NASCAR is one of very few sports that really takes care of its fans. You can see this on any given race weekend as you walk the pits or garage areas. NASCAR doesn’t deal with prima donna athletes who demand payment for giving a signature or taking a photo with a fan. NASCAR drivers, owners, and crew are all happy to take the few moments required to ensure that the fans stay happy and keep coming back. Thus, after much complaining by the fan body, NASCAR has decided to bring back its Fan Appreciation Day in conjunction with the annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies.
NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony to Be Held on January 20th
NASCAR’s Class of 2017 Hall of Fame Inductees will be honored at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20. 2017 inductees include Benny Parsons, Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin, and Raymond Parks.
Benny Parsons is being inducted due to his legendary career as a driver, which spanned many of the sport’s formative years. He’s also a well-known color commentary guy for TV. His wife said that Benny was afraid he’d be forgotten after his death. Not a chance, Mr. Parsons – ain’t gonna happen. Parsons was a premiere series champion, Daytona 500 winner, and the first NASCAR driver to break the 200 MPH barrier. Parsons had 526 starts in his career and placed in the top ten a remarkable 283 times.
Teams owned by Parks, Hendrick, and Childress represent a stunning 349 victories in NASCAR Cup series races, as well as 18 Cup titles. All three team owners have been nominated in the past, but never got the votes to be inducted until this year. Parks became the first owner of a championship team in 1949 with driver Red Byron, back when the series was known as the Strictly Stock division.
Mark Martin – well, he’s Mark Martin, man. He’s the Iron Man of NASCAR. Martin has competed in all three of NASCAR’s national premiere series in a career spanning over 40 years. Martin’s election to the Hall of Fame isn’t a nod to two or three years of greatness. His election is a nod to 40 years contributing to the popularity of our sport.
Fan Appreciation Day Follows Induction Day
NASCAR fans will have intimate access to the sport’s most popular drivers on Saturday, following the induction ceremonies. This year’s inductees will be available for photographs and autographs, as well as to help unveil their granite markers in the big garden in front of the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s doors.
Along with the most recent class of Hall of Famers, Saturday will also star previous inductees and most of the current drivers from the national series. This means fans will have a chance to rub elbows with Dale Earnhardt Junior, the sport’s most popular driver for 13 years running, as well as Seven-Time Champion Jimmie Johnson and fan favorites Chase Eliot, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and many others. Fans will also be able to participate in question and answer sessions with some of the drivers.