The National Motorsports Press Association announced Tuesday five nominees as potential inductees into the organization’s Hall of Fame.
NMPA membership will vote on the five candidates later this year, and those receiving the most ballots will become the 2014 inductees to be honored during ceremonies next January in Charlotte, N.C.
(Disclosure: I am a member of the NMPA board of directors).
The five nominees are:
Mario Andretti: Four-time Indy car champion, 1967 Daytona 500 winner, 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner, 1978 Formula One season champion. Is the only driver to win the Indy 500, Daytona 500 and the F1 championship. Is one of only two drivers to win in F1, Indy car racing, NASCAR and the World Sports Car Championship.
Joe Gibbs: Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup championship team owner, two-time Nationwide Series championship team owner, former NHRA team owner, three-time Super Bowl champion head coach. Drivers for Joe Gibbs Racing have won a combined 188 races (106 Sprint Cup, 82 Nationwide).
Ray Evernham: Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup championship crew chief for Jeff Gordon. Brought Dodge back to NASCAR Cup and Nationwide competition as a team owner in 2001.
L.D. Ottinger: Two-time Sportsman class champion (1974, 1975). Seven consecutive top-10 season finishes in the Busch Series (predecessor to today’s Nationwide Series).
Steve Waid: Veteran motorsports writer and publisher. Began his career as a sports writer, joined the staff of Grand National Scene (which eventually became Winston Cup Scene and then NASCAR Scene) as a writer and rose to eventually became publisher. Is a former winner of the NMPA’s George Cunningham Award and a recipient of the Henry T. McLemore Award for outstanding lifetime achievement in motorsports journalism.
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.