By STEVE REED
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Drivers Matt Kenseth and Hershel McGriff and crew chief Kirk Shelmerdine have been selected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Mike Helton was named the Landmark Award winner for outstanding contributions to the sport Wednesday during a ceremony at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. They will officially be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Jan. 20.
Kenseth was a first-ballot selection, Shelmerdine was voted in on his third try and McGriff his seventh. Kenseth and Shelmerdine were voted in on the modern day ballot, while McGriff made it in on the pioneer ballot.
The 50-year-old Kenseth drove 18 full seasons on the NASCAR circuit before retiring in 2020 with 39 Cup victories and 20 poles. His 39 wins are tied for 21st all-time.
Kenseth reached almost every major milestone in NASCAR.
He won the Daytona 500 twice, the Coca-Cola 600 and the All-Star race. He also captured the 2003 Cup Series championship capping a dominating season in which he led the points standings for the final 32 weeks of the season. He made the NASCAR playoffs in 13 of 14 seasons and finished runner-up twice.
Kenseth made an impact from the beginning, winning Cup Series rookie of the year in 2000. He also won 29 Xfinity Series races, which ranks eighth-most all time.
The 94-year-old McGriff won this first race at the 1950 Southern 500, in the NASCAR Cup Series’ second season at the age of 22. His final NASCAR race was at Tucson Speedway in the Pro Series West in 2018 — at the age of 90.
McGriff started 85 races in parts of 28 NASCAR Cup Series seasons, capturing four wins – all of those coming in 1954
He was one of the best drivers in what is now known as the ARCA Menards Series West. Competing in parts of 35 seasons, McGriff won 37 races, good for third on the all-time West Series wins list. His signature year came in 1986 when he won the series title, part of a string of 10 consecutive seasons with finishes in the top 10 of championship points.
McGriff beat out the 87-year-old A.J. Foyt, who made 128 Cup Series starts over 30 years, winning seven races and finishing in the top 10 36 times.
The 64-year-old Shelmerdine worked as a crew chief from 1977-92 and won 46 races with 15 poles and helped Dale Earnhardt captured four Cup Series championships (1986, ’87, ’90, ’91). Over his 16-year crew chief career with Earnhardt, Ricky Rudd, James Hylton and Richard Childress, he won 46 races and posted top-10 finishes in more than half his starts.
Helton was the first person outside of the France family to be named NASCAR president.
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