NASCAR Hall of Fame Welcomes Five New MembersBy Christopher Kimball
The 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction ceremony is a veritable who’s who of accomplishments, record-breaking careers, and drivers who helped to shape the NASCAR we know and love today. With the lights shining bright and an audience full of fans, stars, and family members, five more racing legends now take their place in history.
The first member inducted was introduced by Carl Edwards, was Herb Thomas. With the highest winning percentage in NASCAR history and the first ever owner-driver-champion in the sport, Herb made his mark on the sport and found a home in the record books. Joel Thomas accepted this honor in his memory as he was inducted into the Hall of Fame by Ned Jarrett.
Everett “Cotton” Owens was the second driver inducted in the Class of 2013 after an introduction by Mark Martin. As a driver-turned-owner, Owens made his mark on the sport like no other. In his time driving modified, Cotton was credited with 100 career wins. After recording nine wins as a Cup series driver, he saw 38 additional wins by his drivers as a car owner. Cotton was inducted tonight by his friend David Pearson. Accepting in his memory was his grandson, Kyle Davis.
Leonard Wood joined his brother Glen in the NASCAR Hall of Fame after an induction by his nephew, Eddie. As part of the iconic Wood Brothers, Leonard was the brains behind many of the mechanical achievements in the garage. His engine tuning and design was incomparable, and helped to elevate Wood Brothers to a position of success. Leonard accepted the induction tonight with poise after being introduced by Wood Brothers driver, Trevor Bayne.
In an induction eloquently accepted by his widow, Buck Baker became the fourth inductee to the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame. After an introduction by Jeff Gordon, Buck’s son Buddy formally inducted his father into the Hall of Fame. Buck’s career included 46 recorded victories and two back-to-back championships in 1956 and 1957. He was part of the memorable first Southern 500 at Darlington in 1950, and ran his final NASCAR Cup race at Darlington in 1976.
The final inductee was introduced by Brad Keselowski, was Rusty Wallace. After running his first NASCAR race in 1980, Rusty started over 700 races in his Cup series career, with over 50 wins to his name. He was named as the NASCAR Rookie of the Year in 1984. Rusty’s son honored him tonight by presenting his father with his Hall of Fame ring.
This is the fourth class of inductees to the Hall of Fame, and the ranks are growing with more talent, skill, and record-breaking drivers. Before the ceremony, some of the previous Hall of Fame inductees were on hand to sign autographs for fans.