NASCAR’s eighth Hall of Fame Class was inducted Friday, Jan. 20 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C. The inductees include three owners and two drivers.
Richard Childress, who bought his first race car (a ’47 Plymouth) for $20 at the age of 17, is one inductee. Childress’ racing team has won 105 NASCAR series races, including six championships with Dale Earnhardt between 1984 and 2000.
The next inductee is Rick Hendrick, founder of All-Star Racing, which later became Hendrick Motorsports. The team has 15 total NASCAR national series titles and 245 premier series wins.
Mark Martin retired from NASCAR racing with a spectacular 96 wins spread across NASCAR’s three national series. RacingJunk’s Chase Clute has previously written an article on Mark Martin – it can be found here.
Raymond Parks was known for the pristine condition of his cars as well as for his habit of always wearing a suit. He helped NASCAR become a nationally recognized sport, and was one of stock car racing’s earliest and most successful owners.
The last inductee, Benny Parsons, started out his driving career as a taxi driver. Out of his 526 career starts, he won 21 races. He was the first driver to qualify a stock car at over 200 mph in 1982 at the Talladega Superspeedway.
H. Clay Earles was also honored at the ceremony, becoming the third recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Earles built Martinsville Speedway in 1947. The speedway is the only short track to host a NASCAR premier series race every year since the series’ beginning in ’49.
Lastly, journalist Benny Phillips posthumously received the sixth Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. Phillips worked for 48 years with the High Point (N.C.) Enterprise as a reporter and sports editor, and also wrote for Stock Car Racing Magazine for 27 years. For 12 years he commentated on TBS. He wrote four books, including Dale Earnhardt’s autobiography, co-authored with NASCAR reporter Ben Blake.
This induction also marks the return of NASCAR’s Fan Appreciation Day. RacingJunk has published a piece on this previously, from writer Mike Aguilar.