While the men behind the men may not garner as much attention as the drivers, several have already posted their own Hall of Fame worthy successes. Here's a look at 10 potential inductees who could eventually join the opening class of five ((whose ceremony will be covered Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on SPEED) and would get in for their work outside the car.
Zipadelli competed for 10 seasons with Tony Stewart at Joe Gibbs Racing, guiding the driver to a pair of championships and 32 wins. They won the Brickyard 400 twice and the rookie of the year. He then remained at JGR when Stewart left and now helms the team of young talent Joey Logano, who has already nabbed his first career win and his own rookie of the year honor.
Evernham was the predecessor to Knaus, an innovative and daring crew chief unafraid to push the boundaries – and to help young talent reach its potential. As a crew chief he won a trio of titles, 47 races with Jeff Gordon and created a car that pushed the limits so much that NASCAR asked that it not be brought back to the track. He then moved into the ownership arena, bringing Dodge back into NASCAR and snaring the young and talented Kasey Kahne. Evernham has also worked in the broadcast booth and now owns a small track in North Carolina.
While Penske is a legend in other forms of racing, he still seeks his first NASCAR championship. That doesn't mean he has been without success though. Penske earned 10 wins and a runner-up championship finish with driver Rusty Wallace. He won the Daytona 500 with Ryan Newman in 2008. In Cup racing, he has 64 wins overall. He also has six wins in the Nationwide Series.
Personable and outspoken, Smith has always been much more than just a track owner/operator. He, like the Frances, has created a track dynasty in the sport with his Speedway Motorsports Inc. and its arm of radio and amenity companies. He's sparked controversy with his clashes with NASCAR from time to time and had a shareholder file a suit challenging the lack of a second date as his Texas track. Seemingly unwilling to withhold an opinion or comment, Smith has long been a fan and driver favorite.
The football coaching great must have been questioned mightily when he first made the foray into racing, but it certainly has paid off for him. He earned his first win in his second full-time season, taking the Daytona 500 with driver Dale Jarrett. He won a championship with Bobby Labonte and two more with Tony Stewart. He brought youngster Joey Logano into the sport, winning rookie of the year, and he's won the Brickyard 400 three times. He also won the 2009 Nationwide title with Kyle Busch and has 45 wins in that series.
Perhaps best known for his work with Dale Earnhardt, Childress has long been a fixture in the sport. He's won owner titles in all three major NASCAR touring series. He also has six titles – all with Earnhardt – and 90 wins in the Cup ranks. Childress also claims three owner titles and 55 wins in the Nationwide Series and the 1995 title and 20 victories in the Truck series.
France picked up where his dad left off as chairman and CEO of the sanctioning body, playing a role in International Speedway Corp. and its string of tracks as well. France played a role in the landmark television deal that took NASCAR to a new audience and to adopting the Chase format that pitted first 10 and now 12 drivers against one another in the championship. He handled NASCAR through a growth spurt and as the sport adjusted to the economic downturn in the country, relied on his business savvy in making decisions to guide NASCAR into the future.
The first non-France family member put in charge of the France empire, Helton took NASCAR through some of its most trying days in the modern era. He was president of the sanctioning body when the sport embarked on an aggressive television package, when it changed a slate of competition rules to tighten the racing and when it went to a new points system. He was also at the helm through a year of tragedy in which NASCAR lost bright young stars as well as seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt and then underwent a series of safety initiatives. His personal and professional demeanor through all of the setbacks and successes has been one that will mark his legacy as one of the greatest leaders in the sport's history.
The wizard behind Jimmie Johnson's success is the only crew chief to earn four consecutive titles. He's been behind Johnson his entire career and has shared in 48 of his Cup wins. Viewed as a mechanical genius with an eye for detail, he has that ability to craft a crew that shares the chemistry and talent needed to remain among the sport's best year after year.
Roush has competed in a variety of motorsports, but he made his mark in the NASCAR arena. Roush raced with Mark Martin for years, then an assortment of drivers won races for him. He has 116 career Cup victories to his credit and won back-to-back titles with Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth. He is the only owner to have ever put five drivers in the Chase field –- a feat that will never be matched because of team limits now. Roush has also been an innovator in parts and sponsorships. He has a pair of Nationwide championships (Greg Biffle, 2002; Carl Edwards, 2007) with 108 wins in the series as well as the 2000 Truck series title (Biffle) and 50 wins there.