Hall of Fame voter Zack Albert's Class of 2025 ballot

Hall of Fame voter Zack Albert's Class of 2025 ballot

Editor‘s note:‘s Zack Albert is among the 63 voting members — plus the fan vote — casting ballots to elect the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Class of 2025. This year marks his sixth 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 2025 selections

Ricky Rudd — In his eighth year on the ballot, this one feels like a long time coming. Rudd was regarded as one of stock-car racing’s toughest competitors and set a high bar for his peers with his longevity with 906 Cup Series starts. Rudd delivered at least one Cup Series win each season in a remarkable 16-year stretch and drove for Hall of Fame team owners in Richard Childress, Bud Moore, Rick Hendrick, Robert Yates and the Wood Brothers. That list now includes himself, a nod to his six-season run as an owner/driver.

Carl Edwards — Like Rudd, Edwards earned recognition last year as one of NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers. His merits are many, but the 28 Cup Series wins ranked as the most among the Modern Era driver nominees. He also came as close to winning a premier-series championship as one could get, famously coming up short in a tiebreaker to Tony Stewart in 2011. The only question now is whether he’ll do his traditional victory celebration with a backflip off the Hall of Fame stage next February.

Banjo Matthews — The Pioneer Ballot was as crowded as ever with worthy candidates, but Matthews was the pick this year for his enduring proficiency as a car builder. Think of him as virtually the original single-source supplier because the Cup Series field was often packed with his masterfully built chassis — a benchmark in performance and safety. He also made his mark as a driver with scores of short-track wins and occasional Cup starts.

Honorable mentions: Harry Gant was the next choice on the Modern Era ballot, and his popularity and ageless record of success should be recognized in future votes. … Ralph Moody was a deserving selection from the field of five on the Pioneer list in his sixth year on the ballot, and he nearly got my vote in a toss-up. … Ray Hendrick was also a superb first-year nominee and should get his due in ballots to come.

Landmark Award

Dr. Dean Sicking — This is a perfect spot for a nominee with a lasting effect on safety, and Sicking’s invention of SAFER barrier technology has saved lives. It was a difficult choice here, with Alvin Hawkins’ pioneering efforts to launch the sport and Lesa France Kennedy’s work to advance it. But Sicking’s contributions made a major leap in a crucial area that should be duly recognized.

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