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Nate Ryan's ballot for the 2025 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame

Nate Ryan cast a ballot Tuesday for the NASCAR Hall of Fame as NBC Sports’ digital representative.

It’s the 15th consecutive class voted on by Ryan, who is one of 63 members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame voting panel (with an additional online vote determined by fans). There was no vote held in 2021 because the induction of the class that was selected in voting June 9, 2020, had its induction delayed until January 2022.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame induction process is on its second iteration. From 2010-20, the five highest vote-getters annually were inducted from a list of 20 to 25 nominees.

For the past four votes. the ballot has consisted of two categories: Modern Era (10 nominees) and Pioneer (five nominees). Two inductees are chosen from the Modern Era ballot and one from Pioneer (members of the voting panel each vote for two Modern Era candidates and one Pioneer candidate).

Here is Ryan’s ballot for the 15th class (followed by his ballot for each of the preceding 14 classes, which included six years while he wrote for USA TODAY Sports):


MODERN ERA

1. Jeff Burton: “The Mayor” claims two Coca-Cola 600 victories among his 21 Cup wins across 21 seasons, but his greatest contributions have been as a hugely important voice within the NASCAR industry. For the past decade, the South Boston, Virginia, native has been among the lead analysts for NBC Sports, and he also has been an important confidant and consultant for today’s stars as the director of the NASCAR Driver Advisory Council. Burton also was instrumental in helping push for safety advancements, particularly in the cockpit area.

2. Ricky Rudd: NASCAR’s ironman once held the record for consecutive starts (788), and he built a winning consistency to accompany his extraordinary toughness. The Chesapeake, Virginia, native posted at least one victory in 16 consecutive seasons from 1983-98 (including the 1997 Brickyard 400), the third-longest streak in Cup history. Rudd answered the bell while sometimes gritting through the pain, famously taping his eyelids open to race the 1984 Daytona 500 after a massive wreck in the Busch Clash. He also was among the last of the independent driver-owners.

PIONEER

Banjo Matthews: One of the greatest car builders in NASCAR history, his cars won 262 of the 362 Cup races from 1974-85, including all 30 races during the 1978 season that marked the third consecutive championship for a Matthews-built car. Known as “the Henry Ford of race cars,” he also served as a mentor to some great crew chiefs and mechanics, such as NASCAR Hall of Famer Ray Evernham.

LANDMARK AWARD

Dr. Dean Sicking: There have been no fatalities in NASCAR’s top three national series since Dale Earnhardt’s death in 2001, and that record undoubtedly is because of Sicking’s work as a co-inventor of the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barrier that became standard at all NASCAR tracks in the mid-2000s. Sicking, who worked at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility at the University of Nebraska while developing SAFER, was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President George W. Bush in 2005.


Ryan’s previous NASCAR Hall of Fame ballots

2010: Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Junior Johnson, David Pearson, Bill France Jr.
2011: Pearson, Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison, Lee Petty
2012: Waltrip, Yarborough, Dale Inman, Raymond Parks, Curtis Turner
2013: Fireball Roberts, Turner, Fred Lorenzen, Herb Thomas, Tim Flock
2014: Roberts, Turner, Lorenzen, Flock, Joe Weatherly
2015: Lorenzen, Turner, Weatherly, O. Bruton Smith, Rick Hendrick
2016: Turner, Smith, Hendrick, Ray Evernham, Bobby Isaac
2017: Hendrick, Evernham, Benny Parsons, Parks, Red Byron
2018: Evernham, Byron, Robert Yates, Alan Kulwicki, Buddy Baker
2019: Jeff Gordon, Kulwicki, Baker, Davey Allison, Jack Roush
2020: Tony Stewart, Baker, Waddell Wilson, Joe Gibbs
2022: Kirk Shelmerdine, Dale Jr. (Modern Era); Jake Elder (Pioneer).
2023: Matt Kenseth, Kirk Shelmerdine (Modern Era); Hershel McGriff (Pioneer).
2024: Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus, Banjo Matthews

LANDMARK

2015: Raymond Parks
2016: Raymond Parks
2017: Raymond Parks
2018: Ralph Seagraves
2019: Jim Hunter
2020: Ralph Seagraves
2022: Janet Guthrie
2023: Janet Guthrie
2024: Janet Guthrie