Editor’s note: NASCAR.com’s Zack Albert is among the 57 voting members — including the fan vote — casting ballots to elect the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024. This year marks his fifth time participating in Voting Day. Here, he shares an explanation of his three choices on his ballot, a handful of honorable mentions and his pick for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.
Class of 2024 selections
Jimmie Johnson — The choices don’t come much easier than this one when a seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion appears on the list of nominees. Johnson’s accomplishments are myriad, and his run of five consecutive premier-series titles stands as a record that seems safe to classify as unbreakable. Wearing the Hall of Fame’s blue jacket is an inevitability, and the first-ballot nod is more than deserving.
Chad Knaus — Speaking of seven-time champions, Knaus’ nearly mirror-image accolades as a championship-winning crew chief seven times over deserve the other Modern Era Ballot vote. It feels fitting that the Hall of Fame would usher in Johnson and Knaus as inductees together, but this vote isn’t made to satisfy storybook smarm. Knaus’ merits easily stand on their own.
Sam Ard — This feels overdue, even with Ard in just his third year on the ballot. Maybe it’s because Jack Ingram, who ranked alongside him as one of the most hard-nosed stars of his era in what’s now known as the Xfinity Series, was a Class of 2014 honoree. Ard’s two championships that came after the tour reached national-series status were just part of his sweeping success in the Late Model Sportsman days.
Honorable mentions: Harry Hyde’s brilliance as a crew chief spanning from the 1960s into the heart of NASCAR’s modern era will likely get its due in future ballots. … Banjo Matthews’ influence as a pioneering racer who became an omnipresent and masterful car builder remains a Hall of Fame standout worthy of consideration. … The Alabama Gang can now claim four Hall of Famers in Bobby, Donnie and Davey Allison, plus Red Farmer. Someday, Neil Bonnett will become the fifth.
Janet Guthrie — In an extremely worthy field of nominees, Guthrie has this vote for a second consecutive year as a true stock-car racing pioneer. Sure, women competed at NASCAR’s highest level in the sport’s barnstorming early years, but none in the modern era did so with as much professionalism and impact as Guthrie.
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