Saturday, March 25, 2023

Kenseth, McGriff and Shelmerdine inducted into NASCAR Hall of Fame

CHARLOTTE, NC ( Associated Press) — Drivers Matt Kenseth and Herschel McGriff and crew chief Kirk Schelmerdine have been inducted to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Mike Helton was named a Landmark Award winner for his outstanding contribution to the sport on Wednesday during a ceremony at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame on January 20.

Kenseth was a first-ballot selection, with Shelmardine being voted out on his third attempt and McGriff on his seventh. Kenseth and Shelmardine were voted on in the modern-day ballot, while McGriff made it into the leading ballot.

Kenseth, 50, has run 18 full seasons on the NASCAR circuit and retired in 2020 with 39 cup wins and 20 poles. Their 39 wins are tied for the 21st time.

Kenseth reached almost every major milestone in NASCAR.

He won the Daytona 500 twice, the Coca-Cola 600 and the All-Star Race. They also captured the 2003 Cup Series championship, in which they led the points table for the final 32 weeks of the season. He made the NASCAR playoffs in 13 of 14 seasons and was runner-up twice.

Kenseth made an impact right from the start, winning the Cup Series Rookie of the Year in 2000. He also won 29 Xfinity Series races, his eighth-place finish so far.

McGriff, 94, won this first race at the age of 22 in the second season of the NASCAR Cup Series in the 1950 Southern 500. His last NASCAR race was in 2018 at Tucson Speedway in Pro Series West – at age 90.

McGriff started 85 races in parts of 28 NASCAR Cup Series seasons, recording four victories—all of them coming in 1954

He was one of the best drivers of what is now known as the ARCA Maynards Series West. Competing in parts of 35 seasons, McGriff won 37 races, placing third on his list of all-time West Series wins. His signing year came in 1986 when he won the series title, which was part of a string of 10 consecutive seasons with the top 10 points of the championship.

McGriff defeated 87-year-old AJ Foyt, who made 128 Cup Series starts in 30 years, won seven races and finished in the top 10 36 times.

Schelmerdine, 64, served as a crew chief from 1977–92 and won 46 races with 15 poles and helped Dale Earnhardt capture four Cup Series championships (1986, ’87, ’90, ’91) . In his 16-year crew chief career alongside Earnhardt, Ricky Rudd, James Hilton and Richard Childress, he won 46 races and posted top-10 finishes in more than half of his starts.

Helton was the first person outside the France family to be named president of NASCAR.


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