In perhaps the toughest vote to date, the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 was elected Wednesday by a voting panel of 54 members.
The new class features a rich mix of personalities from across generations of NASCAR’s history.
Here are the five members of the Class of 2018:
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One of NASCAR’s legendary engine builders and team owners, Yates got started sweeping the floors at the powerhouse Holman-Moody team. He won 77 races as an engine builder for Junior Johnson and DiGard Racing with Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison. He was the championship engine builder in 1983.
As the owner of Robert Yates Racing, Yates won 57 races, 48 poles and the 1999 championship with fellow NASCAR Hall of Fame member Dale Jarrett. Roush Yates Engines, now run by Robert’s son, Doug, builds all the engines for Ford Motor Co. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams.
A true pioneer of the sport, Byron won the 1948 NASCAR Modified Series championship and the first NASCAR Strictly Stock Series championship a year later. A decorated war hero who raced with a special brace because of an injured left leg, Byron was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.
When he died in 1960 at the age of 45, Byron had branched out, striving to make more history, by developing an American car capable of winning the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car event.
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Without question, Evernham helped revolutionize the role of the modern crew chief, helping lead Jeff Gordon to three of his four NASCAR Premier Series championships. As a crew chief, Evernham won 47 races, most of any crew chief in the 1990s.
But that was just the first stage of Evernham’s career. In 2001, he brought Dodge back into the sport after a lengthy absence, building a race-winning outfit from the ground up. After selling majority ownership of the team in 2007, Evernham had a successful career as an analyst.
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Every NASCAR broadcaster — and by extension, every NASCAR fan — owes a debt of gratitude to Squier, who was one of the main reasons stock-car racing grew from a Southern anomaly to a national powerhouse. Squier’s liquid-smooth voice and ability to weave a storyline captivated fans from coast to coast.
Squier called the 1979 Daytona 500, the first live flag-to-flag coverage of what he dubbed "The Great American Race." In 2012, NASCAR announced the creation of the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence, which would be housed in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Squier and MRN’s Barney Hall were inaugural winners of the award.
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Ron Hornaday Jr.
Hornaday, a second-generation racer from Palmdale, California boasts a record four Truck Series championships and 51 wins competing on the rough-and-tumble circuit. Hornaday also holds the Truck Series all-time marks for top fives (158) and top 10s (234).
In 2009, Hornaday won five straight Truck Series races, a feat matched only three other times in NASCAR national series history. Given his first opportunity in the Truck Series by Dale Earnhardt after “The Intimidator” discovered him during a NASCAR Winter Heat Series event, Hornaday gave back to the sport by allowing young West Coast upstarts to stay at his home while pursuing their stock car racing dreams, including future premier series champions Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick.
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Jim France, Landmark Award Winner
Jim France, son of NASCAR founder Big Bill France and brother of Bill France Jr., grew up in the early years of stock car racing, living and learning every detail of the sport from his own experiences, and from his family. Joining International Speedway Corp. in 1959, Jim France worked in all phases of operations in his early years with the company.
He was elected to the ISC board in 1970 and has served as the company’s secretary, assistant treasurer, vice president, chief operating officer, executive vice president, president and, now, chairman. France founded GRAND-AM Road Racing and in 2012, he was the driving force behind the merger of GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series. France also led the DAYTONA Rising project, a $400 million renovation that made Daytona International Speedway the world’s first motorsports stadium. The project officially broke ground in July of 2013.