2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominees Revealed

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By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Legendary owners Roger Penske and Joe Gibbs joined a group of elite drivers including 2000 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) champion Bobby Labonte and the late Davey Allison and Red Farmer to highlight a strong new group of NASCAR Hall of Fame (NHoF) nominees.

NASCAR unveiled the list of nominees on Wednesday afternoon, giving fans and voters their first look at the list of names they’ll choose between to select five new additions to the NHoF when they vote on May 24.

Current team owners Penske and Gibbs will see a chance to join Richard Petty, Rick Hendrick and Richard Childress as current owners enshrined in the NHoF.

A three-time winner of the Super Bowl as a NFL coach, Gibbs has established himself as one of NASCAR’s best owners over the last two decades, earning four MENCS championships with Labonte (2000), Tony Stewart (2002, ’05) and Kyle Busch (2015), with the latter title coming amid an improbable comeback from injuries sustained in a season-opening XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

Gibbs, 76, holds 140 victories in the MENCS, including two wins in the Daytona 500 and five triumphs in the Brickyard 400. The NFL Hall of Famer also holds five owners championships in the XFINITY Series.

Penske, or “The Captain”, as he’s known in the paddock, joins the list of nominees amid his 51st season of motorsports. Throughout his career Penske has fielded teams in multiple series, while also owning a race track (Michigan International Speedway) at one point and fostering events at facilities including Auto Club Speedway, a track he helped build in Fontana, California, and Belle Isle Park in Detroit, Michigan.

Penske’s time as a NASCAR team owner has been filled with success, including a 2012 MENCS championship with Brad Keselowski, three owners titles in the XFINITY Series and 101 MENCS wins including two victories in the Daytona 500, with the highlight triumph coming in the race’s 50th anniversary in 2008 with Ryan Newman.

The Alabama Gang has added two strong candidates to the list of NHoF contenders in Allison and Farmer.

Allison, son of current Hall of Famer Bobby Allison, earned 19 MENCS victories in hist short seven-year premier series career before his life was tragically cut short by a helicopter crash in July of 1993. After winning the 1987 Rookie of the Year title, Davey became a consistent presence in the Cup Series paddock, rising to prominence in 1992 with a Daytona 500 win and a part in one of the sport’s greatest championship finales in a loss to eventual champion Alan Kulwicki.

Allison is joined by fellow Alabaman Farmer, one of the sport’s early stars.

Farmer didn’t have a noteworthy Cup career – he raced only 36 times in the premier series, with a  best finish of fourth. However, Farmer became a presence by competing in auto racing for decades, racing in multiple tours and claiming championships both in NASCAR’s Modified tour (1956) and Late Model Sportsman division (1969-71).

Labonte states his case for NHoF consideration with a career that includes 21 race wins including triumphs in both the Brickyard 400 and Southern 500, as well as a 2000 Cup Series championship.

Bobby hopes to join brother Terry Labonte, who was inducted as part of the 2016 class, as the first set of brothers to earn their place in the hall. The duo previously became the first pair of brothers to each win a Cup Series championship, a mark that wasn’t matched until 2015 when Kyle Busch joined brother Kurt (2004) as series champions.

The five new candidates will join the existing 15 contenders to complete the list of hopeful Hall of Famers.

Other nominees include:

  • Buddy Baker (Driver)
  • Red Byron (Driver)
  • Ray Evernham (Crew Chief)
  • Ray Fox (Crew Chief/Car Owner)
  • Ron Hornaday, Jr. (Driver)
  • Harry Hyde (Crew Chief)
  • Alan Kulwicki (Driver)
  • Hershel McGriff (Driver)
  • Larry Phillips (Driver)
  • Jack Roush (Owner)
  • Ricky Rudd (Driver)
  • Ken Squire (Broadcaster)
  • Mike Stefanik (Driver)
  • Waddell Wilson (Engine Builder)
  • Robert Yates (Owner, Engine Builder)

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