Wednesday, NASCAR announced changes to the elections process for the NASCAR Hall of Fame beginning with the Class of 2021.
Starting in 2021, only three people will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame per year, down from five. The three inductee slots will be filled by two members of the modern era (1961 to 2021) in the sport and one member from the pioneer era (1960 and earlier) of the sport.
Additionally, any modern era member of the sport becomes eligible to be placed in the pioneer era once they have been on the Hall of Fame ballot for more than 10 years.
“From the time I first learned of the selection process NASCAR developed in 2009 and through the evolutions implemented as we gained valuable experience, I have been a huge proponent of our process,” said NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelley. “I feel our process is as strong as any Hall of Fame, sport and entertainment alike. I am equally enthusiastic about these changes to our process and concur wholeheartedly that now is the right time to transition to fewer inductees and establish a process dedicated to NASCAR’s iconic pioneers.”
This is a big and important change for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and should help keep the hall a prestigious place to be for decades to come. Many had grown concerned that the classes would begin to be watered down, if the Hall kept the size at five members per year until the end of time. Now, that is a non-issue.
“When we opened the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010, we had to catch up on more than 60 years of NASCAR history,” said NASCAR President Steve Phelps. “Our plan has always been to evaluate the process as the Hall of Fame matured. With 55 of the sport’s greatest competitors enshrined, we felt the time was right to move to three inductees which will help maintain the high standard of enshrinement that’s been set.”
NASCAR has also updated the criteria of consideration for crew chiefs in the sport to fall in line with that of drivers. Crew chiefs now must be in the sport for at least 10 years and must be retired for at least two years to be considered. If a crew chief has competed in the sport for more than 30 years and is over the age of 55, they are eligible while still active.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.