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Five Legends Named to 2020 NASCAR Hall Of Fame Class

NASCAR announced today the inductees who will comprise the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2020. The five-person group – the 11th since the inception of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010 – consists of Buddy Baker, Joe Gibbs, Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart and Waddell Wilson. In addition, NASCAR announced that Edsel Ford II earned the 2020 Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. The distinguished group will be honored during the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Jan. 31, 2020.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel met today in a closed session at the Charlotte Convention Center to debate and vote upon the 20 nominees for the induction class of 2020 and the five nominees for the Landmark Award.

The Class of 2020 was determined by votes cast by the Voting Panel, including representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from major facilities and historic short tracks, media members, manufacturer representatives, competitors (drivers, owners, crew chiefs), recognized industry leaders, a nationwide fan vote conducted through NASCAR.com and, for the sixth year, the reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion (Joey Logano). In all, 57 votes were cast, with two additional Voting Panel members recused from voting as potential nominees for induction (Ricky Rudd and Waddell Wilson). The accounting firm of EY presided over the tabulation of the votes.

Voting was as follows: Tony Stewart (88%), Joe Gibbs (72%), Waddell Wilson (72%), Buddy Baker (70%) and Bobby Labonte (67%).

The next top vote-getters were Mike Stefanik, Ray Fox and Hershel McGriff.

Results for the NASCAR.com Fan Vote, in alphabetical order, were Buddy Baker, Neil Bonnett, Harry Gant, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart.

The five inductees came from a group of 20 nominees that included, in addition to the five inductees chosen: Sam Ard, Neil Bonnett, Red Farmer, Ray Fox, Harry Gant, John Holman, Harry Hyde, Hershel McGriff, Ralph Moody, Marvin Panch, Jim Paschal, Larry Phillips, Ricky Rudd, Mike Stefanik and Red Vogt.

Nominees for the Landmark Award included Edsel Ford II, Alvin Hawkins, Mike Helton, Dr. Joseph Mattioli and Ralph Seagraves.

The Class of 2020 Induction Weekend is set for Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, through Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. The official Induction Ceremony will take place on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The Class of 2020 marks the 11th class and a total of 55 legends inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Tickets to Induction Ceremony events begin at $75 per person (plus tax and applicable service fees). Tickets go on sale on Saturday, July 6, 2019, at 10 a.m. ET. Special pre-sales will be available to NASCAR Hall of Fame members Tuesday, June 25 through Friday, July 5. For additional details about the Class of 2020 Induction Weekend events and to learn about becoming a NASCAR Hall of Fame member, visit nascarhall.com. 

Class of 2020 Inductees:

Buddy Baker

At six feet, six inches tall, Buddy Baker was often called the “Gentle Giant,” a nod to her personable nature during a 33-year career. In 1980, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native won the Daytona 500 with an average race speed of 177.602 mph – a track record that still stands. That same year, Baker became the first driver to eclipse the 200-mph mark on a closed course while testing at Talladega Superspeedway. He won 19 races in the Cup series, including a victory in the 1970 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway where he lapped the rest of the field. He also won back-to-back Coca-Cola 600s at Charlotte in 1972-73. After retiring in 1992, Baker made a successful transition to the television booth as a commentator for The Nashville Network and CBS, and later as a radio co-host on Late Shift and Tradin’ Paint for SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. 

Joe Gibbs

Joe Gibbs has won throughout his entire life. The three-time Super Bowl champion football coach started Joe Gibbs Racing in 1992 and has led the organization to four Cup Series championships and five Xfinity Series titles. Known as a master motivator, Gibbs’ 164 Cup Series owner wins (through May 22, 2019) rank third all-time. They include three Daytona 500 victories and five Brickyard 400 wins. His Cup Series titles have come with three different drivers: Bobby Labonte (2000), Tony Stewart (2002, ’05) and Kyle Busch (2015). Referred to in NASCAR circles has simply “Coach,” Gibbs was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

Bobby Labonte

The ultimate grinder, Bobby Labonte raced any car he could get behind the wheel of before he got his first break as a full-time Cup Series driver at 28 years old in 1993. His persistence paid off with a career highlighted by 21 trips to Victory Lane and the 2000 Cup Series title. A success in all three of NASCAR’s national series, Labonte was the first of four drivers to win both a Cup and Xfinity Series championship. He is also one of 27 drivers to win a race in all three national series. The Texan showed up on the biggest stages throughout his 2000 Cup championship season, earning two of his four wins in the Brickyard 400 and Southern 500. 

