Bios: NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Terry Labonte, winner of two Cup Series championships, was one of five men elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016 on Wednesday.
Terry Labonte, winner of two Cup Series championships, was one of five men elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016 on Wednesday. Getty Images

Jerry Cook: Made his name in modifieds, winning six NASCAR modified championships, including four in a row (1974-77). … Made 1,474 starts and won 26 poles and 342 races in his career, which ended in 1982. … Won nine track championships across three states. … After retirement, he served as the modified series’ director when it began in 1985 and remains with NASCAR as competition administrator.

Bobby Isaac: His 49 career poles rank 10th all time, and he won 19 in a single season (1969), still a NASCAR record. … Was runner-up for the premier series championship in 1968 and won the title in 1970 behind 11 wins, 32 top-five and 38 top-10 finishes in 47 starts. … His 37 premier series wins rank 19th all time. … In 1971, Isaac set 28 world-class records on the Bonneville Salt Flats, many of which remain today. … Died Aug. 14, 1977.

Terry Labonte: A two-time champion in NASCAR’s premier series, and a two-nickname star. Early in his career he was known as the “Iceman” for his coolness under pressure. Later, he became known as the “Iron Man” thanks to his 655 consecutive starts, a record that stood until 2002. … The 12 years between Labonte’s two championships (1984 and 1996) stands as a NASCAR record. … One of six drivers with championships in two decades. … Labonte had 22 wins and won 27 poles in 890 career starts. He officially retired at the end of the 2014 season.

O. Bruton Smith: Longtime chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc., he bought his first race car at the age of 17 and a year later promoted his first stock car race, in Midland. … Built Charlotte Motor Speedway, which became the foundation of SMI, and currently owns eight NASCAR tracks hosting 12 premier series races each year. … Took SMI public in 1995 to become the first motorsports company to be traded at the New York Stock Exchange. … Is active in child-related causes with his philanthropic foundation Speedway Children’s Charities.

Curtis Turner: Called by some the “Babe Ruth of stock car racing,” Turner was among the fastest and most colorful competitors in the sport’s early years. … Competed in NASCAR’s first premier series race, in Charlotte in 1949, and earned the first of his 17 career victories in his fourth start, at Langhorne (Pa.) Speedway. … Although many of his wins came on short tracks and dirt, he did win the 1950 Southern 500 at Darlington and the first American 500 at Rockingham Speedway in 1965. … Remains the only driver to win two consecutive races from the pole while leading every lap. … Died Oct. 4, 1970.

Jim Utter





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