NASCAR

T. Wayne Robertson's Hall credentials

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T. Wayne Robertson was, in many ways, the originator of the modern-day public relations concept in NASCAR racing. Through his role with NASCAR sponsor R.J. Reynolds, he impacted the sport’s growth and popularity and helped shape its future. Here are five reasons T. Wayne Robertson could be a Hall of Famer:

2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame finalists

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Who will be next to get enshrined in NASCAR's Hall of Fame? Meet the 2012 finalists

Robertson joined the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in 1971 as an administrator. But his passion for racing would soon vault him into the upper realms of the organization as he helped craft the landmark Winston Cup sponsorship program through the years.

As a senior vice president for the tobacco company, Robertson found unique programs to promote the sport. He worked with NASCAR during a crucial growth period and helped vault it from a regional entity to its current national level of significance.

Robertson was involved in protecting the sponsorship as well. He led a lobbying effort in an attempt to help racing avoid being completely bound by governmental bans on tobacco sponsorships of sports events.

Robertson worked to involve all aspects of NASCAR in the sponsorship program, including drivers and fans and to craft bonds between all of the sport’s units as it grew in national popularity.

His ability to bring NASCAR to the fans was obvious in the long-running Winston Preview event held annually in Winston-Salem. At the time, the one-day event in which drivers signed autographs for fans and granted interviews to media was at one point the largest single-day fundraiser in sports as proceeds went to various charities.

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