RELATED: Photos of women in NASCAR " About the series MORE: Women racers pave new roads to success in NASCAR Four decades have passed since she first stepped foot on the track in her fire suit, yet Janet Guthrie's impact remains just as prevalent in 2016 as it was in 1976. She continues to inspire some of NASCAR's most successful athletes, including Dale Earnhardt Jr . and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wheelwoman Jennifer Jo Cobb . Guthrie's recent nomination for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR is confirmation of her legacy and acknowledgement of the adversities she had to overcome. It has, after all, taken her years to move from being the hecklers' main target to an embraced figure. The nomination was "a completely unexpected honor," she told NASCAR.com. Earnhardt, an avid historian of the sport, is pleased she is getting the recognition. "You know, she was tough," he recalled. "What it must have been like in the late '70s and early '80s to be trying to get out there and compete as a female. That was unheard of."
Janet Guthrie became the first female to compete in a NASCAR Premiere Series Super Speedway race, along with paving the way for women in NASCAR earning here a Hall of Fame nomination.
Janet Guthrie made a name for herself in NASCAR, and not just because she was a female. Her resume is highlighted by five top-ten finishes, in an era when NASCAR's landscape was dominated by males.
MORE: Photos of every 2018 nominee The late Davey Allison and NASCAR champion owners Roger Penske and Joe Gibbs highlight the NASCAR Hall of Fame's newest additions to a phenomenally accomplished nomination list. The NASCAR Hall of Fame announced the new slate of nominees Wednesday evening. It also will include Red Farmer and 2000 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte, along with Daytona 500 winner Allison and team owners Penske and Gibbs. The NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Day is May 24, when five more names will be selected for enshrinement. This year's class of nominees is again diverse with championship drivers, owners and a living legend set to be considered. Allison won the 1992 Daytona 500 and 19 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races before losing his life in a helicopter accident in July of 1993. The son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison, Davey was the 1987 Rookie of the Year and finished third to the late Alan Kulwicki for the 1992 championship in one of the most dramatic and highly contested season finales in NASCAR history. Fittingly, Allison's nomination coincides with fellow Hueytown, Alabama, racer, Red Farmer, who made NASCAR's highly respected list of its 50 Greatest Drivers. Although no one knows exactly how many victories the talented Farmer has amassed in a seven-decades long career, he did capture three consecutive championships in NASCAR's Late Model Sportsman division (1969-71) more than a decade after earning the NASCAR Modified title in 1956. Farmer ran 36 premier series races with a best finish of fourth (twice). The three-time Super Bowl-winning NFL Coach Gibbs, 76, has shown his leadership prowess extends from field to track, guiding his NASCAR teams to four Monster Energy Cup Series championships with three different drivers -- Labonte, twice with Tony Stewart (2002, 2005) and most recently Kyle Busch (2015). His teams have also won five owners titles in the XFINITY Series. Gibbs' 140 victories in the premier series already ranks third all-time in the owners' category in the history of the sport and includes two Daytona 500 wins and five Brickyard 400 trophies. Gibbs, who was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1996, has guided the career of some of the most successful NASCAR competitors, including fellow Hall of Fame nominee Bobby Labonte, as well as current Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett and Monster Energy Series champion Busch. PHOTOS: Allison, Gibbs, Penske through the years Joining Allison, Farmer and Gibbs is Labonte, 52, whose older brother Terry was a 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee. The Labonte brothers are one of only two sets of brothers who both won Cup titles -- the Busch brothers are the other pair. Bobby Labonte was the first of only four drivers to ever win both the Monster Energy Series and XFINITY Series championships. He won 21 races and earned 26 pole positions at the premier-series level despite starting his career in the elite ranks at the age of 28. In his 2000 championship run, he won the Southern 500 and the Brickyard 400 and finished an amazing 265 points ahead of the late Dale Earnhardt for the season trophy. Labonte also won the IROC title in 2001. Concluding this list of the sport's potential Hall of Fame members is one of auto racing's greatest contributors, Roger Penske, a Cup champion owner as well as a XFINITY Series championship owner. "The Captain" as he is affectionately known, just celebrated his 50th season in racing in 2016. He has already left an indelible mark in the stock car world as a team owner and also a track owner (formerly at Michigan Speedway). And he built one of the circuit's most successful venues, Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Penske driver Brad Keselowski won the 2012 Monster Energy Series title and the organization has twice won the Daytona 500, including the 50th anniversary of the great race with driver Ryan Newman and then again in 2015 with Joey Logano. His teams have amassed 101 victories and earned 113 pole positions. And Team Penske's three consecutive XFINITY Series owners titles from 2013-15 ties a modern record. In 2016, Penske was awarded the prestigious Bill France Award of Excellence last year for his contributions to NASCAR. Hall of Fame voters will select five people for enshrinement out of