2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame Class Announced Today

TV screens show the 2013 class of inductees consisting of Buck Baker, Cotton Owens, Herb Thomas, Rusty Wallace and Leonard Wood after Voting Day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR Nvia nascar-assets.americaneagle.com

Have you ever had to choose between two things that mater to you very much? Say, for example, which child's championship baseball game you are going to go to because they are both playing at the same time at different locations? Tough choice.

This is the same type of pressure that some of the members of the 54-member NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel had to face today, especially Ned Jarrett as Dustin Long reported in his daily column for SI.

Choosing who goes into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and who doesn't is not an easy matter, nor should it be. The Hall of Fame is a place of honor, where the true heroes of the sport should be recognized and immortalized for future generations to look up to.

Problem is, the NASCAR Hall of Fame (HoF) is still in its infancy and there are so many deserving people who should be in the Hall which poses huge problems for the Nomination Committee let alone the Voting Panel.

The Voting Panel had to select their choice of HoF inductees from a 'short list' of twenty five nominees which included;

Buck Baker, Red Byron, Richard Childress, Jerry Cook, H. Clay Earles, Tim Flock, Ray Fox, Anne Bledsoe France, Rick Hendrick, Jack Ingram, Bobby Isaac, Fred Lorenzen, Cotton Owens, Raymond Parks, Benny Parsons, Les Richter, Fireball Roberts, T. Wayne Robertson, Wendell Scott, Ralph Seagraves, Herb Thomas, Curtis Turner, Rusty Wallace, Joe Weatherly and Leonard Wood.

After a lengthy voting process those selected to be honored in the Hall of Fame were; Herb Thomas and Leonard Wood each getting 57 percent of the vote, followed by Rusty Wallace (52%), Cotton Owens (50%) and Buck Baker (39%).

Interestingly enough for the first time ever there was a tie a for the fifth induction spot between Buck Baker and Fireball Roberts. After the tie-breaking vote it was Buck Baker that came out on top.

It is easy to sit here and second guess those who were selected and deliberate about those who we feel should be included in the induction ceremony more so than others who were voted in. I personally would have picked my selections a little differently but if my opinion mattered I would have been invited to be part of the HoF Voting Panel. With that being said, I respect the decisions of the Voting Panel and am pleased with the selections they made. Each person chosen is very deserving to be in the HoF and I am looking forward to the induction ceremony.

More info on those who were selected to be inducted into the HoF is found after the jump.

Class of 2013 Inductees:

Buck Brake
Elzie Wylie "Buck" Baker established himself as one of NASCAR's early greats, becoming the first driver to win consecutive NASCAR premier series championships. His repeat performance in 1956-57 was the highlight of an incredible four-year span; in 1955 and '58 Baker finished as the series championship runner-up. His career victory total of 46 ranks tied for 14th all-time.

Cotton Owens
Everett "Cotton" Owens enjoyed success as both a driver and owner in NASCAR. Behind the wheel, he won nine times in NASCAR's premier series competition, including the 1957 Daytona Beach road course. He nearly won the 1959 championship, finishing second to NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty. But as an owner, Owens stood out as one of the greats of NASCAR's early eras. His eye for talent was unmatched. He hired NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson in 1962, the same season in which he began a future championship relationship with another NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson. Owens won 38 races as an owner.

Herb Thomas
Herb Thomas was truly one of NASCAR's first superstars. He was the first to win two NASCAR premier series championships (1951, '53). He finished second in the points standings in 1952 and 1954 giving the North Carolina veteran top-two championship finishes in four consecutive seasons. He finished outside the top two in the championship only once (fifth in 1955) between 1951 and 1956. Thomas won both his championships driving self-owned cars.

Rusty Wallace
Russell William Wallace Jr., the 1989 NASCAR premier series champion, won his first of 55 races in 1986, capturing the checkered flag at Bristol Motor Speedway. His 55 victories rank ninth all time. He was especially adept on the circuit's short tracks winning 25 times at Bristol, Martinsville, North Wilkesboro and Richmond. His influence on the sport continued after his retirement, as an analyst on ESPN.

Leonard Wood
The Wood Brothers team is renowned as the innovator of the modern pit stop. Leonard Wood, brother of Glen and Delano Wood, was front and center in its development as chief mechanic (crew chief) for the Stuart, Va.-based team. As crew chief, Wood amassed 96 wins and 117 poles in 990 races.

- Source: NASCARmedia.com

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