Tony Stewart

Known as “The People’s Champion” for his blue-collar, hard-nosed style of competition, Stewart immediately showed that he would be a force to be reckoned with in NASCAR – earning three victories in his Rookie of the Year season. The titles soon followed. Stewart won his first Cup championship in 2002 driving for Joe Gibbs Racing and answered that quickly in 2005. His versatility was on display throughout his 17-year NASCAR career. He tallied 49 wins in the Cup Series – winning on every style of track. He won the prestigious Brickyard 400 at his beloved, home-state Indianapolis Motor Speedway twice. In 2009, Stewart became a team owner, partnering with Gene Haas. He won 16 times as a driver/owner including one of the most memorable championship pursuits in history. In 2011, he won five of the 10 Playoff races – including the season finale – to claim his third title by virtue of a tiebreaker over Carl Edwards.

Waddell Wilson

A dual threat as an engine builder and crew chief, Waddell Wilson powered and guided cars to some of the biggest victories in NASCAR history. As an engine builder, he supplied the power that helped David Pearson (1968, ’69) and Benny Parsons (1973) to Cup Series titles. Overall, Wilson’s engines helped some of the greatest drivers to ever wheel a car – including NASCAR Hall of Famers Pearson, Fireball Roberts, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip – to 109 wins and 123 poles. He originally gained acclaim for building the engine Roberts used to win the 1963 Southern 500. Wilson guided three cars to Victory Lane in the Daytona 500 as a crew chief, winning The Great American Race with Buddy Baker (1980) and Cale Yarborough (1983-84). The famed “Grey Ghost” he assembled for Buddy Baker still holds the Daytona 500 record with an average speed of 177.602 MPH.

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Official Wine Provider for Road America

Road America today announced that Door Peninsula Winery has become a partner and official wine provider for the facility. Door Peninsula wines, produced in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, will now be the preferred wines poured at America’s National Park of Speed.

Along with over 500 events held seasonally at the 640-acre facility, ten major weekends are open to the public, which include the NTT IndyCar Series, the MotoAmerica Superbike series, three vintage racing events, numerous Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) events, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and the NASCAR XFINITY Series, which will help present Door Peninsula Winery’s numerous award winning wines to race fans visiting the world renowned facility. They will be also be served as part of Road America’s catering services and in all luxury suites.

“We couldn’t be more excited about being named the Official Wine Provider for Road America,” said Robert Peterson, Marketing Director for Door Peninsula Winery. “Road America is an icon in Wisconsin, having been a driving force of tourism for over 60 years bringing hundreds of thousands of race fans to the area every season. Door Peninsula Wines is honored with the opportunity to partner with Road America to provide race fans with Wisconsin wines made with the finest locally grown fruit.”

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NASCAR Diversity Internship Program Announces 2019 Class

Twenty-eight College Students to Participate Across the Industry; Summer Program Begins Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race Weekend

As NASCAR® and its fans prepare to celebrate 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race weekend in Charlotte, N.C., the industry will welcome today the newest class of interns selected to the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program (NDIP).

Twenty-eight undergraduate and graduate students from universities across the country will begin orientation today in Charlotte and participate in a motorsports tour that will include Charlotte Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the other racing venues in and around the city.

On Saturday, May 19, the new intern class will experience the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90) live from Charlotte Motor Speedway as NASCAR’s brightest stars compete for $1 million in prize money.

“For many, the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program provides an introduction to motorsports as well as valuable, hands-on experience in an industry rich with opportunity,” said Paula Miller, NASCAR senior vice president and chief human resources officer. “As we welcome each new class, we’re reminded of the many careers launched by this program and the positive impact our graduates continue to have on the sport.”

One of the premier internships in sports, NDIP offers college students from diverse backgrounds a unique and practical experience in the motorsports industry. More than 400 students and several industry partners have participated in NDIP since its inception in 2000.

Twenty-four former interns are currently employed in the NASCAR industry. The list includes Jusan Hamilton, who in 2017 became the first African American to serve as race director for a NASCAR national series event. In addition to his race director responsibilities, Hamilton oversees the NASCAR Drive for Diversity driver and pit crew development programs.

Brandon Thompson, a 15-year NASCAR industry veteran, completed NDIP internships in 2003 and 2004 in between semesters at Clark Atlanta University. Thompson now runs the Touring Series for NASCAR as managing director.

Katherine Lee, another NDIP alum, works on the events team at NASCAR and organizes high-profile events such as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards and NASCAR Fuel for Business events. In 2017, Dejah Gilliam was a communications intern at NASCAR and now, as a fulltime member of the team, supports industry initiatives across several teams and tracks.