a talented and diverse list of 20 nominees. Fifteen additional names remain on the Hall of Fame ballot and include 19-time winner Buddy Baker, NASCAR's first premier series champion Red Byron, three-time Monster Energy Series champion crew chief Ray Evernham, legendary crew chief and car owner Ray Fox and four-time truck series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. Harry Hyde, the 1970 championship crew chief joins 1992 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Alan Kulwicki, former NASCAR West Series champ Hershel McGriff, five-time weekly series national champion Larry Phillips and eight-time national series championship owner Jack Roush on the list as does 23-time race winner Ricky Rudd. Rounding out the talented and award-winning group of nominees is legendary radio and television broadcaster Ken Squier, nine-time NASCAR champion Mike Stefanik, three-time championship engine builder Waddell Wilson and Robert Yates, who won Monster Energy Series titles as both an engine builder and an owner. The Landmark Award for achievement in the sport also added two names to its nominee list, including NASCAR's Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors and Executive Vice President Jim France, who is also the Chairman of International Speedway Corporation, and Alvin Hawkins, NASCAR's first flagman, who was present with NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. at the Streamline Hotel during the earliest formation of the sport. He and France brought NASCAR to the famed Bowman Gray Stadium, one of the country's most popular race facilities even today. They join Janet Guthrie , the first woman to compete in a NASCAR premier series superspeedway race, Ralph Seagraves, who formed the groundbreaking partnership with R.J. Reynolds and NASCAR to create the Winston entitlement sponsorship and Squier, who is also the inaugural winner and namesake for the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. &lt;/p&gt;
RELATED: Photos of women in NASCAR through the years Some visions that once seemed outlandish are coming closer to reality: A woman crew chief, a female driver celebrating in Victory Lane. "It wouldn't surprise me at all within the next handful of years to see a female or a person of a different ethnicity as a crew chief," Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney said during 2016 preseason events. "I think NASCAR is actually going to be a lot more diverse than we’ve seen in the past. Danica (Patrick), Bubba (Wallace), Rico Abreu. I think it’s a really good thing and will widen the recognition of our sport." Thanks to the talent, persistence and savvy of inumerable smart, strong women, NASCAR already includes women at the top of their game -- be it in driving, in board rooms, in race shops, or in raising money for charities. They're all inspiring, and they're blending seamlessly into the fabric of the sport. Ask any powerful or pioneering woman in NASCAR about her own success and she'll tell you she wants to be known simply as great at what she does. Respected. Not one wants to stand out just for being a woman. As part of Women's History Month, NASCAR.com celebrates several women of substance who have broken barriers, raised bars and achieved greatness. Among them are driver Janet Guthrie and business women and industry leaders Alba Colon, DeLana Harvick, Lesa France Kennedy and Kelley Earnhardt Miller. Each day from March 21-25, NASCAR.com will tell the story of one of these women, and provide more information on several others representing various groups, from engineers to drivers to wives of today's star drivers. Monday, March 21 Lesa France Kennedy is not only racing royalty as part of the founding France family and mother of an up-and-coming NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver, Ben Kennedy . She also is a formidable business woman, the CEO of International Speedway Corp., who was named "The Most Powerful Woman in Sports" by Forbes in 2015. READ MORE: --- Lesa France Kennedy: Advancing NASCAR with her own vision --- Women have been leaders in NASCAR since the beginning Tuesday, March 22 DeLana Harvick is co-owner of Kevin Harvick Incorporated with her husband and team namesake, Kevin Harvick , as well as mother of social media sensation Keelan Harvick. She has worked in NASCAR her entire career. READ MORE: --- Defining DeLana: Harvick is marketing exec, wife, mother and more --- Detailing accomplishments of current-day NASCAR wives Wednesday, March 23 Kelley Earnhardt Miller grew up in NASCAR, daughter of "The Intimidator," sister to Dale Earnhardt Jr . and a driver. She now is co-owner of JR Motorsports and commands a boardroom like her brother dominates at Talladega. And she's mother to another driver, Karsyn Elledge. READ MORE: --- Kelley Earnhardt Miller leads JR Motorsports with passion --- Female perspective nothing new to race teams Thursday, March 24 Alba Colon's name is synonymous with GM Racing power. The late Dale Earnhardt earned his only Daytona 500 trophy in 1998 under her leadership at GM. Colon added 10 more Daytona 500 titles for Chevrolet while fostering Chevrolet's technical work in championships won by Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson , Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick . READ MORE: -- - Alba Colon: Blazing a trail in math, science and racing by following destin y -- - Women help drive technical advances in NASCA R Friday, March 25 Janet Guthrie was the first woman to compete regularly in NASCAR's premier series. She had 33 starts in her career from 1976-1980. She notched five top-10 finishes in that time, including a career-best sixth place at Bristol Motor Speedway in 1977. READ MORE --- Janet Guthrie pioneered the fast lane --- Women racers pave new roads to success in NASCAR
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.
