Two drivers — one from the Pioneer Ballot and one from the Modern Era Ballot — and a crew chief were elected Wednesday to be inducted into the 2023 NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Induction into the Hall of Fame from the Modern Era election:
Matt Kenseth: In 18 full-time seasons, Kenseth captured every major milestone on the Cup Series schedule, winning two Daytona 500s, the Southern 500, the Coca-Cola 600 and the All-Star Race. His 39 cup wins ranks 21st on the all-time list and includes wins at 19 of the 23 routes he has competed at more than once. His crowning achievement was his 2003 Cup Series championship, where he led the series standings for the final 32 weeks of the season.
Kirk Shelmerdine: At age 25 in 1983, Shelmerdine guided Ricky Rudd to victory in Riverside, California, the first of two victories that season. Barely three years later, he guided Dale Earnhardt to the 1986 Cup Series Championship. Shelmerdine won a total of four Cup titles with Earnhardt (1986, ’87, ’90, ’91). During his 16-year career as crew chief for Earnhardt, Rudd, James Hylton and Richard Childress, he won 46 races and finished in the top 10 in more than half of his starts.
Induction into the Hall of Fame from the Pioneer Choice:
Herschel McGriff: McGriff’s first race was the 1950 Southern 500 in the second season of the Cup Series at age 22. His last NASCAR race was at Tucson (Ariz.) Speedway in the NASCAR Pro Series West – 2018 at the age of 90. He started 85 races in splits of 28 Cup Series seasons and claimed four victories – all in 1954 when he finished sixth overall. McGriff was one of the best drivers in today’s ARCA Menards Series West. He competed in portions of 35 seasons and won 37 races, third on the West Series all-time win list.
Kenseth received 69% of the Modern Era ballot votes, while Shelmerdine received 52%. Harry Hyde was third followed by Neil Bonnett and Harry Gant.
McGriff received 31% of the Pioneer votes, with AJ Foyt coming in second.
The results of the fan vote were: Foyt (Pioneer); Kenseth and Harry Gant (modern times).
Former NASCAR President Mike Helton, who continues to serve on the sanctions agency’s board of directors, is honored with the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.
The 2023 Hall of Fame class will be officially inducted on Friday, January 20, 2023.
This was the second class designated for Hall induction under the redesigned format.
There were 10 nominees on the Modern Era ballot and five on the Pioneer ballot – designed to honor those whose careers began more than 60 years ago. Two Modern Era candidates and one Pioneer candidate now make up each Hall class.
This year there were 60 voters (two members were rejected). Because there was no Class of 2022 (due to the COVID-19 pandemic), both Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson entered as one-time voters as Cup Series Champions. The 61st vote was the fan vote.
Note: Motorsport.com NASCAR Editor Jim Utter is a member of the Hall of Fame voting panel. He voted for Matt Kenseth and Kirk Shelmerdine in the Modern Era election; Hershel McGriff on the Pioneer ballot; and Janet Guthrie for the Landmark Award.