Four new names added to NASCAR Hall of Fame ballot for Class of 2023

Editor’s note: This story was originally published on April 4. Voting for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2023 will be held May 4 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame unveiled the ballot for its Class of 2023 on Monday, April 4, adding four new names to form the list of 15 nominees.

Matt Kenseth, the 2003 Cup Series champion and a 39-time winner in NASCAR’s top division, joined the list in his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility. He joins legendary crew chief Tim Brewer, a two-time Cup Series champion, as a newcomer to the Modern Era Ballot.

Two more legends were added to the Pioneer Ballot — Sam Ard, an early star and champion in what is now called the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and A.J. Foyt, the 1972 Daytona 500 winner and a transcendent figure in the world of motorsports.

VOTE NOW: Modern Era Ballot | Pioneer Ballot

The quartet of new nominees helps to fill the void left by the induction of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Red Farmer and Mike Stefanik earlier this year. Ard was previously on the ballot in 2020; he was briefly omitted when voting procedures changed from five to three annual inductees, and the list of nominees was trimmed before the Class of 2021 vote. Crew chief Jake Elder, a first-time nominee in 2021, dropped from the list this year.

The Hall of Fame also revealed the list of five nominees for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR, adding Lesa France Kennedy — NASCAR’s Executive Vice Chair — to the ballot. Janet Guthrie, Alvin Hawkins, Mike Helton and Dr. Joseph Mattioli remain on the Landmark Award list for this year; longtime R.J. Reynolds executive and stock-car promoter Ralph Seagraves is the most recent recipient.

Voting for the Class of 2023 is scheduled for May 4. Two inductees will be chosen from the Modern Era Ballot, which includes (alphabetically): Neil Bonnett, Brewer, Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards, Harry Gant, Harry Hyde, Kenseth, Larry Phillips, Ricky Rudd and Kirk Shelmerdine. One will be elected from the five names on the Pioneer Ballot: Ard, Foyt, Banjo Matthews, Hershel McGriff and Ralph Moody.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame canceled balloting and induction ceremonies last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic; Earnhardt, Farmer and Stefanik were officially inducted in January as the Class of 2021.

RELATED: See the nominees for the Class of 2023

Kenseth, 50, won Rookie of the Year honors in 2000 then three years later, he claimed the Cup Series championship in the last season before NASCAR’s playoff era. In 18 full-time seasons at the Cup level, he won the Daytona 500 two times and added one victory in each the Southern 500 and the Coca-Cola 600.

Brewer, 67, amassed 53 wins and 55 pole positions during a 31-year career as a Cup Series crew chief. That successful stretch included a pair of Cup championships with Junior Johnson’s racing operation — the first with driver Cale Yarborough in 1978, and the second with Darrell Waltrip in 1981. He was later an analyst for ESPN racing broadcasts.

Ard, who died in 2017 at age 78, earned recognition as a stalwart in Late Model Sportsman and Busch Series competition, which later became the modern-day Xfinity Series. The circuit gained national-series status in 1982, and Ard secured back-to-back titles in ’83 and ’84 before a hard crash late in his last championship season abbreviated his career.

The 87-year-old Foyt made his mark in IndyCar racing, where he won the Indianapolis 500 a record four times, but his contributions to NASCAR and motorsports in general transcend any single racing discipline. Foyt, named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998, won seven times in the Cup Series, including a dominant victory in the 1972 Daytona 500 driving the Wood Brothers’ famed No. 21.

Kennedy’s influence has been felt as one of the most powerful executives in the sports world. She was the force behind major renovation projects at Daytona International Speedway and Richmond Raceway, and she helped to found Kansas Speedway in her executive role with International Speedway Corporation. Kennedy, daughter of Bill France Jr. and Betty Jane France, has also served as secretary, treasurer, executive vice president and CEO at ISC, which merged with NASCAR in 2019.

A panel of 62 voting members will meet to cast ballots for the 2023 Hall of Fame class, with one ballot to be added through fan voting on The reigning Cup Series champion has participated as part of the Voting Day panel each year since 2014. Because 2022 voting and induction procedures were canceled, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott — the last two Cup Series champions — will both participate in this year’s Hall of Fame balloting.