Newest edition of Hall of Fame mainstay to display every generation of NASCAR rides
Six generations of stock cars representing 60-plus years of NASCAR will be rolled out in early January as the featured exhibit takes center stage on the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Glory Road.
The banked ramp that dominates the main room of the Hall showcases 18 cars and simulates the banking of 40 current and historic tracks.
Since the Hall's opening in 2010, the Glory Road exhibit has featured the sport's most iconic cars and drivers -- from Red Byron's championship winning 1939 Ford Coupe to Jimmie Johnson's 2008 title winning Chevrolet.
WHAT: NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2014
WHERE: Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center
WHO VOTES: 21 members of Nominating Committee and 33 members of Voting Panel. In addition, one vote is generated by fan input.
WHO WAS CHOSEN: Tim Flock, Jack Ingram, Dale Jarrett, Maurice Petty and Fireball Roberts
WHEN THE 2014 INDUCTEES WILL BE INDUCTED: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 (Live television coverage provided by FOX Sports 1)
The focus for the new exhibit -- being called "Glory Road 2.0," said Winston Kelley, executive director of the Hall of Fame, will be on the different generations of the cars that have competed in NASCAR's top series through the years.
"This one will have a similar feel (to the current exhibit), but it will tell the story of the history of the sport through the different generations of race cars," he said. "There will be generation one, two, three, four, five and six, so it will have a similar feel, but totally different cars."
Panels will contain information describing how each generation of stock car evolved.
"What does Gen-2 mean?" Kelley asked. "What were the cars? That's the framework for the exhibit."
According to the sanctioning body, the six generations are determined by the development and design of the cars.
The longest, Generation 1, encompassed the 1948-'66 seasons. Others include Gen 2 ('67-'80); Gen 3 ('81-'91); Gen 4 ('92-2006); Gen 5 ('07-'12) and Gen 6, which debuted this year.
How do they differ? Gen 2 cars were the first to use a modified frame underneath the body rather than the stock frame that came with the vehicle. Gen 3 cars were the first to feature a 110-inch wheelbase as the Cup Series began competing with downsized entries. Gen 5 was what is commonly known as the Car of Tomorrow.
Hall of Fame officials began the selection process by assembling nearly 50 potential candidates from which to choose, Kelley said.
"Then you look at, OK, how many from each generation do you want, what are some of the more iconic cars and how do we represent as many of the Hall of Fame members as we can?"
It is not limited to cars driven by Hall of Famers, just as the current Glory Road exhibit includes drivers that are currently active, as well as vehicles that competed in other series.
"There are no hall of famers in Gen 6 (cars), there's none in Gen 5; there might be in 4," Kelley said. "You're looking at iconic cars and drivers, you don't want to say future Hall of Famers, but you lean toward that and you lean toward what the fans want to see."
Thus far, only one car that will be included in the exhibit has been unveiled -- the 1957 "Black Widow" Chevrolet owned and driven by Hall of Fame member Buck Baker.
Baker won 10 races and six poles in 40 starts with the car that season en route to becoming the first driver to capture back-to-back NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) titles.
"Bud Moore was crew chief on the car when they won the championship in '57," Buddy Baker, Buck's son, said. "And it was the first championship for Chevrolet.
"'I've got pictures of that car when it was racing and I know how special it was to my father. He became the first back-to-back champion in NASCAR with that car. That was a pretty special deal, something nobody had done before.
"That car -- holy cow. Back then they raced those things on dirt, on asphalt; anywhere there was a race they raced them. It was a pretty special time."
Other cars in the display will be announced in the coming weeks. The exhibit will officially open Jan. 11.
Kelley said he and Hall of Fame member Darrell Waltrip were standing on the second floor overlooking the display that would honor the 2012 Hall of Fame class when Waltrip paid the ultimate compliment to the current Glory Road exhibit.
He said, 'Bub, that one's going to be hard to replace. It's going to be hard to match that,' " Kelley said.
"Part of our objective has been, we want Darrell to stand up there and say 'you've equaled it.' … We've used his comment as a benchmark … we weren't standing there talking about Glory Road, we were there to talk about his (inductee) exhibit and for him to stand back and comment on how good that first exhibit was and how high we set the bar, that (comment) set the bar for us.
"As you see (the cars) come out, I honestly believe we can stand up there and say, when it opens in January, 'yep, that's as good as the first one.' I don't know that I can say it's better … but it will be as good.
"There will be some of the same people, some different, but everybody that's the same, it will be a different representation of them, a different car.
"I can honestly say it's been a real enjoyable process."
Glory Road 2.0 announcement dates
Nov. 5: Generation 4 Dec. 3: Generation 2
Nov. 12: Generation 5 Dec. 10: Generation 4
Nov. 17: Generation 2 Dec. 17: Generation 1
Nov. 29: Generation 4 Dec. 26: Generation 1