RELATED: Women racers pave new roads to success in NASCAR There is a bit of irony in Danica Patrick 's Martinsville Speedway resume. A racer who made international headlines and officially became a first-name only reference for nearly winning her Indianapolis 500 debut at one of the world's most famous and grand-sized tracks, Danica bolstered her track record in many eyes by scoring one of her best NASCAR finishes (seventh) on one of stock car racing's smallest (.526-mile), most challenging and endearingly iconic facilities: Martinsville Speedway . Patrick, who celebrated her 34th birthday during the off-week, returns to "The Paperclip" for Sunday's Sprint Cup Series' STP 500 (1 p.m. ET, FS1) -- site of a historic seventh-place finish for her only a year ago. The result tied her with the great Janet Guthrie for most NASCAR top-10 finishes (five) by a woman, and two weeks later Patrick made the mark her own, scoring her sixth top 10 -- a ninth-place showing at the sport's second smallest track (.53-mile) in Bristol, Tennessee. RELATED: Janet Guthrie's groundbreaking racing career In fact, Patrick's record at Martinsville makes this challenging shortest of tracks one of her best. She recorded a 12th-place debut in 2012 -- a better first try than some of the sport's greatest champions such as Hall of Famers Rusty Wallace (who finished 15th) and Dale Jarrett (14th) and even Patrick's team owner, three-time Cup champ Tony Stewart , who finished 20th in his first start there. "I came from a road-course racing background and at Martinsville, I feel like you have to set passes up a little bit like that," Patrick said. "I think it's also a track where you have to exercise a lot of discipline. It's easy to make mistakes. It's easy to overdrive and try to get a little bit more when you're passing somebody and make mistakes. Those are the two things I keep in mind when I'm there. I also think you really need a good car there, too, and Stewart-Haas Racing has always had good cars there." This time around Patrick's No. 10 TaxAct Chevy will have a new crew chief, Billy Scott. It's her third crew chief in four seasons as the team searches for the kind of good chemistry and juju to elevate Patrick into the post-season and give her a legitimate shot to score her first Sprint Cup victory. MORE: SHR names new crew chiefs for Danica, Stewart It's already been a challenging start to 2016 with Patrick crashing in two of the opening five races. She was handed a $20,000 fine from NASCAR last week for violating safety rules because she angrily approached and gestured toward Kasey Kahne 's car after they wrecked at California's Auto Club Speedway . Kahne's car hit hers while the two were racing close together. For Patrick, this week is a real opportunity to restore her preferred path to the postseason. By the fifth race in each of her full-time Cup seasons, she has been ranked 29th, 27th and 23rd in the standings and is now 29th again despite two top-20 finishes. The challenge in having another new crew chief is the early season get-to-know-you time. But the other tasks that have dominated Patrick's transition from Indycars to stock cars have become more manageable, giving her and the team great reason to be optimistic. MORE: Danica reacts to SHR move to Ford Especially here. Especially now. "I'm far more confident and comfortable," Patrick said coming into the season. "I'm understanding the car properly and able to help in making it better quickly on the race weekend. "Also the comfort of getting up to speed fast helps that learning curve, too. I remember there were lots of times in the very beginning when I wasn't able to drive the car to the very limit. We'd come in and make changes based on the way that I was driving it. Once I was driving it the way it needed to be, all of a sudden we ended up back where we started. We wasted all practice for me to learn how to do it. "I'm much better at getting up to speed. But always room to improve. I'm still working on doing a better job at that. I think as a driver, we all tend to have our general weak areas and general strong areas. I know mine." That this track has provided some of the most interesting story lines in NASCAR history is only another reason to expect better days. Morgan Shepherd won a pole position here at 45 years old in 1987 and Harry Gant famously won the race in 1991 at the age of 51 and a half. Eleven drivers scored their very first Cup wins at Martinsville -- the last being Ricky Craven in 2001. Notably, the majority of Patrick's top-10 finishes have come after sub-top-20 starts. Her very best Cup showing, for example, a seventh-place finish at Atlanta in 2014, came after starting 27th. "It's twice as hard as it used to be to get to Victory Lane," Patrick said. "It was hard to do it back when I was in IndyCar. I did it once in seven years. It's very challenging. There's lots of great drivers. Experience definitely helps. I'm working on getting that. "I mean, everybody wants to win. ... It's very hard to win in Cup, it just is. Everything's got to go your way and be right and be clicking. That's what also makes it so great when it happens. The blood, sweat and tears to get there. "It's always frustrating, but it's frustrating to just keep wanting to do better. But that's what drives you."
