The NASCAR Hall of Fame was created as a way to honor past legends and ambassadors of the sport. While many believe the Hall of Fame was long overdue, it was well worth waiting for. Drivers and personalities enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame are certainly deserving, and their accomplishments are widely recognized by fans and peers. Names such as Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, David Pearson, Glen Wood, Bill France Sr, Junior Johnson, and Darrell Waltrip are just some of the stock car luminaries that share a home in the Hall of Fame.
Here are some current drivers that will certainly enjoy the accolades that come with the NASCAR Hall of Fame enshrinement.
As of the 2013 Sprint Cup season, Gordon is a four-time champion and three-time Daytona 500 victor. He leads all active drivers in wins. Not only are Gordon’s statistics noteworthy, but he paved the way for young drivers to enter the sport with premier rides. Additionally, he opened the door for drivers with open-wheel backgrounds to enter the sport. Drivers such as Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, and Kasey Kahne followed Gordon’s footsteps to NASCAR’s top level.
Gordon is not only a great driver, but he is also a perceptive prospect scout. Gordon recruited the unproven Johnson to drive the upstart team for Hendrick Motorsports in 2002. Since then, Johnson and his group have made history, winning five consecutive championships from 2006 to 2010. Johnson also boasts two Daytona 500 victories, and is arguably the greatest driver of the 21st century.
Stewart is the only driver to win a championship in both the Chase for the Championship era, and the pre-Chase era. Stewart has three titles to his name. In 2011, he became the first owner and driver to win the Sprint Cup championship since Alan Kulwicki in 1992. Stewart is perhaps the most versatile driver the sport has seen, as he owns the 1997 IndyCar Series title. He is arguably the most influential driver the sport has seen since Dale Earnhardt.
Kenseth owns the 2003 Winston Cup championship, as well as two Daytona 500 victories. While he may not possess the charisma of Stewart, Gordon, or Johnson, he is not far behind when it comes to pure skill behind the wheel. Kenseth is one of the most intelligent drivers of this era, often getting the most out of a racecar.
Well into his 50s, Martin is still has productive has drivers half his age. In 2009, at age 50, Martin nearly won his first championship while driving for Hendrick Motorsports. While Martin may never conquer the Sprint Cup title, he is perhaps the most respected driver in the garage. Many drivers have stated that they pattern their driving style to that of Mark Martin. He currently owns 40 Sprint Cup wins, as well as 49 Nationwide Series victories.
Bill Elliott (retired)
Dale Jarrett (retired)
Dale Earnhardt Jr