Meet the NASCAR HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2018:
RED BYRON – DRIVER (B. 3/12/15 – D. 11/11/60)
Hometown: Anniston, Ala.
Premier Series Stats
Robert “Red” Byron was there at the outset, to say the least. Byron won the sanctioning body’s first race in 1948, on the Daytona beach road course. He went on in 1948 to win NASCAR’s first season championship – in the NASCAR Modified Division. The following year, he won NASCAR’s first Strictly Stock title – the precursor to today’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – driving for car owner Raymond Parks. The Strictly Stock schedule had eight races; Byron won two of them. Wounded in World War II, Byron drove with a special brace attached to the clutch pedal, to assist an injured leg – making his accomplishments even more impressive. That injury contributed to Byron’s relatively brief career, after which he continued to be involved in motorsports. When he died in 1960 at the age of 45, Byron had branched out, striving to make more history, by developing an American car capable of winning the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car event. In 1998, he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers, recognition of a highly significant career, the relative brevity of it notwithstanding.
RAY EVERNHAM – CREW CHIEF (B. 8/26/57)
Hometown: Hazlet, N.J.
Premier Series Crew Chief Stats
In the 1992 season finale, a young driver and crew chief pairing made their NASCAR premier series debut. Less than a decade later, Jeff Gordon and Ray Evernham were in the record books. Evernham guided Gordon and the No. 24 team to three championships in four seasons (1995, ’97, ’98), and a series-leading 47 wins in the 1990’s. Among their triumphs were two Daytona 500s (1997, ’99) and two Brickyard 400s (1994, ’98). Matching Evernham’s mechanical prowess was his innovation on pit road. Under his direction, the “Rainbow Warriors” revolutionized the art of the pit stop. In 2001, Evernham tried his hand at ownership, leading the return of Dodge to NASCAR. His drivers won 13 times, including NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott’s triumph in the 2002 Brickyard 400. After selling majority ownership of his team in 2007, Evernham worked for ESPN as a race analyst before joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2014 as a consultant for its competition department.
RON HORNADAY JR. – DRIVER (B. 6/20/58)
Hometown: Palmdale, Ca.
Truck Series Driver Stats
Competed:1995-99, 2002, 2004-14
One of the forefathers of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, few drivers can be mentioned in the same breath as Ron Hornaday Jr. when it comes to wheeling a truck around a race track. The second-generation racer from Palmdale, California boasts a record four Truck Series championships and 51 wins competing on the rough-and-tumble circuit. Hornaday also holds the Truck Series all-time marks for top fives (158) and top 10s (234). In 2009, Hornaday won five straight Truck Series races, a feat matched only three other times in NASCAR national series history. Given his first opportunity in the Truck Series by Dale Earnhardt after “The Intimidator” discovered him during a NASCAR Winter Heat Series event on ESPN2, Hornaday gave back to the sport by allowing young West Coast upstarts to stay at his home while pursuing their stock car racing dreams, including future premier series champions Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick.
KEN SQUIER – BROADCASTER (B. 4/10/35)
Hometown: Waterbury, Vt.
With a smooth voice, and knack for weaving a simple note into an epic tale, Ken Squier carved a massive footprint during NASCAR’s formative broadcast years. One of NASCAR’s original broadcasters, Squier co-founded the Motor Racing Network (MRN) in 1970. It was his golden voice that took NASCAR to a national audience thirsting for live coverage, giving his insider’s view of what he famously described as “common men doing uncommon things.” He is perhaps best-known for calling the 1979 Daytona 500, a milestone moment for the entire sport, as Squier’s voice on CBS welcomed millions to the first live flag-to-flag coverage of “The Great American Race” – a moniker he coined. Following that signature moment, Squier proceeded to call races for CBS and TBS until 1997 before shifting to the studio as host for NASCAR broadcasts until 2000. Squier continues to enlighten NASCAR fans to this day, mostly through special appearances. In 2012, NASCAR announced the creation of the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence, which would be housed in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Squier and MRN’s Barney Hall were inaugural winners of the award.
ROBERT YATES – OWNER/ENGINE BUILDER (B. 4/19/43)
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
Premier Series Owner Stats
Robert Yates was the rare breed, exceling in any field he chose. But two in particular placed him among NASCAR’s greats – engine building (his first love) and team ownership. Yates, who began his career at Holman-Moody Racing in 1968, landed a job with NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson in 1971 – and the rest is history. He provided the power behind Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough, later leading Allison to a series championship in 1983 with DiGard Racing. In the late 1980s, Yates launched his own team, Robert Yates Racing. Success came quickly – driver Davey Allison won the 1992 Daytona 500, and finished third in that season’s championship standings. In 1996, Yates expanded to a two-car team with NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett and Ernie Irvan – and immediately won that year’s Daytona 500 with Jarrett. Jarrett would go on to win another Daytona 500 in 2000, a year after winning the NASCAR premier series championship – all in Yates-owned Fords. His lineage continues today, as son Doug carries on his legacy as one of the top engine builders in the sport.