NASCAR makes changes to Hall of Fame Induction process

NASCAR Hall of Fame
CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 19: Members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame pose for a photo opportunity following the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Charlotte Convention Center on January 19, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Recently the NASCAR Hall of Fame welcomed five new members to its hallowed halls in Uptown Charlotte, but it will be the last time there will be that many.

NASCAR announced today there will be significant changes to its nomination and selection process for the Class of 2021 next January. There will be two separate ballots, one each for contemporary stars, and for the pioneers of the sport.

Starting with the 12th Class, there will be only three inductees instead of five from the precious 11 classes.

“When we opened the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010, we had to catch up on more than 60 years of NASCAR history,” said NASCAR President Steve Phelps, in a release. “Our plan has always been to evaluate the process as the Hall of Fame matured. With 55 of the sport’s greatest competitors enshrined, we felt the time was right to move to three inductees which will help maintain the high standard of enshrinement that’s been set.”

The existing Nomination Committee will provide ten nominees for the Modern Era ballot. Those are the competitors who started their careers within the last 60 years. For the Class of 2021, that means 1961 forward. They can remain on the Modern Era ballot for up to 10 years. They will then be eligible for the Pioneer ballot.

Crew chief eligibility will also change to that of driver eligibility and must be retired for two years. Any competitor with 30-years of experience in NASCAR will also be eligible, as are those 55-years of age or older.

A Blue Ribbon panel will form a new Honors Committee. The 12-member panel will select five nominees for the Pioneer ballot.

“From the time I first learned of the selection process NASCAR developed in 2009 and through the evolutions implemented as we gained valuable experience, I have been a huge proponent of our process,” said NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelley, in a release. “I feel our process is as strong as any Hall of Fame, sport and entertainment alike. I am equally enthusiastic about these changes to our process and concur wholeheartedly that now is the right time to transition to fewer inductees and establish a process dedicated to NASCAR’s iconic pioneers.”

The voting panel will meet in Charlotte on Wednesday, May 20. They will then choose the three new members, two from Modern Era ballot and one from Pioneer ballot.

You can follow Ted Fleming on Twitter at @TedFleming13, as well as the racing department at @RacingVault.

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