GLOCK: My 2024 NASCAR Hall of Fame ballot – how I voted and why

GLOCK: My 2024 NASCAR Hall of Fame ballot – how I voted and why

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – My first time participating in the NASCAR Hall of Fame selection process was an eye-opening experience, especially from the standpoint of the lively discussion inside the voting committee room.

It was great to hear so many participants make their issues on who to vote for, and you could feel the flow of the room change several times in what seemed like a largely wide-open process heading into the day (with no real candidates).

In the end, Ricky Rudd (87 percent of the vote) and Carl Edwards (52 percent) were voted out of the “Modern Era” ballot and Ralph Moody (60 percent) was voted out of the “Pioneer” ballot for the class that will be introduced in February 2025. That said, the inventor of the SAFER Barrier, Dr. Dean Sicking, has been voted as the recipient of NASCAR’s Landmark Award for his contributions to the sport.

Those choices were also the same four choices that appeared on my ballot. Below is an explanation of why I voted for each.

Modern-day balloting: Edwards

This was by far the easiest option for me, and the only one I was completely sure of heading into the process. Edwards is the best qualified driver in the NASCAR Cup Series to actually win and is not already in the Hall of Fame. His 28 victories came in 445 games, a higher winning percentage (6.3 percent) than the favorites he faced (Neil Bonnett 5 percent, Harry Gantt 3.8 percent, Greg Biffle 3.7 percent, Jeff Burton 3 percent, Ricky Rudd 2.5 percent).

You can say, “Well, Edwards doesn’t have a championship.” OK, but there are several non-champions with fewer career wins than Edwards who are already in the Hall of Fame, and he hasn’t faced any Cup champions this year.

Plus, let’s be real: Edwards could have easily been a two-time champion (he lost the 2011 title on a tiebreaker and was on the verge of winning the 2016 title until a controversial late warning, which led to what turned out to be a collapse). His last professional race).

Edwards also finished in the top five in the points standings six times, half of his seasons in Cup. That’s as much or more than other candidates in far fewer seasons. Gant also finished fifth or better in the points standings six times (but in four more seasons than Edwards), Rudd five times in 28 seasons, Burton four times in 20 seasons, Biffle three times in 14 seasons, and Bonnett once.

Finally, I cover Edwards’ entire career. He was an undisputed star, and there was never any doubt in my mind as to whether he would eventually be in the Hall. Edwards deserved to be in the Hall, and now he is.

Modern-day ballot: Rod

This vote could have played out for me in many ways before the operation, but I was persuaded by the emotional arguments for Rudd inside the voting room. This was Rudd’s eighth time on the ballot, but it seemed that in the absence of a capable driver (like Jimmie Johnson last year), Rudd rode a wave of momentum from voters.

He checked many boxes. First, Rudd is second only to Edwards in the number of drivers nominated in the Cup Series victories list (23). Ultimately, this sport is about winning – even if Rudd took longer to win his races (906 starts) than most.

But this longevity plays in his favor. He was an Iron Man in NASCAR until Jeff Gordon broke the record for consecutive starts and had more total starts than anyone except Richard Petty.

Also impressive: his consistency. Rudd has won at least one race in the Cup Series for 16 consecutive years, the third-longest streak in history.

So, in a mixed group of drivers with similar credentials – 20 wins but no championship – Rod ended up getting the nod on my ballot over Harry Gant.

I expect Gantt to set up the hall sometime soon. There were strong cases for him being chosen this year because he was undeniably a star and remains very popular.

What was working against him, at least from my perspective, was his 18 Career Cup wins. My personal feeling has long been that 20 Cup wins should be the current standard for making the Hall (I wrote in 2014 for Column in USA Today: “Within a decade, the magic number of wins to include Hall will be 20”).

This remains true as long as there are drivers with more than 20 qualifying wins, so I wasn’t able to get there in Djanet this year.

It also appears that Burton, Bonnett and Biffle’s time has come as well, but they were in a mixed bag for the 2025 class.

In a crowded group with similar credentials, Ricky Rudd’s 23 victories in 906 starts earn him the nod. (Craig Jones/AllSport via Getty Images)

Leading ballot: Modi

I’ll be honest with you: When I got into the room, I was definitely leaning toward Larry Phillips enough to pre-write this section. Instead, I voted for Moody instead of Banjo Matthews and had to delete the “Why did I vote for Phillips” part that appeared here.

Phillips seems incredibly deserving of it – in a 2011 book about Phillips, Mark Martin was quoted on the cover as saying: “Larry Phillips is the only driver I would pay to watch.” In an interview posted last year on NASCAR’s social media accounts, Martin compared Phillips to Earnhardt Sr.’s replacement and noted that if today’s streaming services existed when Phillips was around, he would be a huge star.

While the number of races Phillips actually won has been lost to history, Hall of Fame special website He estimates it at 1000 and perhaps even 2000. Is this hyperbole? Probably not, because he won 220 of 289 NASCAR-sanctioned starts over an 11-year period.

But it seems that the decision was between Moody and Matthews. Many compelling cases have been made for both, and the people who make these cases are those who were around during their time.

I wasn’t covering racing at the time, so I felt the need to hear their strengths. Ultimately, it seemed as if their casting was long overdue for both – but I give the nod to Moody because he predated Matthews, and Matthews later built on what Moody started in some ways. Maybe next year, or the year after, will be Matthews’ time.

One particularly compelling statistic: Of the 12 winningest team owners in NASCAR history, all but the duo of Holman and Moody have already been inducted into the Hall. Moody, the mechanical genius behind the operation, has seen his cars win 96 times (including two Cup championships), which he ranks ninth on the all-time list.

Landmark Prize: Illness

This was a no-brainer for me, and there’s no need to say much about it. The disease has literally changed the entire sport by creating safer barriers, saving countless lives and preventing countless serious injuries.

NASCAR would be in a very different place today without the disease. Knock on wood, but I covered my first race 20 years ago and was never there for a driver death. That’s amazing in a sport as serious as NASCAR, and Sicking played a big part in that.

The award is for outstanding contributions to NASCAR. I would say sickness is the definition out there.

(Top photo of Carl Edwards celebrating his 2010 win with his patented backflip: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top