Yesterday in Charlotte, five more members were selected into the NASCAR Hall Of Fame for induction in 2017. This is by far in my opinion the best class yet. There are so many of those who deserved to be a part of the inaugural class when the museum first opened, but only so many could get in, which made it so heartbreaking for those specially talented. Without further delay, here are the five newest members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame for 2017.
- Benny Parsons: Who didn’t love Benny Parsons? Among his peers, he would’ve been voted most likable and most popular, as he was the most loved figure among all broadcasters and drivers alike. His biggest accomplishments were becoming the 1973 Sprint Cup Champion and serving as analyst for several networks including ESPN and TNT. Sadly Benny left us too early in life as he died from lung cancer in 2007. Becoming a NASCAR Hall of Famer is truly his biggest accomplishment yet.
- Rick Hendrick: Hendrick is by far one of the most poweful owners in NASCAR history, if not THE most powerful. He owns 11 Sprint Cup Championships, including six from Jimmie Johnson, four from Jeff Gordon and one more from Terry Labonte. Outside of NASCAR, he buys and sells popular classic cars through Barrett-Jackson. Hendrick’s popularity is at its highest as an owner since Johnson won five consecutive Sprint Cup Championships from 2006-10.
- Mark Martin: Martin is most likely one of the best drivers in his era who hasn’t won a Sprint Cup Championship. He held the most wins in the Xfinity Series all time with 49, until it was broken several years ago by Kyle Busch. Martin finished runner up in the Sprint Cup Series five times, but pretty much had the best season of his career in 2009 when returning to full-time racing battling Jimmie Johnson in the Chase while at the same time racing for Hendrick.
- Raymond Parks: It is said that Raymond Parks was one of the true pioneers and owners in NASCAR’s infant years. He was the first owner to win the very first premier NASCAR Championship in its inagural season, with Red Byron as the drivers champion. Parks was among the few who helped form NASCAR in Daytona Beach, Florida. He was also the last living member until 2010 when he passed away at age 96. Before racing, he served during World War II with the 99th Infantry Division.
- Richard Childress: Though he never won a NASCAR Sprint Cup race in his 12 year career as a driver, Childress was most successful as an owner. Childress has won a total of 12 championships, six in the Sprint Cup Series all with Dale Earnhardt, four Xfinity Series Championships, two Camping World Truck Series Championships and one ARCA Championship. His grandsons, Austin and Ty Dillon are now successful drivers in NASCAR’s top three series.
Landmark Award: H. Clay Earles: Earles is the founder and developer of one of the most original and unique tracks in the early days of NASCAR. Earles built Martinsville Speedway in 1947, which became known as “The Paperclip” because of its shape. The races at Martinsville became so popular, Earles started the tradition of awarding grandfather clocks to winners of each race regardless of its sponsor, which is still being used today. Earles passed away in 1999 at age 86.
Congratulations to the newest members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame! You have all earned it!
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Bryan Law