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New NASCAR Hall class includes Bill Elliott, Wendell Scott

By Steve Almasy, CNN
updated 6:38 PM EDT, Wed May 21, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 1988 champ Bill Elliott was NASCAR's most popular driver 16 times
  • Wendell Scott is the only African-American to win a race in NASCAR's top division
  • Induction to be held January 30 in Charlotte, North Carolina

(CNN) -- NASCAR's Hall of Fame class for 2015 includes Bill Elliott, one of its most popular drivers ever, and Wendell Scott, the only African-American to win a top-level race, the auto racing sanctioning body announced Wednesday.

Three other drivers -- Fred Lorenzen, Joe Weatherly and Rex White -- will be inducted at a ceremony on January 30 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Elliott won one Winston Cup title and 44 races in his 37-year career, including two victories at the Daytona 500. Known as "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville", a reference to his Georgia hometown, Elliott won the series top circuit championship in 1988. He was voted NASCAR's most popular driver a record 16 times.

In 1963, Scott became the only African-American to win a race at NASCAR's highest level, taking a 100-mile feature at Jacksonville, Florida, on December 1. He also was the first African-American to race full time in NASCAR's premier series, called the Grand National Series at the time.

Scott made the top 10 in 30% of the races in his 13-year Grand National career. He was portrayed in the 1977 movie "Greased Lightning" by Richard Pryor. He died in 1990.

Lorenzen was considered one of the sport's first superstars and won 26 races while running a part-time schedule in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Weatherly was a two-time champion, in 1962 and in 1963, when he raced for nine different teams.

White was a short-track specialist in the early days of NASCAR. And since there were few super speedways, White finished in the top five about half the time. He won the 1960 championship and 28 races in his career (only twice at tracks longer than a mile).

Racing great Darrell Waltrip tweeted Wednesday: "I totally agree with the new members of the HoF, this is a great group and I love that Wendell Scott was selected!"

The late wife of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., Anne Bledsoe France, will be honored with a Landmark Award.

NASCAR said the 54 voters were made up of former competitors, current champion Jimmie Johnson, racing officials and media members -- and one vote from an online poll.

NASCAR sanctions multiple divisions including Sprint Cup, the Nationwide series, as well as truck racing series and regional leagues. In 2013, Darrell Wallace Jr. became the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR race since Scott, doing so with a first-place finish in the truck series.

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