NASCAR inducts drivers and other people from NASCAR every year. The five chosen for this year were Curtis Turner, Jerry Cook, Bobby Isaac, Bruton Smith and Terry Labonte.
Jerry Cook was a Modified driver. He and Ritchie Evans, also a Hall of Famer were from Rome, NY. Cook was a six-time Modified champion. In 1998, he was said to be one of the 50 greatest NASCAR drivers.
Bobby Isaac was a really fast driver. He qualified on the pole 49 times. In 1969, he got 19 poles in 1 season. He was second to David Pearson in points at the end of 1968. He was the 1970 champion, with 11 victories, 32 top-5's and 38 top-10's in 47 races. In 1998, he was listed in NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.
Terry Labonte is a two-time champion. His first championship was in 1984 and his second was in 1996, 12 years later. Only 6 drivers have championships in more that 1 decade. He was cool under pressure, but determined underneath that. Until 2002, he had the consecutive starts record with 665. In 1998, he was named one of the 50 greatest NASCAR drivers.
O. Bruton Smith was inducted because of what he did as chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports. He also helped build Charlotte Motor Speedway. He once a operated a series that was a competitor to NASCAR, named National Stock Car Racing Association. Speedway Motorsports went public in 1995 and it was the first motorsports company in the stock market.
Curtis Turner was an early NASCAR star. He was amongst the fastest and most colorful in the early years of NASCAR. His first win of 17 in the top level of NASCAR came in his 4th start. Most of his wins were short track and dirt track wins, but he was a Darlington and Rockingham winner. He won 38 of 79 NASCAR Convertible races he entered. No other driver has won 2 races from the pole leading every lap. He drove for many legendary teams, including the Wood Brothers, Junior Johnson, Smokey Yunnick and Holman-Moody. In 1998, he was named one of the 50 greatest NASCAR drivers.
Some awards, the Landmark Award and Squier-Hall Award were given. Harold Brasington, the Darlington builder was the Landmark Award winner. He also helped created the Charlotte and Rockingham tracks. Steve Byrnes, who was a pit reporter for FOX, CBS, TNN and TBS and studio show host received the Squier-Hall Award.
The Hall of Fame nominees were Buddy Baker, Red Byron, Richard Childress, Ray Evernham, Ray Fox, Rick Hendrick, Harry Hyde, Alan Kulwicki, Mark Martin, Hershel McGriff, Raymond Parks, Benny Parson, Larry Phillips, Mike Stephanik and Robert Yates. The Landmark Award nominees were H. Clay Earles, Raymond Parks, Ralph Seagraves and Ken Squier. Come back for my 24 Hours of Daytona post.