(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jeff Burton & Carl Edwards Among Newest NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominees

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton and Carl Edwards are among the newest additions to the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s nomination class for 2021, NASCAR announced Tuesday, April 7.

Five nominees have been inducted every year since the shrine’s inception in 2010, but that number has been reduced to three starting in 2021.

Two individuals in the Modern Era section of the ballot will be inducted, while one from the Pioneer class will also be enshrined.

New names for the Modern Era consist of Earnhardt, Burton and Edwards. Earnhardt won the Daytona 500 two times en route to 26 NASCAR Cup Series victories along with back-to-back Xfinity Series titles in 1998 and 1999. Burton won 21 races at the Cup level, while Edwards scored 28 wins and two runner-up finishes in the season standings.

The Pioneer class’ two additions are Jake Elder and Banjo Matthews. Elder won two championships as a crew chief with David Pearson, while Matthews’ tenure as a crew chief and builder earned him a place in  NASCAR history. Matthews owned cars driven by a host of drivers that included Junior Johnson, Fireball Roberts and Cale Yarborough.

Holdovers from last year’s ballot in the Modern Era section include Harry Gant, Ricky Rudd and Mike Stefanik. Pioneer holdovers include team owner Ralph Moody and driver Red Farmer.

The Hall’s 2020 class was made up of drivers Buddy Baker, Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, along with crew chief Waddell Wilson and team owner Joe Gibbs.

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About Adam Cheek

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Adam Cheek joined Frontstretch as a contributing writer in January 2019. A 2020 graduate of VCU, he works as a producer and talent for Entercom Richmond's radio station. In addition to motorsports journalism, Adam also covered and broadcasted numerous VCU athletics for the campus newspaper and radio station during his four years there. He's been a racing fan since the age of three, inheriting the passion from his grandfather, who raced in amateur events up and down the East Coast in the 1950s.

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21 comments

  1. Avatar

    no disrespect to Jeff, Carl, or Dale Jr- but there are Cup Champs that are not yet in the Hall of Fame: Matt Kenseth (2003- who caused the entire points system to change,) and Bill Rexford (1950.)

    I partial to thinking that points Champions should be in before non-champs.

    Matt K should be on the Modern Ballot, and Bill R should be on the Pioneer ballot.

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      I agree. I like all three of those guys but their stats are definitely questionable and, I hate to say it, will lower the bar.

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        Wait until Brian and Danica get in.

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        @Bill B, completely agree.
        Of the three, Carl is the only one who you could make any kind of case for and even then, is it Hall of Fame caliber?
        Dale Jr. won four races in a nine-year span during the middle of his career, most of those years with the sport’s elite team at the time. That said, we all know there is no way he is not getting in.
        Burton had a stretch of five years between wins and averaged one win per season.
        Race wins seem to be the only constant to compare eras. Championships and season-ending “points” finishes are pretty artificial now.

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      Unless eligibility changed, you need to be retired for 3 years and Kenseth officially retired after 2018.

  2. Avatar

    A few of them nanes should never be in the nascar hall of fame.

  3. Avatar

    when i saw this yesterday i laughed. no cup championships between them. sad. we know jr will make it in cause of his name. na$car needs him to stay relevant. just shows that hof is joke.

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      Personally I’d put in Rene Charland and Tommy Houston before I’d nominate these three yahoos…As for Carl he quit prematurely as soon as he had some change in his pocket. Quitter.

  4. Avatar

    And still no Smokey Yunick …. 🙁

  5. Avatar

    First real super-team owner was Ralph Moody, who co-owned the powerhouse team Holman-Moody with John Holman. Both should be there. Banjo Matthews probably built more winning chassis in that era than anyone else and his cars focused on safety. He also built cars for a period of time.
    Ricky Rudd was an iron man driver. He won races over consecutive years and won Indy in his own car. Jeff Burton was always one to contend with in the money races. Earnhardt is an obvious choice.

    My problem with the Hall goes back to the first class when they put the second Bill France, who in my opinion caused the complete demise of the sport, in the Hall ahead of David Pearson. That was an insult to the second-longest winning driver and one of the best to hold a steering wheel.

    France, he gave us Labor Day in Fontanna, helped close North Wilksboro, Rockingham, and one Atlanta race. That Labor Day race in Fontanna was the beginning of the end.

  6. Avatar

    Some good comments here, my $.02. All Halls of Fame tend to become jokes over time with erosion of standards, NASCAR’s is just getting there faster. Champions under any format belong – thus Kenseth should be in (and I personally have never paid any attention to who wins the “Championship”… ). Agree Smokey is a no-brainer and it’s a crime he is not yet in. They will find a way to get Danica in. Last, I believe anyone that wins the 500 twice should be in – regardless of family name. Dale’s case gets much easier if one considers the entire career, including performance in Nationwide as well as ownership success, and lastly his stewardship of the sport in general.

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      The day Mikey, as a two-time Daytona 500 winner, gets in is the day they should shut it down.

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        HA! I’d agree – but just believe you can’t have it both ways.. Can’t hype the race as the “Super Bowl” of the sport.. ‘the Great American Race”.. etc. and then ignore those with success in it. The list of guys with 2 or more is not that long. So, yes – Mickey gets in too. He also was a major factor present in at least two of the most important (certainly memorable) races in history.

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          The race where MWR tried to fix the outcome so that his cars made the chase and the race where he tried to qualify with rocket fuel smeared in his carborator?

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          The rocket fuel episode was classic because he carried around a point total of minus 27 for three months since he didn’t qualify for the next 10 or 12 races. At work we would joke that we were ahead of him in the standings.

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          Then, Sterlin too?? ….slippery slope

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          Then the next step it to justify anyone that won the Daytona 500 once… hello Derike Cope and Trevor Bayne. Slippery slope indeed,

  7. Avatar

    Outrageous! This is embarrassing. The bar is getting lower and lower!!!!!!!!!!! Ralph? Are you kidding me? 26 wins in 631 races/19 years?????????????? UGH. Not a Cup Champion among them. And the ever humble (sarc) Ralph thinks he deserves it! LOL. So many other worthy people that are not in. What the hell? I never thought any of these 3 were HOF material, I guess like everything else in the world, the bar is lowered.