February 21, 2014

Buddy Baker, Bill Elliott among 20 NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees

Terry Labonte, Mike Stefanik and Robert Yates also among first-time nominees for 2015 Hall of Fame class.

With new guidelines, the NASCAR Hall of Fame saw a new swath of nominees for its 2015 class.

Under rules changed earlier this season, the Hall’s Nominating Committee put forward 20 people for its sixth induction class.

Among the group were five first-time nominees: Buddy Baker, Bill Elliott, Terry Labonte, Mike Stefanik and Robert Yates.

They join 15 who have been nominated in the past: Red Byron, Richard Childress, Jerry Cook, Ray Fox, Rick Hendrick, Bobby Isaac, Fred Lorenzen, Raymond Parks, Benny Parsons, Larry Phillips, Wendell Scott, Bruton Smith, Curtis Turner, Joe Weatherly and Rex White.

From the list of 20 nominees, five will be elected by the Hall’s Voting Panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on Voting day for the 2015 class will be May 21.

Five nominees were also named for the inaugural Landmark Award, which will be presented to a person or company for contribution to the sport. They are: H. Clay Earles, Anne B. France, Parks, Ralph Seagraves, and Ken Squier.

Because of a reduction made in total number of nominees, five former Hall nominees were not renominated this year: France, Les Richter, T. Wayne Robertson, Seagraves and Earles.

In last year’s Hall voting, Cook, Weatherly and Scott had the three highest vote totals of those who were not elected.

Kvapil lands ride: Former Truck series champion Travis Kvapil will drive the No. 32 Ford in the Cup series this season for Go FAS Racing. His first race with the team will be next week at Phoenix.

Kvapil will share driving duties in the car with former Cup champion Terry Labonte and road-racing ace Boris Said.

Duel nighttime debut a success: Thursday night’s Budweiser Duel at Daytona qualifying races averaged 3.122 million viewers on Fox Sports 1, making it the most-watched “Duel” event since 2000 when CBS aired it on a Saturday (4.296 million viewers). The duel races have previously been run during the day.

Polesitter staying put: Rookie Austin Dillon, who will start from the pole of Sunday’s Daytona 500, said he will not likely practice again before Sunday’s race. Dillon and his team do not want to risk damaging their primary car.

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