SAXTON: Auto Racing — Rudd, Edwards, Moody heading to NASCAR HOF (2024)

NASCAR has announced that Ricky Rudd, Carl Edwards and Ralph Moody have been selected as members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2025.

Rudd was under consideration for a number of years going back to the days when I was on the Voting Panel.

In addition, Dr. Dean Sicking was named the recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.

The members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel met in an in-person closed session at the Charlotte Convention Center to debate and vote upon the 15 nominees for the induction class of 2025 and the five nominees for the Landmark Award.

Ten nominees appeared on the Modern Era ballot, which was selected by the traditional Nominating Committee. The same committee selected the five Landmark Award nominees. The Pioneer ballot, which included five nominees whose careers began in 1965 or earlier, was selected by the Honors Committee. Beginning with the Class of 2021, each Hall of Fame class features two inductees from the Modern Era ballot and one from the Pioneer ballot.

The Class of 2025 was determined by votes cast by the Voting Panel, including representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from major facilities and historic short tracks, media members, manufacturer representatives, competitors (drivers, owners, crew chiefs), recognized industry leaders, a nationwide fan vote conducted through and the last two NASCAR Cup Series champions (Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson). In all, 62 votes were cast, with two additional Voting Panel members recused from voting as potential nominees for induction (Jeff Burton and Ricky Rudd). The accounting firm of EY presided over the tabulation of the votes.

Rudd received 87 percent of the Modern Era ballot votes, Edwards received 52 percent. Harry Gant finished third, followed by Jeff Burton and Harry Hyde. Ralph Moody received 60 percent of the Pioneer ballot votes. Ray Hendrick finished second.

Results for the Fan Vote were: Ray Hendrick (Pioneer); Carl Edwards and Harry Gant (Modern Era).

The two inductees came from a group of 10 nominees that included: Greg Biffle, Neil Bonnett, Tim Brewer, Jeff Burton, Randy Dorton, Carl Edwards, Harry Gant, Harry Hyde, Ricky Rudd and Jack Sprague.

Nominees for the Pioneer Ballot included, Ray Hendrick, Banjo Matthews, Ralph Moody, Larry Phillips, Bob Welborn.

Nominees for the Landmark Award included Alvin Hawkins, Lesa France Kennedy, Dr. Joseph Mattioli, Les Richter, Dr. Dean Sicking.

The Class of 2025 Induction Ceremony is set for Feb. 7, 2025, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Convention Center. Tickets for the Induction Ceremony will be available later this month on

Quite frankly I think more should be inducted or there will be many deserving of the honor that will never make it. And I feel strongly that the drivers should be in their own category.

Pocono named best track

Pocono Raceway has earned the esteemed title of “Best NASCAR Track” in the recently released 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards by USA TODAY.

The “Tricky Triangle” was nominated by an expert panel at USA TODAY in the “Best NASCAR Track” category and the fans voted over a four-week period throughout April to determine the winner.

Pocono Raceway earned the top spot and was followed by the Chicago street race, Sonoma Raceway, Michigan Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway, respectively, to round out the top five tracks.

Pocono Raceway, which has hosted NASCAR events since 1974, enjoyed a highly successful race weekend last season that earned the track the “2023 Event of the Year” by the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association. “The Tricky Triangle” sold out its main frontstretch grandstand and all premium seating and suites at the NASCAR Cup Series race for its largest race-day crowd since 2010. The raceway also sold out all of its infield camping inventory.

Pocono Raceway is preparing for NASCAR’s return this season with a July 12-14 weekend featuring all three national series. The weekend opens with the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series CRC Brakleen 175 on Friday, July 12, at 5:30 p.m. ET and followed by the Explore the Pocono Mountains 225 on Saturday, July 13, at 3 p.m. The race weekend culminates Sunday, July 14, with the Cup Series Pocono 400 at 2:30 p.m.

For more ticket information and news, please visit

New sprint car event

A new event for the HJ Towing & Recovery 358 sprint cars at Williams Grove Speedway is nearing as the first Dirty Deeds 25 of the season is slated for Friday night, May 31.

The Dirty Deeds 25 will pay $2,500 to the winner out of a purse worth nearly $12,000 for the limited sprints.

Action, including Diamond Series racing for the 410 sprint cars, gets underway at 7:30 pm.

