2023 NASCAR Hall of Fame class led by Matt Kensett, Kirk Shelmerdain | Sports
Twenty years after winning the Cup Series Championship driver Matt Kensett will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Along with Kensset, Kirk Shelmerdain and Herschel McGreef will enter the NASCAR 2023 class.
Shelmerdain, four-time Cup Championship crew leader with Dale Earnhardt, and Kensett were elected by a polling commission Wednesday out of 10 candidates on the ballot of the modern era. Former longtime driver McGriff, 94, was chosen among five nominees in the Pioneer Era poll, which honors individuals in the sport whose careers began more than 60 years ago.
Mike Helton, senior advisor to NASCAR, has been selected as a laureate of the Landmark Award. The award honors those who have made “outstanding contributions to the sport.” Helton was the first person outside the French family to take over NASCAR’s day-to-day operations, and he was the third president in NASCAR history.
The 2023 NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for January 20, 2023.
In addition to his championship in the 2003 Cup series, the 50-year-old Kensett has won major series competitions, including two Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600, Southern 500 and All Star Race. His career cup has won a total of 39 and includes winning 19 of 23 tracks where he has participated more than once.
Shelmerdin won four championships with the late Ernhardt in 1986, ’87, ’90 and ’91. In 16 years as a crew leader he has won 46 races in such famous riders as Ernhardt, Ricky Rad and James Hilton. In 1992, Shelmerdin moved from crew chief to driver, making 41 starts in the NASCAR national series.
McGriff’s racing career spanned 68 years in the NASCAR Series, beginning with his first race in the 1950 Southern 500. He was the best racer in what is now known as the ARCA Menards Series West Low Level, winning 37 races and finishing third on the winners list Western series all the time.
A panel vote at the Hall of Fame, consisting of NASCAR industry members such as track owners, media members, drivers, owners, crew leaders, manufacturer representatives and other industry leaders, gathered to determine and discuss the 2023 Hall of Fame class. A fan vote was held NASCAR.com and the last two Cup champions Chase Elliott and Kyle Larsson were included in the voter list. A total of 61 votes were cast, according to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The two winners of the modern era, Kenset and Shelmerdin, came from a group of nominees, which also included Neil Bonet, Tim Brewer, Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards, Harry Gant, Harry Hyde, Larry Phillips and Ricky Rad.
Pioneer nominees included Sam Ard, AJ Voight, Banjo Matthews and Ralph Moody in addition to McGreef’s selection.
Among the nominees for the Landmark Award were Janet Guthrie, Alvin Hawkins, Les Frances Kennedy and Dr. Joseph Matioli in addition to selecting Helton.