Hall of Fame Eligibility Changes Announced

Hall of Fame

NASCAR announced a number of changes to eligibility and the voting process for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

LAS VEGAS - NASCAR announced a number of changes to eligibility and the voting process for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

NASCARBrett Jewkes, NASCAR vice president and chief communications officer, outlined the changes and updates this morning during a breakfast with the media and with NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France at The Wynn in Las Vegas.

“We’re very proud of how the NASCAR Hall of Fame has evolved and believe the first five classes reflect the strength of the nominating and voting procedures, with voices from every corner of our industry included in the selection process,” Jewkes said. "Based on feedback from voters, industry leaders, media who cover our sport and the fans, we believe the changes announced today are a strong recognition of the uniqueness of our sport and will make the overall selection process even stronger in how we honor those who have driven NASCAR to great success on and off the track.”

The first change is drivers that compete a minimum of 10 years are immediately eligible after they reach their 55th birthday. NASCAR also stated that drivers that have competed in a national series for 30 years will also be eligible. Any driver that meets the standards and still competes will still be eligible.

Some of the drivers impacted by the new eligibility include Bill Elliott, Mark Martin, Terry Labonte, Ken Schrader and Ron Hornaday Jr.

For the first time the nominating committee will meet and debate instead of doing it without a meeting. That meeting will be held on Feb. 21. The number of nominees will also be reduced from 25 to 20 starting with the 2015 selection process.

There will one change and one addition to the nominating panel. Steve Phelps, NASCAR's CMO, will replace former NASCAR executive Paul Brooks on the committee. Paul will remain a member of the voting panel as a valuable member of the NASCAR community. Plus, for the first time NASCAR will add a media voice to the nominating process by adding one member of the media to that panel - Mike Joy from NASCAR on FOX.

Finally, NASCAR will create a Landmark for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR award. Each year five will be nominated and the individual awarded will still be eligible for the Hall of Fame. Possible nominees include a member of a racing organization, track facility, race team, and sponsor or media partner. To win the award, an individual will have to be on at least 60 percent of the ballots and only one award will be awardedannually if anyone reaches that threshold.

As previously announced, the reigning Sprint Cup champion will be added to the voting panel, placing Jimmie Johnson in the selection meeting where he will cast a vote on Wednesday, May 21, 2014.

There will be no veteran's committee for the Hall of Fame, but NASCAR will put in strong consideration after the 10th class is inducted.

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