Maryland native Kenneth Lee was part of last year’s NDIP class, and following his internship was hired as an associate producer for Motor Racing Network (MRN) in Concord, N.C. As part of orientation on Friday, Lee will give the new interns a tour of MRN studios.

The 2019 NDIP class will have roles at NASCAR and program partners across the industry which include International Speedway Corporation (ISC), Toyota,MRN and several tracks and teams.

Throughout the program, interns will interact with industry professionals at an array of networking events and lunch-and-learns led by NASCAR executives.The interns will also have access to mentors and NDIP alumni currently working at the sanctioning body and partner organizations.

NDIP is open to sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate-level college students and offers hands-on experience with one of the top sports industries in the country. The internship provides opportunities to multicultural students from all majors with a minimum grade point average of 3.0.

The 2019 NASCAR Diversity Internship Program class includes:

Name Department University
Rocco Babun NASCAR Partnership Marketing Elon University
Evelis Casey Watkins Glen International Loyola University Maryland
Gerald Donaldson NASCAR Graphic Design Clemson University
Carlos Fernandez NASCAR Finance University of Vermont
Aditya Baban Ghawre NASCAR Research & Development North Carolina State University
Dontre Graves Rev Racing Jackson State University
Wesley Hopkins Roush Fenway Racing University of Connecticut
John Huger Jr. ISC Partnership Marketing & Sales Bethune-Cookman University
MaKenzie Johnson Toyota Claflin University
Suzi Lee NASCAR Licensing California State University, Fullerton
Lawrence McMillion II Richmond Raceway Virginia State University
Jordan Mitchell NASCAR Driver Marketing University of Tulsa
Sean Montgomery NASCAR Digital Content Georgia College
Kylee Morgan Richard Childress Racing University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Seth Myers ISC Legal Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University
Julia Nowicki ISC Digital Communications Syracuse University
Monon Rahman NASCAR Research & Development University of Kentucky
Lukens Rivil NASCAR Legal Florida A&M University College of Law
Savanna Samuels NASCAR International Broadcasting Howard University
Justin Sifford NASCAR Technical Inspection NASCAR Technical Institute
Isabella Sisneros Daytona International Speedway Arizona State University
Jai Hyun So NASCAR Analytics & Insights University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Cora Taft ISC Sales Academy Georgetown University
Avery Oliver The NASCAR Foundation Rhodes College
Charles Tsao Michigan International Speedway University of Michigan
Tanvee Wakankar NASCAR Digital Media University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mia Williams NASCAR Communications Towson University
Lucia Zapata NASCAR Growth Segments University of Central Florida
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New Locales for Championship Race, Regular Season Finale Among Highlights of NASCAR Cup Series 2020 Schedule Announcement

A champion crowned in the desert. The Last Great Colosseum becomes a postseason factor. A tricky doubleheader. The birthplace of NASCAR bookends the regular season.

NASCAR today announced significant, dynamic changes to the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule, with intriguing shifts during both the regular season and the Playoffs.

Most notably next season, NASCAR’s championship will transition from the beaches of Miami to the desert near Phoenix, Arizona, following the renovation and reconfiguration of ISM Raceway. These recent changes delivered a new and exciting form of racing just a few weeks ago, reinforcing it as the perfect stage for the 2020 championship finale. As part of the new schedule, a champion will be crowned on Sunday, Nov. 8 – a week earlier than in previous seasons.

Fans have expressed their desire for more short tracks in the Playoffs, and as a result, the iconic Bristol Night Race will become a part of the 10-week title battle as the first cut-off race on Saturday, Sept. 19. Bristol will join the Charlotte Roval (Sunday, Oct. 11) and Martinsville (Sunday, Nov. 1) as cut-off races, creating some of the most intense and pressure-packed “win-or-go-home” cut-off race scenarios in NASCAR Playoffs history.

Another race rich with history will also join the post-season fold, as the “Lady in Black,” Darlington Raceway, will be the first race of the NASCAR Playoffs on Sunday, Sept. 6 with Las Vegas becoming the first race of the second round on Sunday, Sept. 27.

“The fans and the industry as a whole have been vocal about the desire for sweeping changes to the schedule, and the 2020 slate is a reflection of our efforts to execute against that feedback,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “These changes are a result of unprecedented consensus-building with our race tracks and broadcast partners; something we look to continue into 2021 and beyond.”

