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Editor’s note: NASCAR.com’s Zack Albert is among the 63 voting members — including the fan vote — casting ballots to elect the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023. This year marks his fourth time participating in Voting Day. Here, he shares an explanation of his three choices on his ballot, a handful of honorable mentions and the pick for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.
Class of 2023 selections
Matt Kenseth — As a former Cup Series champion and 39-time winner at NASCAR’s highest level, Kenseth receives the vote on statistics alone. But his sustained on-track brilliance for more than two decades, plus a knack for gathering crown-jewel victories give him the extra edge as a slam-dunk selection. Kenseth quietly assembled a Hall-worthy career. A vote for first-ballot inclusion resonates loud and clear.
Kirk Shelmerdine — The man behind the wrenches and making the pit-crew calls for Dale Earnhardt may have been overshadowed by the larger-than-life personality of the Intimidator. But his four Cup Series titles and bounty of victories while paired with the Man in Black speaks volumes, and his induction is well-deserved.
Hershel McGriff — The longtime West Coast driver came in second to 2021 inductee Red Farmer during the Hall’s most recent vote for the Pioneer Ballot. Amazingly, the 94-year-old only hung up his helmet four years ago. Few can say they have devoted a super-majority of their lives to one pursuit; that’s the case with McGriff and his dedication to NASCAR, which deserves acknowledgement.
Honorable mentions: Harry Hyde will get his due sooner than later as a standout crew chief who worked with a who’s who of stellar drivers; he was third in the voting among Modern Era nominees. … Neil Bonnett merits his own mention as well, not just as a founding member of the Alabama Gang and an 18-time Cup Series winner, but his contributions as a broadcaster.
Janet Guthrie — This was, by far, the toughest ballot to cast with five overwhelmingly deserving nominees, all of whom have shown unrivaled leadership in their roles. It’s rare, though, to be able to cast a vote for a true barrier-breaker, and that’s what gave the nod to Guthrie, who opened doors for women at all levels of the sport with a multitude of firsts.