Coming on the heels of its 11th induction class, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is changing the nomination and induction processes for the class of 2021, reducing the annual number of inductees from five to three and splitting the nominees into two ballots.
The current nomination committee will come up with 10 nominees for what's being deemed the Modern Era Ballot, which will consist of competitors over the past 60 years. A new "honors committee" -- largely comprised of the living members of the Hall of Fame, as well as winners of the Landmark and Squier-Hall awards -- will select five nominees for the Pioneer Ballot. Those considered for the Pioneer Ballot began their careers more than 60 years ago or have been on the Modern Era Ballot for 10 years.
Two inductees will be selected from the Modern Era Ballot, with the final inductee selected from the Pioneer Ballot.
"When we opened the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010, we had to catch up on more than 60 years of NASCAR history," NASCAR president Steve Phelps said in a statement. "Our plan has always been to evaluate the process as the Hall of Fame matured. With 55 of the sport's greatest competitors enshrined, we felt the time was right to move to three inductees which will help maintain the high standard of enshrinement that's been set."
Another change aligns the eligibility for crew chiefs with that of drivers. Drivers and crew chiefs must have participated in NASCAR for 10 years and been retired for two years before being considered for a ballot. In addition, competitors with 30 or more years NASCAR experience and those aged 55 or higher are also eligible.
"I feel our process is as strong as any Hall of Fame, sport and entertainment alike," Winston Kelley, the Hall's executive director said in a statement. "I am equally enthusiastic about these changes to our process and concur wholeheartedly that now is the right time to transition to fewer inductees and establish a process dedicated to NASCAR's iconic pioneers."