NASCAR announced their 2020 Hall of Fame Class on Wednesday. The five person group consists of three drivers, one team owner and one engine builder.
The 2020 inductees are as follows: Tony Stewart, Joe Gibbs, Waddell Wilson, Buddy Baker and Bobby Labonte.
Stewart led the way with 88% of the vote (50/57), while Labonte was the fifth and final inductee at 67% (38/57).
Two members of the 59-member voting panel – Wilson and Ricky Rudd – were recused from voting due to being on the ballot for induction.
Let’s take a look at the career accomplishments of the five inductees.
A three-time Cup Series champion, Stewart totaled 49 Cup victories in his illustrious 17-year career. Perhaps the most memorable of these 49 victories are his two triumphs in the Brickyard 400, his home-state track. Beginning in 2009, Stewart partnered with Gene Haas and owns 50% of Stewart-Haas Racing.
Known simply as “Coach,” this is the second professional sports Hall of Fame that Gibbs will be inducted into. Previously, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his success during his first stint as head coach of the Washington Redskins. Founded in 1992, Joe Gibbs Racing has won four Cup Series and five Xfinity Series championships. Gibbs’ 164 Cup Series owner wins rank third all-time. Interesting fact – The only driver to win multiple Cup Series championships for JGR: Tony Stewart. Fitting that they go in together.
A champion in more ways than one. As an engine builder, Wilson helped power David Pearson to two Cup championships (1968-69) and Benny Parsons to another (1973). Pearson’s success continued on top the pit box. During his time as a crew chief, he won the Daytona 500 three times; once with Buddy Baker (1980) and twice with Cale Yarborough (1983-84).
A 19-time Cup winner, Baker’s most impressive victory came in the 1970 Southern 500 at Darlington where he lapped the entire field. As mentioned in Wilson’s blurb, the duo won the 1980 Daytona 500 with an average speed of 177.602 MPH – a track record that stands to this day. After retiring in 1992, Baker made a seamless transition into both television and radio. Unfortunately, Baker passed away in 2015 at the age of 74. He is the only member of the 2020 Class that will be inducted posthumously.
Despite not getting his first full-time Cup ride until he was 28 years old, Labonte was still able to win 21 races and a Cup championship in 2000. Labonte’s contributions to the sport go beyond just his Cup accomplishments, however. He was the first of four drivers to win both a Cup and Xfinity Series championship and is one of just 27 drivers to win a race in all three national series. He currently serves as a NASCAR RaceDay analyst for FOX Sports.
In addition to the five inductees, Edsel Ford II was awarded the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. The great-grandson of Henry Ford, Edsel has been instrumental in Ford’s success in NASCAR. Along with his duties as a longtime Ford executive, Edsel was a direction of the International Speedway Corporation from 2007-2015.
The Class of 2020 Induction Weekend will take place from January 30-February 1, 2020 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The 2020 Class will be the 11th since the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s founding in 2010 and will bring the total number of inductees to 55.
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