NASCAR announced that it has included team owner Jack Roush, drivers, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Ricky Rudd, renowned engine builder Waddell Wilson and legendary broadcaster Ken Squier are to its list of nominees for the 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame, bringing the number of contenders up to 20. Of these, only 5 will be elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on NASCAR.com. Voting is scheduledto take place Wednesday, May 25.
Rousch who joins fellow team owners Richard Childress, (11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series) and Rick Hendrick,(14-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series) boasts 322 NASCAR national series victories — more than any other car owner. Nicknamed “The Cat in the Hat,” he won consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships in 2003 and 2004, the first with Matt Kenseth and the second with Kurt Busch in the first year of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Although Ron Hornaday Jr competed in all three of NASCAR’s top national series during his 24-year career, he had the miost success in the Camping World Truck Series, winning 51 races and four championships — both series records. Known as a master of restarts, Hornaday also won 27 poles in the Truck Series and collected 234 top 10s in 360 career races.
Ricky Rudd not only made 788 consecutive starts in the Sprint Cup series (a record that stood until Jeff Gordon broke it in 2015), he posted 23 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories during a career that spanned 33 years, winning at least one event every season between 1983 and 1998.
Waddell Wilson is famous for being one of the foremost engine builders in the history of NASCAR racing. However, he also won 3 Daytona 500s as a crew chief, in 1980 with fellow NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Buddy Baker and in 1983 and 1984 with NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough.
Last but not least, Ken Squier, who served as the lap-by-lap announcer for NASCAR on CBS from 1979 through 1997, is perhaps one of the best start to finish race callers in NASCAR history. He is also a returning nominee for the Landmark Award for outstanding contributions to the sport, joining Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles, champion car owner Raymond Parks and former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. executive Ralph Seagraves.
The one new addition to the list of Landmark Award nominees is Janet Guthrie, the first female driver to compete in a superspeedway race at NASCAR’s highest level. Guthrie made her Sprint Cup debut in the 1976 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and went on to run 33 races, with her best finish a sixth at Bristol in 1977.
The rest of the nominees for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s 2017 class are: 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; Ray Evernham, three-time NASCAR premier series championship crew chief; Ray Fox, legendary engine builder, crew chief and car owner; 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, also up for the Landmark Award; Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR premier series champion; Larry Phillips, only five-time NASCAR weekly series national champion; Mike Stefanik, winner of record-tying nine NASCAR championships; and Robert Yates, won NASCAR premier series championship as both an engine builder and owner
In addition to Guthrie, Squier and Parks, the other 2 nominees for the Landmark award are
H. Clay Earles, founder of Martinsville Speedway; and Ralph Seagraves who founded the groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company