On Wednesday afternoon, NASCAR announced the five members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2017, as well as the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.
Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin, Raymond Parks and Benny Parsons made up the Class of 2017 and H. Clay Earles was announced as the recipient of this year’s Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions.
“This is perhaps our greatest class yet,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France before announcing the Class of 2017.
The Voting Panel, which France is a member of, met in Charlotte this afternoon for a debate and discussion of the 20 nominees. The Voting Panel consists of former drivers and crew, NASCAR executives, industry figures, media and the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch. Following the debate, the Voting Panel submitted a vote for their five candidates.
The members of the 2017 induction class are:
- Richard Childress – Childress is an 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series. The most successful driver under Childress was Dale Earnhardt, winning six titles and 67 races between 1984 and 2000. His 11 championships rank second all-time and he’s the first NASCAR owner to win championships in all three national series.
- Rick Hendrick – Hendrick is a 14-time car owner champion NASCAR’s three national series. His son and a member of Hendrick Motorsports, Ricky Hendrick, won the first NASCAR Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway in July of 2001. His 14 championships are the most in NASCAR history: six with Jimmie Johnson, four with Jeff Gordon and one with Terry Labonte.
- Mark Martin – Martin is considered the greatest driver to never win a championship, finishing as the runner-up five times throughout his career. Martin was a 96-time race winner in NASCAR’s national series including 40 Sprint Cup Series wins and 49 NASCAR XFINITY Series wins. Additionally, he had 61-runner up finishes and 56 career poles in his 31-year career. Martin was named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers in 1998. One of Martin’s 96 wins came at Kansas Speedway in October of 2005.
- Raymond Parks -- Parks is NASCAR’s first champion car owner. Red Byron, who won the first Cup Series title in 1949, raced in a Parks-owned car. Parks was also one of the five individuals up for the Landmark Award.
- Benny Parsons – Parsons was the 1973 NASCAR premier series champion. Parsons was the first NASCAR driver to break the 200 MPH barrier in 1982 at Talladega Superspeedway. Parsons was named to NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers list. Parsons drove for fellow 2017 Hall of Famer Rick Hendrick as a member of Hendrick Motorsports.
H. Clay Earles, who was announced as the third recipient of the Landmark Award, joins Harold Brasington (2016) and inaugural winner Anne B. France (2015). Earles is the founder of Martinsville Speedway. Nominees for the Landmark Award included Earles, Janet Guthrie, Raymond Parks, Ralph Seagraves and Ken Squier.
The Class of 2017 will be inducted on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 in Charlotte.