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Tony Stewart, Neil Bonnett Among NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Nominees

Tony Stewart, Neil Bonnett and Marvin Panch were among six new nominees to the NASCAR Hall of Fame ballot, and five of the 20 listed will be enshrined at a ceremony in early 2020.

Announced on Wednesday (March 13), the six nominees will join the fifteen held over from last year, with former Richard Childress crew chief Kirk Shelmerdine being dropped from the ballot. Shelmerdine won 46 races and four titles with Dale Earnhardt in a six-year span.

The six new nominees are:

Sam Ard: Ard won two championships (1983 and 1984) in the Xfinity Series, recording 22 wins and 79 top-10 finishes.

Neil Bonnett: The “Alabama Gang” member won 18 races before tragically passing away in a 1994 practice crash at Daytona.

Marvin Panch: Panch racked up 21 poles and 17 wins over a 16-year career.

Jim Paschal: Paschal recorded 25 Cup Series wins and 12 poles during his career, winning two World 600 races. His record 335 laps led in 1967’s World 600 was not broken until Martin Truex Jr. led 392 in 2016.

Tony Stewart: “Smoke” won 49 races on his way to three Cup championships, and is the only driver to win Winston, NEXTEL and Sprint Cup titles (as well as under both points and playoff formats).

Red Vogt: Vogt is sometimes considered “NASCAR’s first master mechanic” and named the series itself.

They join the remaining 14 nominees, who did not receive enough votes last year for enshrinement. Those are:

Buddy Baker: Won 19 career Cup Series races, including the 1980 Daytona 500. First driver to eclipse the 200 mph threshold in a 1970 test. Toward the end of his driver career, he embarked on broadcasting, serving as an analyst for races on TNN and TBS.

Red Farmer: Another member of the Alabama Gang, Farmer won three straight NASCAR Late Model Sportsman titles (1969-1971) and the 1956 NASCAR Modified title.

Ray Fox: An iconic car owner and crew chief who has 19 victories to his name, one of those being the 1964 Southern 500 with Buck Baker.

Harry Gant: Gant won four races in a row in 1991 and 14 other events during his Cup Series career.

Joe Gibbs: Won four NASCAR Cup Series titles, two NASCAR Xfinity Series titles and three Daytona 500s as the head of Joe Gibbs Racing.

John Holman: Co-founder of the title-winning Holman Moody team, won the 1967 Daytona 500 with Mario Andretti and the 1968-69 titles with David Pearson.

Harry Hyde: Crew chief for Bobby Isaac during his 1970 title-winning campaign.

Bobby Labonte: Labonte won the 1991 Xfinity Series title and the 2000 Cup Series crown, winning 21 premier series races along the way. First driver to complete the “Triple Threat” (winning at a track in all three series) and the 2001 IROC champion.

Hershel McGriff: Won the 1986 K&N Pro Series West championship and four Cup Series races in 1954, continuing to race at age 90 in 2018.

Ralph Moody: The other co-founder of the title-winning Holman Moody team. Won 92 races and two titles before he sold his assets to Holman. (For more information, see above at John Holman).

Larry Phillips: The only five-time champion of the NASCAR Weekly Series.

Ricky Rudd: NASCAR’s original “Iron Man,” Rudd won races in 16 consecutive seasons and 23 overall.

Mike Stefanik: Stefanik won nine NASCAR titles in two of its divisions, winning seven Whelen Modified Tour championships (1989, 1991, 1997-1998, 2001-2002 and 2006) and two in the K&N Pro Series East (1997-1998).

Waddell Wilson: Won three championships as an engine builder.

The five nominees for the Landmark Award, save for Janet Guthrie, who was removed from the list, were also announced:

Edsel Ford II: The great-grandson of Henry Ford; currently on the board of directors for the Ford Motor Company.

Alvin Hawkins: Hawkins was NASCAR’s first flagman and helped to bring racing to Bowman Gray Stadium.

Mike Helton: The first non-France to become president of NASCAR.

Dr. Joseph Mattioli: Helped found Pocono Raceway.

Ralph Seagraves: Seagraves paved the way for the Winston company to partner with NASCAR, leading to a partnership that lasted for more than 30 years.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Committee will convene May 22 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame to deliberate on the 20 nominees, plus the Landmark Award nominees. They will then vote and the results will be released later that day.

About the author

Adam Cheek joined Frontstretch as a contributing writer in January 2019. A 2020 graduate of VCU, he works as a producer and talent for Audacy Richmond's radio stations. In addition to motorsports journalism, Adam also covered and broadcasted numerous VCU athletics for the campus newspaper and radio station during his four years there. He's been a racing fan since the age of three, inheriting the passion from his grandfather, who raced in amateur events up and down the East Coast in the 1950s.

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Matt Griffin

Tony Stewart, Buddy Baker, Sam Ard, Neil Bonnett, and……..Mike Stefanik get my vote.

Fed Up

The HOF is a joke until they elect Smokey Yunick. I live 25 miles away and wouldn’t pay the admission or get a bank loan to park. Visitors to the area should visit the team workshops. They are set up so fans can see the inner workings and welcome visitors.

Taxpayers are on the hook for this white elephant, yet they refuse to divulge the attendance figures.


Sadly they will never put Smokey in there. He spoke the truth way too many times about France Sr. and NASCAR. Such a man as Smokey doesn’t interest the HOF.


others need to go in before stewart. tony just retired and is still active with team ownership in nascar.

i know they want recent retirees to go in now to keep fan interest, but come on nascar. does that mean jr will be on ballot for next year?

Tony Trout

Am I crazy or did I see “The King” Richard Petty in that photograph above???

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