Mario Andretti, the only driver to win the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500 and the Formula One World Championship, headlines this year’s class of inductees for the National Motorsports Press Association NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Joining Andretti are Ray Evernham, a championship-winning crew chief and former NASCAR team owner, and award-winning journalist Steve Waid. The three were officially inducted into the Hall Saturday evening during ceremonies held in Concord, N.C.
Andretti won four Indy car championships (1965, ’66, ’69, ’84) and the Indianapolis 500 in 1969. He is a 12-time winner in F1, and captured that series’ title in ’78. While his NASCAR endeavors were limited – he made only 14 starts between 1966 and ’69 – Andretti was a winner in stock cars as well. His ’67 Daytona 500 victory came while driving for the legendary Holman-Moody team.
Between 1993 and ’99 Evernham won three NASCAR Cup titles and 47 races while paired with driver Jeff Gordon at Hendrick Motorsports. He twice guided Gordon to wins in the Daytona 500 and in 1994 the team captured the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Evernham left Hendrick to become a team owner following the ’99 season, and helped Dodge return to the sport in 2001. His Evernham Motorsports organization fielded cars for six drivers between ’01 and ’07 – including former Cup champion Bill Elliott and Kasey Kahne.
Waid, a former president of the NMPA, has covered NASCAR for more than four decades. He is a former winner of the organization’s George Cunningham Writer of the Year award, and in 1989 was presented the Henry T. McLemore Award for distinguished service in the field of motorsports journalism.
Waid and fellow Hall of Fame member Tom Higgins co-authored the biography “Junior Johnson – Brave in Life,” detailing the life and times of one of NASCAR’s most popular figures.
Andretti was named on 80 percent of the ballots cast by the NMPA membership, Evernham 75 percent and Waid 67 percent. Receiving votes but not named on the required 65 percent minimum for induction were team owner Joe Gibbs and former Busch Series competitor L.D. Ottinger.
The NMPA Hall of Fame is located on the grounds of Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The first class was inducted in 1965, and this year’s group brings its membership total to 94.