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How does the NASCAR Hall of Fame Actually Work?

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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For any professional sport, the pinnacle of success is induction into the sport’s Hall of Fame. Compared to other professional sports, NASCAR’s Hall of Fame is a relatively young one, as it was open in May of 2010 after a handful of years in construction. The inaugural class (2010) included names such as the two men responsible for NASCAR becoming what it is, Bill France Sr. and Bill France Jr., as well as two of the three 7-time NASCAR Cup Series Champions, Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty.

Well, it’s that time of the year again. A new list of finalists for the NASCAR Hall of Fame have been released. So, what happens next? Here we’re going to take you through the whole process from eligibility to induction of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Let’s get started.

Who is eligible?

As with any professional sports hall of fame, there are some criteria any driver must meet before they can be considered. For starters, to be considered for the modern era ballot, a driver would have to have had a career lasting at least ten years. In addition to this, they would have to have been retired for at least three years unless they have competed in thirty or more seasons and/or have reached the age of 55. In that case, the rule is waivered.

But all of that is for drivers. What about non-drivers such as crew chiefs, car owners, on-air talents, etc.? For them, there is only one rule: they would have to have been an active member of the industry for at least ten years.

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The Nominating Process

Each year, a total of 15 candidates are selected to appear on the NASCAR Hall of Fame ballots. This includes 10 from the Modern Era and five from the Pioneer Era. To be considered on the Modern Era ballot, a driver’s career would have had to start within the last 60 years. Once that 60-year benchmark is up, they are then moved over to the Pioneer Era ballot. From these 15 candidates, three are selected and subsequently inducted into the NASCAR HOF; two from the Modern Era ballot and one from the Pioneer Era ballot. But how are the candidates selected in the first place?

Candidates who appear on each year’s NASCAR HOF respective ballots are selected by a Nomination Committee. This committee consists of individuals in the motorsports world. Typically, they consist of:

  • Seven representatives from the governing body, being NASCAR.
  • NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelley
  • Track owners. This consists of two representatives of SMI, two representatives of ISC, and one representative of all the other circuits including Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Worldwide Technology Raceway, and Road America.
  • One representative from each of the following historic short tracks of America including Bowman Gray Stadium, Rockford Speedway, the Holland Motorsports Complex, and Ken Clapp, the operator of West Coast Tracks.
  • 2 other individuals affiliated with NASCAR.

So, basically, 22 representatives of various backgrounds get together, look through a list of all the eligible candidates, and deliberate until a list of 10 names for the modern era can be presented. The decided nominees are then announced and handed off to the appropriately titled Voting Committee.

Another committee known as the Honors Committee (43 members), which consists of all living NASCAR Hall of Famers, select 5 names for the Pioneer Ballot. Those names are then also handed off to a voting committee.

The Voting Process

The Voting Committee consists of the Nomination Committee and the Honors Committee. In August of this year, the Voting Committee will submit a total of 65 ballots, including a single fan vote ballot. From this election, the three inductees are chosen and announced.

The Induction Ceremony

The Induction Ceremony into the NASCAR Hall of Fame is a unique one. The inductee will make a speech in front of a sea of drivers and fans. Then, typically, the inductee will select one media personnel and one other close associate (be it a long-time crew chief or driver or a long-time rival or fellow competitor, or even a former car owner) to take the stage with them. There, they sit and celebrate a career; reminiscing about the good old days, and maybe comment on how things have changed with the times.

NASCAR Hall of Fame Timeline

A typical year in regards to the NASCAR Hall of Fame begins in February, around the time the season begins. This is when the 22-member Nomination Committee meets and selects the 10 nominees for the Modern Era Ballot. In April, the 43-member and growing Honors Committee selects their three for the Pioneer Ballot. The nominees are then announced in July. In early August (this year, it will be August 2nd), 66 votes are submitted to elect the inductees for the next Hall of Fame Class (this year being the Class of 2024). The Induction Ceremony is then held the following January. The next month, the whole process starts all over again.

Hope you enjoyed reading this breakdown of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Process. What do you think, NASCAR fans? Who do you hope gets in this year? Let us know and keep it right here at the Daily Downforce for all of your current NASCAR news and stories.

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Picture of Cody Williams

Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
All Posts