On Friday, NASCAR officially inducted Dale Earnhardt Jr, Red Farmer, and Mike Stefanik into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, as part of the Class of 2021. The induction ceremony – which was originally scheduled to take place on February 5, 2021 — was postponed due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are thrilled to celebrate these legends’ significant accomplishments and contributions to NASCAR alongside their families, friends, and fans,” said Winston Kelley, executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “The decision to postpone was very difficult but the right thing to do. With the planned evolution from five to three inductees with the Class of 2021, NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame teams saw an opportunity to take a fresh look at our schedule of events for Induction Weekend and are excited about what we have created. It’s always a special time for each honoree and their families and friends and will be a truly memorable weekend for our fans and guests alike.”
Ralph Seagraves and Bob Jenkins were also announced as the recipients of special awards during tonight’s NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
NASCAR HOF Class of 2021: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. joins his father, Dale Earnhardt, as an inductee into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, becoming part of the seventh father-son duo to accomplish this. The third-generation driver continues to give back to the sport which gave him a 20-year career, serving as an analyst for NBC Sports and a co-owner of JR Motorsports.
For many years, Earnhardt Jr. – one of the most popular drivers in NASCAR’s history — has served as the face of NASCAR, claiming 15 consecutive NASCAR Cup Series Most Popular Driver awards from 2003 to 2017.
As a driver, the 47-year-old was no slouch, visiting victory lane at NASCAR’s top-level on 26 occasions, including the 2004 and 2014 Daytona 500. Prior to his time at NASCAR’s top-level, Earnhardt Jr. became the fourth driver to win back-to-back titles in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
NASCAR HOF Class of 2021: Red Farmer
Part of the original ‘Alabama Gang’, 89-year-old Red Farmer’s win count isn’t exactly known, but it’s certainly over 700, and the count isn’t finished, as Farmer continues to race at the short track level, enjoying his passion for racing as he approaches the age of 90.
Farmer’s NASCAR/ARCA career spans more than five decades, making his NASCAR Cup Series debut at Daytona Beach’s Road Course in 1953, at the young age of 20, and racing sporadically in ARCA and NASCAR until 2004, where he made his final two starts at DuQuoin and Springfield in the ARCA Menards Series.
In his speech, Farmer spoke very kindly of Ralph Moody, one of the many people who have had a significant impact on him and his tenured racing career.
Red Farmer was a mentor to so many in @NASCAR.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) January 22, 2022
NASCAR HOF Class of 2021: Mike Stefanik
Maybe Mike Stefanik never made a Cup Series start or didn’t win a race in NASCAR’s top-three series, but it’s the immense impact on NASCAR’s Touring Divisions that has, rightfully, earned him a place in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
As a seven-time champion in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the series leader in victories, poles, top-fives, and top-10s, Stefanik is clearly one of, if not the, greatest modified driver of all time.
Julie Stefanik, the wife of the late Mike Stefanik, paid tribute to the modified legend at the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Friday:
2021 Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR: Ralph Seagraves
The 2021 Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR has been awarded to Ralph Seagraves.
It was a meeting between R.J. Reynolds, Ralph Seagraves, and NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson that led to Winston becoming the title sponsor for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series between 1971 and 2003.
Additionally, under Seagraves’ leadership, RJR helped a number of tracks refurbish their facilities to match the red and white branding of Winston.
It is our pleasure to officially welcome Ralph Seagraves into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as our 2021 Landmark Award for Outstanding contributions to NASCAR. pic.twitter.com/AkVDj1hnzO
— NASCAR Hall of Fame (@NASCARHall) January 21, 2022
2021 Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence: Bob Jenkins
Bob Jenkins has been announced as the 10th recipient of the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence, an award named after Ken Squier and Barney Hall.
Jenkins served as the lead lap-by-lap announce for NASCAR broadcasts on both ESPN and ABC from 1981 to 2000, as well as spending 15 years as the host of ESPN SpeedWeek from 1983 to 1997.
Jenkins passed away in August 2021, after announcing he was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment for brain cancer earlier in the year.