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NASCAR Hall call awaits five inductees

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The NASCAR Hall of Fame will unveil its sixth class of inductees Wednesday.

Five inductees make up the 2015 class to be announced at 4 p.m. (ET) by NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France in the Great Hall area of downtown Charlotte site. Also announced will be the inaugural winner of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.

The five new inductees will be chosen from a list of 20 nominees at a meeting Wednesday morning of the NASCAR Hall of Fame panel, including.

—22 members of the Nominating Committee;

—33 others, a group consisting of former drivers, former owners, former crew chiefs, manufacturer representatives, media members and community leaders;

—One ballot representing the results of a nationwide on-line fan vote on NASCAR.com;

—For the first time, the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup series champion (Jimmie Johnson) will also participate

“It is a huge honor,” Johnson said. “I’ve enjoyed studying up on everybody … I have a huge booklet with 30, 35 names in it. It’s been a fun process. And it will be a fun and educational meeting (Wednesday).”

The 20 nominees include seven former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver champions, including the first, 1949 titlist Red Byron. Other notable nominees include Wendell Scott, the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event; nine-time NASCAR modified champion Mike Stefanik, five-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion Larry Phillips; Speedway Motorsports Inc. founder Bruton Smith; and NASCAR’s first champion car owner, Raymond Parks.

Parks is one of the five nominees for the Landmark Award, which also will be determined by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel. Anne Bledsoe France, wife of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and generally regarded as the key to constructing the sport’s early business model, is a nominee.

—NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees:

Buddy Baker, won 19 times in NASCAR’s premier (now Sprint Cup) series, including the Daytona 500 and Southern 500

Red Byron, first NASCAR premier series champion, in 1949

Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series

Jerry Cook, six-time NASCAR Modified champion

Bill Elliott, 1988 premier series champion, two-time Daytona 500 winner and 16-time Most Popular Driver

Ray Fox, legendary engine builder and car owner

Rick Hendrick, 14-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series

Bobby Isaac, 1970 NASCAR premier series champion

Terry Labonte, Two-time NASCAR premier series champion

Fred Lorenzen, 26 wins including the Daytona 500 and the Coca-Cola 600

Raymond Parks, NASCAR’s first champion car owner

Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR premier series champion

Larry Phillips, only five-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion

Wendell Scott, first African-American NASCAR premier series race winner

O. Bruton Smith, builder of Charlotte Motor Speedway and architect of Speedway Motorsports Inc.

Mike Stefanik, winner of record-tying nine NASCAR championships

Curtis Turner, early personality, called the “Babe Ruth of stock car racing”

Joe Weatherly, two-time NASCAR premier series champion

Rex White, 1960 NASCAR premier series champion

Robert Yates, NASCAR premier series champion as engine builder and car owner

Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR nominees

H. Clay Earles, founder of Martinsville Speedway

Anne Bledsoe France, helped build the sport with husband Bill France Sr. Affectionately known as “Annie B.,” she is the first woman to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Raymond Parks, NASCAR’s first champion car owner

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