Charlotte, NC — Three-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart will join the NASCAR Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2020, arguably the most interconnected group of five inductees yet to be voted into the Hall.
Joining Stewart are car owner Joe Gibbs, for whom Stewart won two of his three Cup titles; fellow series driver Bobby Labonte, who won his 2000 championship with Gibbs; crew chief and engine builder Waddell Wilson, who worked with Stewart at Ranier Racing during a limited run in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 1996; and hard-charging Buddy Baker, who got his first look at Stewart when the 49-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winner was testing his mettle at the Buck Baker Driving School.
Stewart, a three-time (2002, 2005, 2011) NASCAR premier series champion, was chosen in his first year of eligibility, garnering 88% of the balloting from the 59-member voting panel. Though his driving days in NASCAR’s top division are complete, Stewart remains active both as a team owner and recreational racer in various sprint-car tours.
The relationships between this class and others already in the Hall also are intertwined. Baker’s father, Buck Baker, was inducted as a member of the Class of 2013. Labonte joins his brother, Terry Labonte, a member of the Class of 2016.
In 1972, Wilson built the engines for the Wood Brothers — NASCAR Hall of Famers Glen and Leonard — including the power plant that propelled A.J. Foyt to his Daytona 500 victory.
Edsel Ford was named the recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR and, as a member of the board of directors of Ford Motor Company, has a longtime connection to the Wood Brothers who have fielded Ford products exclusively during their long tenure in the sport.
Stewart was followed in the vote tally by Gibbs (72%), Wilson (72%), Baker (70%) and Labonte (67%). See all Class of 2020 nominees and inductees.
When the five are officially inducted Jan. 31, 2020, it will bring the NASCAR Hall’s list of honorees to 55 members.