The NASCAR Hall of Fame’s 2021 class, as well as the next recipient of the Landmark Award, will be announced today at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN during a special episode of NASCAR America.
The 2021 class is the first with the Hall of Fame’s revamped selection process that reduces the number of people in each class from five to three.
Two Hall of Fame inductees will be selected among 10 nominees in the Modern Era ballot. One inductee will be selected among five nominees on the Pioneer ballot. The Landmark Award recipient will be chosen from a list of five nominees.
Two of the nominees on the Modern Era ballot are NBC Sports analysts Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel met virtually on June 9 to determine the class.
Here are the nominees:
Modern era (10): Neil Bonnett, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Harry Gant, Harry Hyde, Larry Phillips, Ricky Rudd, Kirk Shelmerdine and Mike Stefanik.
Pioneer (5): Jake Elder, Red Farmer, Banjo Matthews, Hershel McGriff and Ralph Moody.
Landmark (5): Janet Guthrie, Alvin Hawkins, Mike Helton, Dr. Joseph Mattioli, Ralph Seagraves.
MORE: Original story of Hall of Fame nominees.
In the same classy manner that she dealt with things in her racing career, Janet Guthrie on Friday took a diplomatic approach to not being included on the 2020 list of nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Landmark Award.
Guthrie had been on the nominee list for the Landmark Award from 2017-19 but her name was inexplicably removed from the 2020 list.
The first woman to qualify for and compete in both the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500, Guthrie appeared Friday morning on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Beyond Racing” show with co-hosts Angie Skinner and Kelley Earnhardt Miller.
When asked if she was surprised at not being on the nomination list for 2020, Guthrie replied: “I have no idea what the criteria are by which they choose people to be nominated for these awards.”
Guthrie’s best chance to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall would be through the Landmark Award for contributions made to the sport. Guthrie made 33 starts in the then-Winston Cup Series between 1976-80. She finished a career-best sixth at Bristol in 1977. She also had ninth-place finishes at Charlotte and Rockingham in 1977 and 10th-place finishes at Michigan (1977) and Atlanta (1978).
“What I really wish is I would have been able to compete another five years,” said Guthrie, who turned 81 on March 7. “I really think I would have won Cup races in less than the usual amount of time so that I would have been eligible for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.”
Given the fallout from fans after Guthrie’s name was not included in the 2020 Landmark Award list, her name could be placed back on the list for 2021 and beyond.
“I’d be pleased if I were nominated again,” Guthrie told Earnhardt Miller and Skinner.
Guthrie already is in other halls of fame, including the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame in 2018.
She will still be inducted into another hall of fame in a few months: she’ll be among four inductees to the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan on July 18.
On Wednesday, the new nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame were announced. Also announced were the five nominees for the Landmark Award. Among the nominees was Janet Guthrie, the first woman to start in the Daytona 500 in 1977. Guthrie made 33 starts in the NASCAR Cup Series from 1976-1980 and recorded five top 10s.
In the above video, Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett discuss the importance of Guthrie to the history of NASCAR and how she paved the way for drivers like Danica Patrick.
Below is the nominee list for the Landmark Award.
Jim France: Executive vice president of NASCAR and son of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. has played a key role behind the scenes in the sport.
Janet Guthrie: First female to compete in the Daytona 500 (1977).
Alvin Hawkins: NASCAR’s first flagman who helped establish NASCAR racing at Bowman Gray Stadium with NASCAR founder Bill France Sr.
Ralph Seagraves: Formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.
Ken Squier: Legendary radio and television broadcaster; inaugural winner / namesake of Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.
Entrepreneur H. Clay Earles opened Martinsville Speedway in 1947, and his vision for stock car racing still endures to this day. Earles was known for promoting races even before the framework of NASCAR took shape.