Starting with the class of 2021, the NASCAR Hall of Fame will reduce the number of people it inducts each year and change how nominees are considered, NASCAR announced Wednesday
The number of inductees will be reduced from five to three. Potential nominees will be split into two ballots – one for contemporary stars and one for the sport’s pioneers. Two contemporary stars will be inducted each year along with one from the pioneer category.
Next year’s class will bring the total members of the Hall of Fame to 58.
The existing Nomination Committee will provide 10 nominees for the Modern Era Ballot.
Competitors are eligible for the Modern Era Ballot if their career started within the past 60 years (1961 for Class of 2021). Nominees can stay on the Modern Era Ballot for up to 10 years. Those whose careers began more than 60 years ago or who have been on the Modern Era Ballot for 10 years will be eligible for the Pioneer Ballot.
A new Honors Committee – largely comprised of all living Hall of Famers, Landmark Award winners and Squier-Hall Award winners – will evaluate and provide five nominees for the Pioneer Ballot. The Voting Panel will meet May 20 in Charlotte to debate and vote for the three-member Class of 2021 – two from the Modern Era Ballot and one from the Pioneer Ballot. All three are inducted equally, there will be no distinction between inductees from either ballot.
Twelve representatives from the Honors Committee, including seven new voters – Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Ron Hornaday Jr., Dale Jarrett, Roger Penske, Darrell Waltrip and Rusty Wallace – will serve on the Voting Panel.
Changes have also been made to crew chief eligibility to align it with driver eligibility. In addition to the requirement to participate in NASCAR for 10 years, crew chiefs must now also be retired for two years. Competitors with 30 years NASCAR experience and those aged 55 or higher are also eligible.
“When we opened the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010, we had to catch up on more than 60 years of NASCAR history,” said NASCAR President Steve Phelps said in a press release. “Our plan has always been to evaluate the process as the Hall of Fame matured. With 55 of the sport’s greatest competitors enshrined, we felt the time was right to move to three inductees which will help maintain the high standard of enshrinement that’s been set.”
Said Winston Kelley, the Hall of Fame’s director: “From the time I first learned of the selection process NASCAR developed in 2009 and through the evolutions implemented as we gained valuable experience, I have been a huge proponent of our process. I feel our process is as strong as any Hall of Fame, sport and entertainment alike. I am equally enthusiastic about these changes to our process and concur wholeheartedly that now is the right time to transition to fewer inductees and establish a process dedicated to NASCAR’s iconic pioneers.”