Tonight, we inducted five of NASCAR’s finest into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte.
Red Byron, who won NASCAR’s first championship back in 1949, revolutionized the sport by giving
it its first champion. On his venture to become champion, statistics show just how much the sport has changed. Byron, who won the championship in 1949, ran just six of the season’s eight events, winning two, and securing four top five finishes. Red Byron getting into the Hall of Fame is a monumental remembrance of the roots of the sport of NASCAR, by honoring its first champion.
Byron died in 1960, but his legacy will live on through the Hall of Honor in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Ron Hornaday Jr was the king of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He won four championships in his years running for the truck title, which ranks as the most in truck series history. In 2009, Hornaday won four straight races, another truck series record, while driving the iconic no. 33 car for the now defunct Kevin Harvick Inc. Ron Hornaday Jr is a NASCAR legend, and was treated as such this evening by being enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Crew chief Ray Evernham, famous crew chief of the “Rainbow Warriors” for Hendrick Motorsports and Jeff Gordon back in the 1990’s, was given the honor of being enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Evernham, who was with Jeff Gordon for three of his four NASCAR cup championships, became an owner in his later years in the sport. Forming Evernham Motorsports, he created the iconic no. 9 and no. 19 teams, cars that would give stars like Kasey Kahne his start, and give drivers like Jeremy Mayfield, Bill Elliott, and Elliott Sadler competitive rides to finish their cup careers in.
Also given the nod, premier engine builder Robert Yates, who we lost just this past October due to cancer. Yates both headed a wildly successful race team, Robert Yates Racing, who fielded the iconic no. 28 car which would be driven by future Hall of Famers Ernie Irvan, Ricky Rudd, and Davey Allison. On the flip side, Yates was perhaps the best engine builder the sort had ever seen. Creating Roush-Yates Engines with partner Jack Roush, the pair would give winning motors to over 129 cup races and 118 pole positions. The pair also won a cup championship with Dale Jarrett in 1999. Jarrett, who made the no. 88 Yates car famous, is now a current Hall of Famer as well for his driving career.
Last but not least, being inducted is Ken Squier, who called some of NASCAR’s most famous finishes and races. Squier, who perhaps called the most iconic finish in NASCAR history, the 1979 Daytona 500, was a pioneer in NASCAR becoming a staple of Sunday afternoons on television screens around the world. Squier also called the first flag to flag race to be broadcasted in its entirety on television, which took place at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in 1971. Squier has already been enshrined in the Hall as the winner of the award bearing his name, the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence, now he will enter the Hall of Honor as a true Hall of Famer.
Behold, the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018. They have impacted our sport in so many positive ways, and tonight, we will celebrate their accomplishments and give them NASCAR's highest honor, a spot in the sport's Hall of Fame.