NASCAR has unveiled the 15 nominees for the 2023 Hall of Fame class, the first ballot in two years. The list features newcomers in 2003 Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth and two-time Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer, along with several other legends of the sport.
The Hall of Fame ballot will once again be split into multiple categories. Kenseth and Brewer will both be new additions to the Modern-Era Ballot. They will join 21-time winner Jeff Burton, 28-time winner Carl Edwards, 18-time winner Harry Grant, 1970 Cup Series champion crew chief Harry Hyde, 18-time winner Neil Bonnett, five-time NASCAR weekly series champion Larry Phillips, 23-time winner Ricky Rudd, and four-time Cup Series champion crew chief Kirk Shelmerdine.
Daytona 500 winner AJ Foyt and two-time Xfinity Series champion Sam Ard will both be on the Pioneer Ballot. They will join three-time champion car builder Banjo Matthews, 1986 NASCAR West Series champion Hershel McGriff, and two-time Cup Series owner champion Ralph Moody as the drivers eligible for the Hall of Fame. One of these Pioneer candidates will join two selections from the Modern-Era Ballot to form the 2023 class.
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The 62 voting members will meet on May 4 to cast ballots for the 2023 Hall of Fame class. The fans will also be able to weigh in with one ballot decided on NASCAR.com. Part of the voting process involves bringing in the reigning Cup Series champion, but there will be two that take part in this year due to the cancellation of the 2022 voting and induction procedures. Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott will both participate.
Kenseth Won Several Prestigious Races
The Wisconsin native competed full-time in the Cup Series for 18 seasons (2000-2017) while also starting 32 of the 36 races in 2020 as a replacement for a suspended Kyle Larson. Kenseth achieved a considerable amount of success during his career, which includes 39 wins, 182 top-five finishes, and 331 top-10s.
Kenseth started his full-time career in 2000, and he made immediate waves. He won his first career race, the prestigious Coca-Cola 600, and finished 14th overall in the championship standings while securing Rookie of the Year honors.
Three seasons after securing his first career win, Kenseth won the Cup Series championship. He beat out Jimmie Johnson by a mere 90 points in what was the final season before NASCAR introduced the playoffs.
In 18 full-time seasons, Kenseth won some of the most prestigious races. He captured Crown Jewel wins in the Coca-Cola 600, the Southern 500, and the Daytona 500 (twice). The only Crown Jewel missing from his collection is the Brickyard 400, the race where he finished runner-up four separate times.
Foyt Had a Major Impact Across Multiple Racing Series
Foyt is one of the most respected names in motorsports, and he made a major impact across multiple series. His career includes a record four victories in the Indy 500 (1961, 1964, 1967, and 1977).
Foyt, who won seven Cup Series races in his career, set an impressive record during his racing career. He is the only driver to win the Indianapolis 500 (four times), the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the 12 Hours of Sebring. The 1972 Daytona 500, in particular, featured Foyt turning in a dominant performance in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Mercury. He led 167 of the 200 laps and held off Charlie Glotzbach.
Foyt will be eligible for the NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the Pioneer Ballot. He is already a member of five other Hall of Fames, including the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, and he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers in 1998.
A New Name Joins the Landmark Award Ballot
While three new personalities will join the NASCAR Hall of Fame, another will win the Landmark Award that recognizes outstanding contributions to the sport. Award winners are also eligible for NHOF enshrinement.
Lesa France Kennedy is the newest name to join the list. She will be eligible alongside Janet Guthrie, Alvin Hawkins, Mike Helton, and Dr. Joseph Mattioli, who all return to the Landmark Award Ballot.
Kennedy, the daughter of Bill France Jr. and Betty Jane France, has made a major impact on the sport of NASCAR and its tracks. She was the driving force behind the improvements at Daytona International Speedway and Richmond Raceway. She also helped found Kansas Speedway while serving as an executive at International Speedway Corporation, which merged with NASCAR in 2019.