The NASCAR Hall of Fame announced its 2021 Hall of Fame class on Tuesday (June 16), inducting three new members. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Red Farmer and Mike Stefanik made up the trio of inductees, and Ralph Seagraves was the recipient of the Hall’s Landmark Award.
This was the first year where only three members were inducted. Five drivers had been enshrined every year since the Hall of Fame opened in 2010, with the most recent class prior consisting of Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Joe Gibbs, Bobby Labonte and Waddell Wilson.
The 2021 ballot was broken up into two segments: 10 nominees were eligible in the Modern Era section of the ballot, with five in line for the Pioneer section. Earnhardt Jr. and Stefanik were inducted as part of the Modern Era balloting, while Farmer was selected from the Pioneer class.
Earnhardt scored 26 wins throughout his 19-year NASCAR Cup Series career, two of them Daytona 500 victories (2004 and 2014). He has the second-most Most Popular Driver awards in series history with 15, and his induction marks the sixth father-son tandem inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Earnhardt also won back-to-back NASCAR Xfinity Series titles in 1998-99 prior to joining the Cup tour and has won five NXS titles as an owner.
The late Mike Stefanik, who passed away from injuries sustained from a plane crash last year, was the second driver from the Modern Era to be inducted. Stefanik raced in some Xfinity Series events in the 1990s and 2000s, but it was in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour where he made his name.
Stefanik won 74 races throughout his 29 years in the Modified division, including double-digit win totals in 1997 and 1998. 41% of his starts ended with top-10 results.
Red Farmer is estimated to have won more than 700 races throughout his career, ranging from local tracks to late model races. The Alabama Gang member won three straight National Late Model Sportsman championships (later the Xfinity Series) from 1969-71 as well as the Modified title in 1956. He only made 36 Cup Series starts, but the now-88-year-old has continued racing throughout his later years at the Talladega Short Track in late model cars.
Seagraves, a businessman and executive, received the Landmark Award for being instrumental in bringing the Winston Cigarettes brand to NASCAR, a sponsor that backed the premier series for more than 30 years (1971-2003). Seagraves was president of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and was also inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2008.
Missing the cut from the Modern Era ballot were drivers Neil Bonnett, Jeff Burton, Harry Gant, Carl Edwards, Ricky Rudd and Larry Phillips, as well as crew chiefs Kirk Shelmerdine and Harry Hyde.
From the Pioneer nominees, Banjo Matthews, Hershel McGriff, Jake Elder and Ralph Moody missed out on induction.
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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