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.
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.
Editor's note: High 5 analyzes what's trending in NASCAR and beyond every week. QUOTE OF THE WEEK "I told everybody Superman kicked Batman's butt and it happened." --Auto Club winner Jimmie Johnson joked after his Superman Chevrolet beat teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s Batman ride BEYOND LEFT TURNS The story The 2016 NCAA March Madness field has been narrowed to the Sweet 16. These 16 teams will face off beginning Thursday, March 24, with Miami and Villanova kicking off the first game at 7:10 p.m. ET. Surprises? Teams such as North Carolina and Kansas advancing were unsurprising, having been dominant at many points throughout the season. However, there were a few March Madness upsets: Syracuse's unexpected win over Dayton that led to 'Cuse eventually clinching a bid to the Sweet 16 made headlines, as well as Arizona's loss to Wichita State. (Wildcats head coach Sean Miller certainly showed his nerves through his sweat-drenched shirt with that one.) And who could forget Josh Hagins' overtime-forcing 3-pointer with less than 18 seconds remaining in the Arkansas-Little Rock/Purdue match-up that eventually led Little Rock to victory? He said it "You go up and grab the ball off the rim when it comes off and then you grab it with two hands, you come down with it and that's considered a rebound. So, they got more of those than we did." -- Baylor's Taurean Prince's wonderfully sassy answer to a reporter's question on how Baylor got outrebounded by Yale in their loss Thursday. EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT ... Auto Club. Sunday's race at Auto Club produced thrilling racing, along with a little drama. Oh, and Superman (aka Jimmie Johnson ) flew once again , passing Dale Earnhardt in all-time victories with his 77th win. Lebron. Lebron James caused a bit of a stir Monday when he unfollowed his own team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, on Twitter. Relax, folks -- he's not leaving. (Again.) Just getting into a no-distraction zone for the playoffs, he says. Supersonic travel. Yup, you read right. A startup company in Denver, Colorado, wants to resurface supersonic travel for the general public, allowing people to travel in a plane going 1,451 mph. This would shorten your New York City-London trip to 3 hours and 24 minutes -- for a mere $5,000 roundtrip. And we thought NASCAR had some fast vehicles ... Steph Curry. The Golden State Warriors point guard recently revealed his reasons for switching to Under Armour sponsorship -- and you won't believe it. COMING UP IN TURN 2 All three series take a break this week, with the Camping World Truck Series and Sprint Cup series returning to the track at Martinsville Speedway April 1-3. In the meantime, keep up with the ongoing Women In NASCAR series -- which highlights women in the racing community -- that concludes this week with its final features on Alba Colon and Janet Guthrie . LEARN ABOUT: Lesa France Kennedy " DeLana Harvick " Kelley Earnhardt Miller HOT OFF THE PRESS Brad Keselowski certainly earned a history lesson in his first race at Auto Club Speedway back in 2010. Over in his in-car radio, Kes said he wished he knew "who paved this place so I could tell them how they paved it backward and screwed it all up." Only problem? The founder of Auto Club was his then-new car owner Roger Penske. Talk about an oops. USA Today's Jeff Gluck revisits the tale .