The Great American Race, the Daytona 500, will once again open the NASCAR season during President’s Day weekend on Sunday, Feb. 16, but NASCAR’s second visit to Daytona will come with much more on the line than in previous seasons. Under the lights on Saturday, Aug. 29, the superspeedway will set the Playoffs field as the last regular season race of the year.

“Quite fittingly, the birthplace of NASCAR will host the bookend races to the 2020 regular season,” O’Donnell said. “Racing in Daytona – particularly in the summer under the lights – never fails in delivering intense and unpredictable action. There’s no question this venue will create some incredible drama as drivers make one last push for a playoff spot.”

Following the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s trip to the West Coast will commence immediately with stops in Las Vegas (Sunday, Feb. 23), Auto Club (Sunday, March 1) and ISM Raceway (Sunday, March 8). Atlanta will move to Sunday, March 15 followed by Miami on Sunday, March 22.

Martinsville will move back in the schedule to take the spotlight – quite literally – on Mother’s Day Weekend when cars hit the track under the lights for primetime racing on Saturday, May 9.

Pocono Raceway will make history when it helps kick off NASCAR’s summer portion of the schedule. On Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28, the Tricky Triangle will host back-to-back premier series events, creating a bucket-list, can’t miss destination weekend for NASCAR fans.

Finally, a tradition continues, with a passing of the baton from one iconic race track to another during the July 4th Weekend. Indianapolis Motor Speedway moves to a cornerstone weekend on the NASCAR calendar with a race at the Brickyard on July 5, a spot previously occupied by Daytona International Speedway.

The entire 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule is listed below, and once again all races will air on either the FOX or NBC family of networks, MRN, PRN, IMS Radio, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Specific times and networks will be released at a later date.

See below for full schedule.

2020 NASCAR CUP SERIES SCHEDULE

DATE RACE/TRACK
Sunday, Feb. 9 The Clash
Thursday, Feb. 13 Duel at Daytona
Sunday, Feb. 16 Daytona 500
Sunday, Feb. 23 Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Sunday, March 1 Auto Club Speedway
Sunday, March 8 ISM Raceway
Sunday, March 15 Atlanta Motor Speedway
Sunday, March 22 Homestead-Miami Speedway
Sunday, March 29 Texas Motor Speedway
Sunday, April 5 Bristol Motor Speedway
Sunday, April 19 Richmond Raceway
Sunday, April 26 Talladega Superspeedway
Sunday, May 3 Dover International Speedway
Saturday, May 9 Martinsville Speedway
Saturday, May 16 All-Star Race, Charlotte
Sunday, May 24 Charlotte Motor Speedway
Sunday, May 31 Kansas Speedway
Sunday, June 7 Michigan International Speedway
Sunday, June 14 Sonoma Raceway
Sunday, June 21 Chicagoland Speedway
Saturday, June 27 Pocono Raceway
Sunday, June 28 Pocono Raceway
Sunday, July 5 Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Saturday, July 11 Kentucky Speedway
Sunday, July 19 New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Sunday, Aug. 9 Michigan International Speedway
Sunday, Aug. 16 Watkins Glen International
Sunday, Aug. 23 Dover International Speedway
Saturday, Aug. 29 Daytona International Speedway
  PLAYOFFS BEGIN
Sunday, Sept. 6 Darlington Raceway
Saturday, Sept. 12 Richmond Raceway
Saturday, Sept. 19 Bristol Motor Speedway
Sunday, Sept. 27 Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Sunday, Oct. 4 Talladega Superspeedway
Sunday, Oct. 11 Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
Sunday, Oct. 18 Kansas Speedway
Sunday, Oct. 25 Texas Motor Speedway
Sunday, Nov. 1 Martinsville Speedway
Sunday, Nov. 8 ISM Raceway
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Matt Kenseth to Race Slinger Nationals in 2019

In a statement to the track, Kenseth said of returning to run the Slinger Nationals:

“I can’t think of a better place for me to get back in a race car than Slinger. It’s been a good track for me throughout my career. We’ve had a lot of success there, a lot of memorable moments, and I’m looking forward to going back.

“The Nationals have always been one of the major events in all of short track racing. Certainly it was the one you wanted to win growing up in Wisconsin. Throughout the years, a lot of big names in NASCAR have raced in the Nationals. That’s a testament to how big of a race this has been for some time.”

Kenseth is a seven-time Slinger Nationals champion, winning the event in 1994, 2002, ’06, ’08, ’09, ’12, ’16.

Among those who have won the Slinger Nationals in the past are racing legends such as Alan Kulwicki, Dick Trickle, Mark Martin and Kyle Busch.