Robert Yates, Red Byron headline 2018 Hall of Fame class
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The 2018 Class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame was announced Wednesday and featured a former car owner, NASCAR's first champion driver, as well as the winningest driver in Camping World Truck Series history.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018
Robert Yates, a champion in NASCAR's premier series as both a team owner and engine builder, was announced as the first inductee in the 2018 Hall class, appearing on 94-percent of all ballots, according to NASCAR.
Yates, who started his career with Holman-Moody Racing in 1968, began working with NASCAR Hall of Fame member Junior Johnson in 1971. As an engine builder, Yates was the driving force behind the power that pushed Hall of Fame drivers Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, and Dale Jarrett for four decades.
Yates became a team owner in the late 1980s and won his first race with driver Davey Allison in 1989. While competing in NASCAR's top series, Yates' team won three Daytona 500s (1992, 1996, 2000) and the Cup Series championship in 1999. When Yates retired from team ownership, he went out with 57 career victories and 49 pole awards.
Red Byron won NASCAR's first ever race in 1948 on the Daytona beach course. Byron followed that up by winning the first NASCAR championship that season in the NASCAR Modified Division. In 1949, Byron went on to win the Strictly Stock championship in what would eventually become the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Voted one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998, the injured World War II veteran raced with a special brace attached to the clutch pedal that assisted his driving. Byron's injury eventually forced his retirement from racing.
When you think of NASCAR in the 1990s, memories of Jeff Gordon's No. 24 come to mind. The mastermind behind the "Rainbow Warriors" dominance was crew chief Ray Evernham.
As leader of the No. 24 team at Hendrick Motorsports, Evernham visited victory lane 47 times in the 1990s, including two Daytona 500s (1997, '99) and two Brickyard 400s (1994, 98). Evernham's innovation helped usher in a new era of engineering in NASCAR at the turn of the century, as he and Gordon combined to win three championships in four years (1995, '97, '98).
In 2001, Evernham headed Dodge's return to NASCAR by forming his own team. As an owner, Evernham won 19 races in NASCAR's top series, including the 2002 Brickyard 400 with Bill Elliott.
The voice of NASCAR. Legendary broadcaster Ken Squier, who anchored CBS' flag-to-flag coverage of the iconic 1979 Daytona 500, helped bring the sport to a national audience for the first time.
Squier helped form the Motor Racing Network in 1970 and remains a part of NASCAR broadcasting to this day. In 2012, NASCAR created the Squier-Hall Award to honor excellence in NASCAR media. Squier coined many phrases, including the Daytona 500's famous moniker "The Great American Race."
Ron Hornaday Jr.
Ron Hornaday Jr.'s name is synonymous with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The second-generation racer from California is the all-time winningest driver in NASCAR's Truck Series and his boasts a record four series championships.
Hornaday won the pole for the first-ever Truck Series race in 1995 and won his first race in the series' second event. Hornaday also holds the Truck Series record for most top fives (158) and top 10s (234) in 360 starts. He also has four victories in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition.
During his career, Hornaday drove for NASCAR Hall of Fame