NASCAR announced a number of changes to the selection process for the NASCAR Hall of Fame (NHOF), including a modification to driver eligibility parameters and the creation of a new award to honor significant contributions to the growth and success of the sport.
In all, six changes and updates will be made starting with the selection of the Class of 2015—all designed to improve upon an already strong process that has led to the selection of 25 deserving inductees.
“We’re very proud of how the NASCAR Hall of Fame has evolved and believe the first five classes reflect the strength of the nominating and voting procedures, with voices from every corner of our industry included in the selection process,” said Brett Jewkes, NASCAR vice president and chief communications officer. “Based on feedback from voters, industry leaders, media who cover our sport and the fans, we believe the changes announced today are a strong recognition of the uniqueness of our sport and will make the overall selection process even stronger in how we honor those who have driven NASCAR to great success on and off the track.”
Following is a summary of changes:
Currently, drivers who have competed in NASCAR for at least 10 years and been retired for three years are eligible for nomination to the NHOF. That will not change.
Moving forward, however, drivers who have competed for a minimum of 10 years and reached their 55th birthday on or before Dec. 31 of the year prior to the nominating year are immediately eligible for the NHOF. Also, any competitor who has competed for 30 or more years in NASCAR competition by Dec. 31 of the year prior to the nominating year is automatically eligible, regardless of age.
Drivers may continue to compete after reaching any of the aforementioned milestones without compromising eligibility for nomination or induction.
Nominating Committee Will Select Five Fewer Nominees for Enshrinement
Throughout its history, the NHOF Nominating Committee has selected 25 nominees each year to be discussed and voted on for NHOF enshrinement. That number will be reduced to 20 starting with the selection process for the 2015 class.
Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR
Beginning with the 2015 class, a new award – Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR – will be initiated to honor significant contributions to the growth and esteem of NASCAR.
Potential Landmark Award recipients could include competitors or those working in the sport as a member of a racing organization, track facility, race team, sponsor, media partner or being a general ambassador for the sport through a professional or non-professional role. Award winners will remain eligible for NHOF enshrinement.
Five nominees will be selected by the NHOF Nominating Committee and then be voted on by the Voting Panel. To win the award, an individual must appear on at least 60 percent of the ballots and no more than one award will be presented annually. Voting for this award will occur immediately following the voting for the NHOF class and be monitored by the same independent accounting firm that oversees NHOF voting.
Nominating Committee to Meet, Vote on 20 NHOF Nominees / Five Landmark Award Nominees
For the first time, the Nominating Committee will meet in person to discuss, debate and vote to create two ballots – the NHOF ballot and the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR ballot. Previously, the committee submitted nominees via mail to an independent accounting firm that tallies the nominations in order to create the final NHOF ballot.
The Nominating Committee will meet during Speedweeks at Daytona on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, and the nominees for both ballots will be announced later that day.
Nominees To Be Recused From the Nominating / Voting Process
Any member of the Nominating Committee or Voting Panel who appeared on the previous year’s ballot or current year’s ballot will now be recused from participating in the nominating and / or voting process for as long as he / she appears on the ballot. If an individual who is currently on the Nominating Committee or Voting Panel is inducted, or is no longer included on a final ballot, he or she is immediately reinstated to active participation on the panel(s).
Reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Added To Voting Panel
As was already announced on Nov. 14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway during the annual NASCAR Championship Contenders Press Conference, the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will be added to the following year’s voting panel.
That means Jimmie Johnson, who captured his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, will be included in the selection meeting and can cast a vote for the NHOF Class of 2015 on Voting Day, Wednesday, May 21, 2014.