NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017 includes first active team owners

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Panel votes in Benny Parsons, Mark Martin, Raymond Parks, active owners Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress The five men declared Wednesday afternoon to a NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte embody a former Sprint Cup champion, an underappreciated businessman who helped NASCAR gain financial traction in its early years, dual active championship-winning owners as well as a motorist whose resume doesnt embody a pretension of any kind.That group brings to 40 a number of racers enshrined in a attraction since it opened in 2010.Certainly a many popular member of a Class of 2017 is a late Benny Parsons. Inexplicably, a 1973 NASCAR champion languished 7 years upon a list whilst some-more new champions Rusty Wallace, Bill Elliott, Terry Labonte as well as Dale Jarrett -- all of them living, by a way -- were voted in. Enormously respected as both a motorist as well as an award-winning broadcaster, Parsons won 20 poles as well as 21 races in 526 career starts. Among his successes: a 1975 Daytona as well as 1980 Coca-Cola World 600, plus victories during Bristol, Dover, Atlanta, Michigan as well as Ontario. He late after a 1988 deteriorate as well as became a broadcaster for NBC as well as TNT. He died in January of 2006.At a other finish of a familiarity spectrum is a late Raymond Parks. He was an Atlanta-area entrepreneur -- some of his businesses were legit, others may be a bit untrustworthy -- who helped NASCAR founder Bill France bankroll his new sports try in a late 1940s. The well-connected Parks was listed as team owners when a late Red Byron won a initial NASCAR Modified pretension in 1948 as well as when Byron won a initial Sprint Cup pretension a next year. Just as Parsons had done, Parks spent 7 years upon a ballot, leading many to fright he might never get in despite vital contributions that few fans would ever appreciate.The many controversial members of a Class of 2017 have been team owners Rick Hendrick as well as Richard Childress. Its not that they dont merit a honor; indeed, nobody in NASCAR approaches their organizations on-track opening over a past several decades. But both have been still active, accumulating poles as well as victories as well as office building their companys resumes upon a weekly basis. They have been a initial dual owners voted into a gymnasium whilst still active in a sport. Drivers for Hendrick Motorsports have won eleven Sprint Cup titles as well as three some-more in a Camping World Truck Series. Hendrick's Chevrolet-based Cup teams have total for 3,603 starts with 208 poles as well as 242 victories, many of them from Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Darrell Waltrip, Ken Schrader, Ricky Rudd, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Terry Labonte as well as a late Tim Richmond as well as Parsons. His Xfinity teams have won 23 races as well as his Truck Series teams have won 26. Most of Childresss success came with a late Dale Earnhardt. They teamed up in 1981, when Childress late midseason after a middling career as a driver. (Rudd gave Childress a initial dual of his 105 victories before Earnhardt came aboard for good in 1984).Childress as well as Earnhardt won Sprint Cups in 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993 as well as 1994. Richard Childress Racing, additionally a Chevrolet-based organization, additionally won Xfinity Series titles in 2001, 2003, 2006 as well as 2007 as well as a Truck Series pretension in 1995. All told, RCRs Cup resume shows 45 poles as well as 105 victories in 2,596 starts between upwards of a dozen drivers.Mark Martin is generally considered a many successful NASCAR motorist to have never won a championship during any level. He came close in Cup, finishing as runner-up five times, by usually 26 points in his closest bid in 1990. He additionally finished second in 1994, 1998, 2002 as well as 2009. All told, he won 56 poles as well as 40 races in 882 Cup starts (including dual Southern 500s), as well as additionally won 49 Xfinity Series races as well as 7 in a Truck Series. Most of his success came with team owners Jack Roush, who was additionally nominated for a Class of 2017.The late H. Clay Earles, founder as well as longtime president of Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, was declared winner of a Landmark Award for Lifetime Service to NASCAR. He won over Parks, Janet Guthrie, Ralph Seagraves as well as Ken Squier. Parsons appeared upon 85 percent of a 54 HOF ballots, followed by Hendrick during 62 percent, Martin during 57, Parks during 53 as well as Childress during 43. Robert Yates as well as a late Red Byron as well as Alan Kulwicki were sixth, seventh as well as eighth in a voting. The Class of 2017 will be inducted in January. By Al Pearce

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