A second version of the race will take place later this season at Williams Grove, on August 30.

Thanks to Bill Devine and Devine Motorsports, Hard Charger and Hard Luck Awards will be handed out after the Dirty Deeds main event, worth $250 each.

Heats will be lined up via regular handicapping with the feature lineup set using straight-up finishes from the heats.

Dirty Deeds Repair and Fabrication LLC., of Honey Brook is the title sponsor of the Dirty Deeds 25.

Winners so far this season in the 358 sprint division at Williams Grove have been Dylan Norris, Doug Hammaker and Andy Best.

Hammaker is the current 358 sprint point leader at the track.

Record audience for Miami Grand Prix

The recent Miami Grand Prix set a new Formula One viewership record for its live U.S. television audience.

ESPN reported that an average of 3.1 million viewers tuned in for ABC’s broadcast, with a peak of 3.6 million. The previous record average viewership was 2.6 million viewers (and peaked at 2.9 million), which was set during the inaugural Miami GP in 2022. The television ratings then dipped for last year’s race, coming in at 1.96 million.

That’s a 48 percent increase in viewership from 2023 to this year, and a nearly 20 percent jump over the 2022 numbers.

It’s also a rare teme time that F1 has beaten NASCAR in ratings. The Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway was set to start at 3 p.m. on Sunday while the Miami GP was slated for a 4 p.m. start. But the AdventHealth 400 was rain-delayed for three hours. Kyle Larson ended up winning the race in the series’ closest-ever finish — a ​​0.001-second gap to Chris Buescher. NASCAR ended up having 2.296 million people watching via FS1, down two percent over last year, according to Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern.

Note: The U.S. GP is held on a Sunday in October, so it competes with NFL viewership in the U.S.

The grand prix live viewership wasn’t the only record set by the U.S. audience this weekend. Saturday’s sprint race, which aired on ESPN, averaged 946,000 viewers — a new high since the format was introduced in 2021. The previous record was held by the 2023 Azerbaijan sprint race, which averaged 883,000 viewers.

The surge in F1 viewership was presumably connected to Lando Norris’ 7.6-second win over Max Verstappen, marking the Briton’s first F1 victory ever. (F1 also may have benefited from another sport – ABC aired Game 7 between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers before the grand prix.)

At the end of Lap 1, Norris was sixth, but he “knew we had good pace, and I knew was in it for the long game.” The McLaren driver kept his head down and pushed, Verstappen staying within his sight.

“I could still see Max. And when you can see Max, there’s hope,” Norris said. “And it’s not often that you can see Max on track. So I knew the whole time, even when I was back in sixth, that there could be opportunities, whether there was one Safety Car or something went my way.”

And the safety car period did go his way, allowing him to pit and have fresher tires. The gap slowly got bigger between Norris and Verstappen as the laps dwindled, and the Briton continued pushing. He said, “I wanted to go for a fastest lap on the last lap. But I was imagining Andrea (Stella, McLaren’s team principal) on the pit wall, like, ‘No, Lando, please’. So, yeah, he was talking to me, but I just thought then just to take it home and take it easy. But until then, you know, I wanted to pull away, and I didn’t want Max in the picture when I was over the line, and I don’t think he was. So that was job done.”

Norris’s victory came at a critical moment for the sport. While TV viewership is nearly double what it was in 2018 (before the debut of Netflix’s “Drive to Survive”), it dipped 9.1 percent last year compared to 2022. That’s not surprising, considering how one-sided the racing has been of late. Before Miami, Verstappen won 23 of the last 27 races (Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez winning two each). It was expected that the Dutchman would cruise to another win in Miami.

As George Russell said of Norris’s win, “He’s deserving of a race victory probably many, many years ago. And I think for all the drivers in Formula One in this era of dominance from one team and one driver, it’s always great to see somebody get that chance to score a victory.”

The TV viewers appear to agree.

Ernie Saxton is an auto racing contributor for MediaNews Group. He co-founded the Eastern Motorsports Press Association, served as public relations director for Grandview Speedway for 47 years, and is in multiple halls of fame for his promotion and journalism related to the sport. He has announced races at more than 100 tracks, and he is the only person to have announced a race at Madison Square Garden. Email him at

SAXTON: Auto Racing — Rudd, Edwards, Moody heading to NASCAR HOF (2024)


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