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Perennial most popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and nine-time national champion Mike Stefanik are the two newest modern-day members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, as chosen by the Hall of Fame Voting Panel on June 9 and announced Tuesday afternoon on NBCSN.
Red Farmer, 87, a three-time Late Model Sportsman champion (1969-1971) also was elected from a group of five Pioneer Ballot nominees (those whose activity in the sport began before 1961).
R.J. Reynolds executive Ralph Seagraves, who spearheaded the Winston sponsorship that helped transform NASCAR racing from a regional to a national sport, was voted the 2021 recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.
Earnhardt completes the sixth father/son combination to enter the Hall of Fame, joining his father, seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt Sr., a member of the inaugural Class of 2010. Bill France Sr. and Bill France Jr. from NASCAR’s founding family, Lee Petty and Richard Petty, Buck Baker and Buddy Baker, Ned Jarrett, and Dale Jarrett and Bobby Allison and Davey Allison are the father/son duos already elected to the Hall.
Earnhardt was voted NASCAR’s most popular driver 15 times, his reign on that throne halted only by his retirement from full-time Cup racing after the 2017 season. Earnhardt won back-to-back Xfinity Series titles in 1998 and 1999 before embarking on a career in NASCAR’s premier division with family-owned Dale Earnhardt Inc.
The driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet enjoyed his most prolific year in 2004, when he won six of 36 points races. In 2008, he left DEI for Hendrick Motorsports, where he claimed the final nine of his 26 career victories.
Foremost among those wins were triumphs in the Daytona 500 in 2004 and 2014. An undeniable master of superspeedways, Earnhardt won six times at Talladega, second only to his father, the track record holder with 10 victories at NASCAR’s longest closed course.
Always a respected voice within the sport, Earnhardt has continued his involvement with NASCAR racing both as a car owner and as an analyst for NBC Sports and through his own podcasts.
Earnhardt recently raced in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway, in his only scheduled appearance in a stock car this year. After finishing fifth, Earnhardt indicated the race might be his last.
Based on statistics alone, Stefanik’s election to the NASCAR Hall of Fame was a no-brainer. The Rhode Island driver, who perished in a small plane crash in 2019 at age 61, accumulated seven Modified Tour national championships as well as two titles in what is now the K&N Pro East Series.
Stefanik joins fellow Modified icons Richie Evans (nine titles) and Jerry Cook (six titles) in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. In 453 starts on the Modified Tour, Stefanik collected 74 wins and 48 poles, both series records.
Stefanik’s success behind the wheel wasn’t limited to the Modified ranks. In 1999, he won rookie-of-the-year honors in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series.
The original member of NASCAR’s famed “Alabama Gang,” Red Farmer still races regularly at the Talladega Short Track, just down Speedway Boulevard from NASCAR’s biggest superspeedway.
In addition to his three Late Model Sportsman titles, Farmer won the NASCAR Modified championship in 1956. He also earned distinction as the 1974 Late Model Sportsman Alabama state champion.
Born in Hueytown, Alabama, Oct. 15, 1932, Farmer mentored the Alabama Gang drivers who preceded him into the Hall of Fame—Bobby Allison and his son, Davey Allison. Farmer survived the Talladega helicopter crash that fatally injured Davey Allison.
Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]More info on Reid Spencer
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