Jeff Gordon, Roger Penske Highlight List of 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductees
Davey Allison, Alan Kulwicki, and Jack Roush round out the star-studded list.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame inducted its 10th class of legends on Feb. 1, bringing total membership to 50. The 2019 class of inductees included Jeff Gordon, Davey Allison, Alan Kulwicki, Jack Roush, and Roger Penske.
“What a special evening. I’m so honored to be here surrounded by friends, family, fans, and many people that have worked very hard behind the scenes for me over the years,” Gordon said during his acceptance speech. “Thank you to the fans who make racing the great sport that it is. You make being a race car driver a dream come true.”
Gordon was a near-unanimous choice to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility since retiring from full-time competition as a driver at the end of the 2015 season. His name appeared on all but two ballots cast by the NASCAR Hall of Fame voting committee.
Gordon is near the top of multiple NASCAR premier-series stat lists. His 93 wins in 805 races put him third on the all-time wins list behind Richard Petty and David Pearson, and his four championships in 1995, 1997, 1998, and 2001 place him fourth on the all-time title-winners list behind seven-time champs Petty, Dale Earnhardt, and Jimmie Johnson.
Gordon’s Cup career began in the final race of the 1992 season, the final full-time campaign for Allison and Kulwicki. Tragically, both of the latter died the following year, Allison in a helicopter crash at Talladega Superspeedway and Kulwicki in a plane crash near Bristol Motor Speedway. Although their careers were cut short after kicking off with part-time seasons in 1985, both drivers made the best of their short time in NASCAR’s top series.
Kulwicki died as NASCAR’s reigning champion after a close title battle that also included Allison in 1992. Kulwicki was one of the last of a breed of NASCAR drivers who owned and operated their own single-car team. He was a five-time race winner.
Allison fell short of a Cup Series title in his brief stint at the top level, but he was a frequent visitor to victory lane. With 19 wins, he was victorious in nearly 10 percent of his 191-career races.
The other two HOF spots went to prolific team owners who have experienced success in multiple forms of motorsports. Roush has claimed fame in both drag racing and NASCAR while Penske is a known IndyCar powerhouse alongside his stock car racing team.
“This Hall of Fame honor and this moment is very special to me, and I am so glad to share it with my family and friends,” Penske said. “Racing has been a part of my life almost as long as I can remember. It is a common thread that is woven throughout all of our Penske business. Racing is simply who we are.”
Both Penske and Roush have two NASCAR Cup Series championships as car owners. Penske is the defending champion, courtesy of Joey Logano’s 2018 title. Brad Keselowski gave “The Captain” his first NASCAR premier-series championship in 2012. Penske has 114 wins as a Cup Series car owner.
Roush’s two Cup titles came in consecutive years, with Matt Kenseth as the driver in 2003 and Kurt Busch in 2004. Roush is the winningest team owner in NASCAR with eight championships and 324 race wins across all three of NASCAR’s national series. He’s a 137-time winner in the Cup Series.
The late Jim Hunter and Steve Waid also were recognized during the induction ceremony, Hunter with the presentation of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR and Waid with the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.