Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards Headline 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominees

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 8, 2020

Dale Earnhardt Jr., team owner and TV analyst answers questions during a news conference before the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)
Terry Renna/Associated Press

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards are among the 15 members on NASCAR's Hall of Fame class of 2021 nominee list, which the organization announced Tuesday.

The NASCAR balloting system is split into two parts: Modern and Pioneer. Those on the latter ballot are honored for their achievements if their career started 60 or more years ago (i.e., 1961 for this class).

NASCAR will induct three members into its Hall of Fame: two from the Modern ballot and one from the Pioneer ballot.

Joining Earnhardt Jr. and Edwards on the Modern ballot are Neil Bonnett, Jeff Burton, Harry Gant, Harry Hyde, Larry Phillips, Ricky Rudd, Kirk Shelmerdine and Mike Stefanik.

Jake Elder, Red Farmer, Banjo Matthews, Hershel McGriff and Ralph Moody make up the Pioneer list.

Janet Guthrie, who is the first woman ever to compete in a NASCAR Cup Series superspeedway race, headlines a list of five nominees for the Landmark Award, which NASCAR.com writes "was introduced to honor significant contributions to the growth and esteem of NASCAR."

As for Earnhardt Jr. and Edwards, both have strong cases to get in on the first ballot.

Earnhardt Jr. is a two-time Busch Series champion winner (1998 and 1999) and two-time Daytona 500 winner (2004 and 2014). He also won the Bill France Award of Excellence in 2017, named after former NASCAR CEO Bill France Jr.

Brian France, an ex-NASCAR Chairman and CEO himself and Bill's son, presented the award with the following remarks:

"This award is not given out every year. It's for the ultimate achievement and contribution in the sport they love. Sometimes it's on the track and sometimes it's off the track. Every once in a while, it's both. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the recipient tonight, and he is very deserving."

Earnhardt Jr. is also a 15-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award winner.

Known for his celebratory backflips off his car or truck following wins, Edwards won the 2007 Busch series championship and 28 races overall, including a career-high nine in 2008. He registered 220 top-10 finishes over a 13-year NASCAR Cup Series career.

Edwards also had a habit of producing back-to-back wins in the NASCAR Cup Series, doing so on six occasions.

The Missouri native was also quite consistent, finishing fifth or better in the points race six times and never lower than 15th during any of his full seasons behind the wheel.

Furthermore, Edwards also excelled in the Xfinity and Truck series, winning a combined 44 races in those events.