Newest NASCAR HoF nominees have strong ties to Bristol
Much like many of the previous 15 inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, there are connections to Bristol Motor Speedway among the five newest nominees.
Announced April 11, four of the five latest nominees: Anne B. France, Ray Fox, Wendell Scott, Ralph Seagraves and Rusty Wallace, have a history at Bristol Motor Speedway. Two: Seagraves and Wallace, have significant influence at the facility.
Wallace is tied for second on the all-time win list at Bristol Motor Speedway with nine. Darrell Waltrip, all-time winner at BMS with 12, Cale Yarborough and Dale Earnhardt, both of whom, like Wallace, posted nine Cup wins here, all are already in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. (In fact, 12 of the 15 current members of the NHOF played a role in 76 wins at Bristol Motor Speedway).
In addition to his nine wins at BMS, two of the most important checkered flags of Wallace’s career came on the high banks. The first career Cup win for the hot shot Missouri driver came in the Valleydale 500 at Bristol April 6, 1986. The 50th of his 55 career wins also came at Bristol, March 26, 2000.
In his career, Wallace qualified for 706 races in 707 attempts, missing just once in 1983, and was the 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion.
Seagraves’ impact on the sport is extremely hard to measure since he did not compile statistics as a driver, crew chief or owners. But as the head of the sports marketing arm of R.J. Reynolds when the North Carolina tobacco company entered NASCAR racing in the early 1970s, Seagraves’ promotional genius helped push the stock car racing into the category of a mainstream sport. As importantly to employees, friends and fans of Bristol Motor Speedway, Seagraves was a mentor to long-time BMS general manager Jeff Byrd.
As an independent driver, not only doing much of the work, along with his pit crew of sons and friend, in building his cars and tuning his engines, Wendell Scott never won a race at Bristol Motor Speedway. But he did post five top-10 finishes in 20 attempts and many locals still spin yarns of remembering seeing Wendell getting out during a race and helping pit his car more than once. His best stretch at BMS was 1965-66 with three straight top-10 finishes of fifth, seventh and eighth in the No. 34 Ford.
Long before Richard Childress owned and Earnhardt drove the No. 3, legendary mechanic/owner/engine man Ray Fox fielded cars with that famous number on the door. Fox-owned cars ran nine races at Bristol Motor Speedway with drivers Buck Baker, Buddy Baker, Junior Johnson, David Pearson and LeeRoy Yarbrough.