NASCAR on Wednesday evening announced the 20 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Class of 2017, along with the five nominees for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Included on the former list are five first-time nominees, all legends who made various contributions to the sport.
The five first-time nominees are four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr.; Jack Roush, the man with the most car owner wins in NASCAR national series history with 322; 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.
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. 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.
Robert Yates, won NASCAR premier series championship as both an engine builder and owner
The five nominees for the Landmark Award, listed alphabetically, are as follows:
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
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 was comprised of the following:
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.