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Nate Ryan’s ballot for the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s 2021 class

Nate Ryan joins NASCAR America to explain how the voting process was different for the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Class of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nate Ryan cast a ballot June 9 for the NASCAR Hall of Fame as NBC Sports’ digital representative.

It’s the 12th consecutive year of voting for Ryan, who is one of 65 members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame voting panel (plus one online vote determined by fans).

The NASCAR Hall of Fame induction process has changed. From 2010-20, the five highest vote-getters annually were inducted from a list of 20 to 25 nominees.

This year, the ballot consisted of two categories: Modern Era (10 nominees) and Pioneer (five nominees). Two inductees were chosen from the Modern Era ballot and one from Pioneer (members of the voting panel each voted for two Modern Era candidates and one Pioneer candidate).

Ryan’s ballot for the 12th class (followed by his ballot for each of the preceding 11 years, which included six at USA TODAY Sports):


  1. Kirk Shelmerdine: Four-time champion crew chief for Dale Earnhardt (1986-87, ’90-91). As a crew chief, he guided teams to 46 Cup victories and 15 pole positions in 460 starts from 1977-92. Pursued a driving career after retiring as a crew chief, scoring three ARCA victories and finishing 20th in the 2006 Daytona 500.
  2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: A two-time Daytona 500 winner (2004, ’14) who had 26 victories and 15 pole positions in 631 Cup starts from 1999-2017 after winning consecutive Xfinity championships in ’98-99. Voted Most Popular Driver 15 times, he moved to the NASCAR on NBC broadcast team in 2018.


Jake Elder: “Suitcase Jake” earned a nickname for moving on often, but he enjoyed success with every team he joined. He was the crew chief for Mario Andretti’s victory in the 1967 Daytona 500 and won consecutive Cup championships with David Pearson in 1968-69. In 448 Cup starts as a crew chief, he had 43 victories and 36 poles.


Janet Guthrie. She finished 15th in the 1976 World 600 in her Cup debut and also was the first woman in the Daytona 500 in 1977. She became the first woman to lead a lap in Cup at Ontario Motor Speedway in October 1977.

Ryan’s 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

2021 Modern Era: Kirk Shelmderine, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Pioneer: Jake Elder.


2015: Raymond Parks

2016: Raymond Parks

2017: Raymond Parks

2018: Ralph Seagraves

2019: Jim Hunter

2020: Ralph Seagraves

2021: Janet Guthrie