The NASCAR Hall of Fame's class of 2016 was revealed on Wednesday, as five members will be inducted during the Jan. 22 ceremony in Charlotte.
NASCAR Hall of Fame revealed the inductees on Twitter:
A news release from NASCAR's official website provided further details on the soon-to-be Hall of Famers who emerged from a final nominee pool of 20.
Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO Bruton Smith was the top choice among the five inductees, receiving a 68 percent approval rating from the 57 on the voting panel who cast votes. Smith, 88, has been a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame since 2007.
Nate Ryan of NBC Sports observed the stark contrast between the panel's perception of Smith from last year to now:
Terry Labonte had 61 percent of the panel vote in his favor. The two-time NASCAR driving champion was a three-time runner-up in the Daytona 500 and has 22 career Sprint Cup victories on his resume.
Having just retired from competitive racing in October 2014, Labonte's wait to get into the Hall of Fame was short-lived. Bobby Labonte was quite excited by Wednesday's news:
With 60 percent of the voters' confidence, Curtis Turner found his way into exclusive company. Known for his outlandish personality and racing prowess, Turner, whom NASCAR dubbed the "Babe Ruth of stock car racing," is a deserving inductee.
NASCAR Stats passed along a fun fact about one of Turner's impressive records:
Jerry Cook and Bobby Isaac had 47 and 44 percent of votes respectively to round out the Hall of Fame class of 2016. NASCAR's official Twitter account passed along a couple of notable anecdotes about the two prolific drivers:
Fan voting was one factor in the panel's judgment, and one recent driver who finished in the top five of that poll was Mark Martin. It figures to only be a matter of time before Martin is a Hall of Famer.
Others who are bound for induction soon include Red Byron, Benny Parsons and Rick Hendrick. That trio was just outside the top-five cutoff for the 2016 class. Byron was NASCAR's first modified champion, while Parsons made his name as a driver and later as a prominent media member.
With all the success Hendrick Motorsports is having in the modern era, its owner is bound for a Hall of Fame coronation soon enough as well.