CHARLOTTE, NC (Sports Network) – The 25 nominees for the 2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame induction class were announced on Thursday, with five new candidates joining the roster.
H. Clay Earles, Bobby Isaac, Cotton Owens, Les Richter and Leonard Wood were new names added to the nominee list for the third list. The remaining 20 nominees were already selected in either the first or second induction class.
Earles was one of the original pioneers of stock car auto racing. He built and opened Martinsville Speedway in 1947. The half-mile track in Virginia remains the only facility to host races in NASCAR’s top series every year since the series’ inception in 1949.
Isaac won the 1970 Cup Series championship and recorded 37 victories during his career. He finished second to David Pearson in the 1968 point standings. Isaac won 19 poles in 1969, which still stands as the record for most poles in a single season.
Owens won nine times in NASCAR’s premier circuit, including the 1957 Daytona Beach, FL beach/road course, which marked Pontiac’s first victory in the sport. He won the 1953 and ’54 titles in NASCAR’s modified stock car series. As a car owner, Owens won the 1966 Cup championship with Pearson.
Richter was a former NASCAR executive and president of Riverside International Raceway in Riverside, CA. He achieved early fame as a defensive star for the Los Angeles Rams in the 1950’s and ’60’s. Affectionately known as “Coach” throughout the motorsports industry, Richter was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982. He was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in February. Richter passed away last June at the age of 79.
Wood, part-owner and former crew chief for Wood Brothers Racing, revolutionized pit stops in NASCAR. He figured out ways to get the race car serviced in the least amount of time. The team used a light-weight jack in place of a 100-lbs. floor jack found in the repair shops during the early days of stock car racing. His brother, Glen, made the list of 25 nominees for the inaugural NASCAR HofF induction class.
The rest of the nominees are: Buck Baker, Red Byron, Richard Childress, Jerry Cook, Richie Evans, Tim Flock, Rick Hendrick, Jack Ingram, Dale Inman, Fred Lorenzen, Raymond Parks, Benny Parsons, Fireball Roberts, T. Wayne Robertson, Herb Thomas, Curtis Turner, Darrell Waltrip, Joe Weatherly and Cale Yarborough.
A 21-member committee – consisting of NASCAR officials and industry leaders, as well as owners/operators of current and historic racetracks – determined the nominees.
Next year’s five inductees will be selected by a 54-member voting panel made up of NASCAR officials, manufacturer representatives, former competitors and members of the media. The fan vote will make up the voting panel’s 55th and final ballot. Fans can vote on NASCAR.com from April 28 to June 12.
The 2012 induction class will be announced on June 14 at the NASCAR HofF in Charlotte.
On May 23, Bobby Allison, Ned Jarrett, Bud Moore, David Pearson and Lee Petty will be inducted as the second class into the NASCAR HofF.