman of NASCAR 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 (Note: Due to Jerry Cook's inclusion on the ballot for the NHOF Class of 2015, he was recused from voting for the Class of 2016 nominees.) 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 President Tony George; Dover Motorsports CEO Denis McGlynn; Pocono Raceway board of directors 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. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today
Hall of Famer White short in stature, tall in talent
Oldest living premier series champion gives his thoughts on induction, Abreu Rex White, still keeping busy at age 85, reigns supreme as NASCAR's oldest living champion. He might also rank as its shortest. But White, who stands just a few inches above five feet, never saw his height as any sort of disadvantage, even in the rough-and-tumble days of stock-car racing's infancy. "I really wasn't built or the size for fighting, so I kind of avoided any physical contact with any drivers," White said. "In the race car, though, I was probably about the same height as all of them." White's stature will take another step up come Friday night, when he'll be enshrined as part of the sixth class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He'll be inducted with three drivers he competed against -- Fred Lorenzen, Wendell Scott and Joe Weatherly -- and latter-day star Bill Elliott. It's an honor that left the 1960 champion of NASCAR's premier series at a loss for words. "It's just unbelievable because I didn't really think I was going in that early," White said of his emotions upon hearing the news. "Just unbelievable -- I don't even know the correct word to use for it, but I was really flabbergasted." White won 28 races in NASCAR's top division, all but two of which came in a four-year heyday from 1959-62. He never regarded his diminutive size as a hurdle, a point that was underscored just last weekend with a modern-day corollary. A popular victory by Rico Abreu, who stands 4-foot-4, in the Chili Bowl Nationals sprint car showcase has opened the doors for a driving opportunity in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. White said if Abreu's talent speaks for itself, all other factors should remain equal. "If they build the race cars and get him adjusted and sitting in there where he can operate everything," White said, "I would say he's just as capable of winning races as any other driver." White's ascension to the top of the NASCAR ladder came during a time when the sport was expanding its reach, growing beyond the dirt bullrings and entering a major speedway boom. Atlanta Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway opened in the year White was crowned, and Daytona International Speedway 's 2.5-mile high banks debuted for business the previous year. Though he could see the sport transforming, White said he couldn't have envisioned what NASCAR would look like in 2015. "No earthly idea that it was going to grow to where it is today and be as popular as it is, and draw the money and pay the purses that they're paying," said White, who picked up a $13,000 check for winning the 1960 title. "I'm not even sure that Bill France had enough foresight to see that. I don't know. He may have, but I sure didn't." If White happens to cross paths with current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick during the Hall of Fame ceremonies, a link between the two will come full circle. White -- who drove a "Gold Thunder" car noted for its pristine gold and white paint scheme -- was the last champion to carry the No. 4 before Harvick accomplished the feat last season. White, like Harvick, was particularly loyal to driving for Chevrolet. The story goes, White needed to change his number from No. 44 once he stopped driving Chevrolet factory cars. Noting that Billy Myers -- an early star driver from Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina -- was a hero of his, it made White's choice all the easier. "Naturally, I grabbed it," White said. "It was a great number. Still is today." Though White hung up his helmet after a part-time schedule in 1964 and retired from his job at a car dealership in 2003, he said he's yet to slow down. His active schedule has picked up recently with appearances and interviews ahead of his Hall of Fame induction. Come Friday night in Charlotte, his stature as one of the sport's all-time greats will be secured, complete with a personalized blue blazer and the presentation of his NASCAR Hall of Fame ring. White says he's looking forward to the festivities, even if there might be the potential for stage fright. "Probably as ready as I'll ever be," White joked. "I'm sure there's something that I'll screw up on, so anyway, I'm going to do the best I can. It's a great honor, and it's a pleasure to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame."