mcloudyn.png
Tuesday July 23rd, 2019 10:43PM

Stewart, Gibbs, Labonte elected to NASCAR Hall of Fame

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Tony Stewart and friends are heading to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The three-time Cup Series champion will be inducted alongside his former car owner Joe Gibbs and teammate Bobby Labonte. Driver Buddy Baker and mechanic Waddell Wilson rounded out the Class of 2020.

"It totally changed from watching my moment to enjoying seeing the guy who helped build my career with Joe and then following that up with Bobby," Stewart said about hearing his name called first. "It wasn't about me. It was about all of us and this whole group that was going in."

Stewart won Cup Series championships in 2002 and 2005 racing for Gibbs after Labonte won one in 2000.

"I guess this couldn't be any better for me to go in with those two guys. I'm thrilled I can ride their coattails," Gibbs said.

Fox announcer and NASCAR Hall of Fame member Jeff Gordon knew Stewart was "a lock" to get into the hall, but added that it's only fitting that Gibbs and Labonte will join him in the same class.

"One wouldn't have happened without the other," Gordon said.

Labonte said he was still pinching himself after getting in on his third year on the ballot. He said it felt like it was all meant to be this y ear after Stewart and Gibbs were selected.

"What an awesome day and what an awesome feeling," Labonte said. "It is just such an honor."

Stewart received 88 percent of the Hall of Famer selection committee's votes.

He won 49 Cup Series races during his 17-year NASCAR career, and captured a third title in 2011 after breaking away from Joe Gibbs Racing to become a co-owner. Stewart said the day he walked into Gibbs' office in 2009 and told him he was leaving to become a part owner was one of the toughest of his life.

Gibbs did not initially take the news well, upset about letting a talent like Stewart walk out the door.

Then Stewart looked at him and said, "I want to be like you, coach."

With that, Gibbs understood.

"I was upset. You don't want to lose somebody like that," Gibbs said. "... But the more we thought about it you realize the opportunity he was offered. You look at that and you have to understand what is best for him."

Said Stewart with a smile: "How can you be mad at somebody when they tell you that you want to be like them."

Stewart said Gibbs gave him the knowledge to succeed as an owner. He went on to win another championship as an owner in 2014 with Kevin Harvick at the wheel.

Even though he no longer races on the Cup Series, the 48-year-old Stewart's thirst for racing continues: The Indiana driver is scheduled to spend four days this week racing sprint cars in three states. Gordon called Stewart a "modern day A.J. Foyt" for his love of racing all different kinds of cars.

Stewart broke onto the NASCAR scene by winning three races during his rookie season. He won on every style of track — from road course to ovals — and twice captured the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in his home state.

His championship in 2011 was one for the ages: He won five of the 10 playoff races - including the season finale - to claim his third title by virtue of a tiebreaker over Carl Edwards.

He called it his most memorable moment in NASCAR.

The 78-year-old Gibbs was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996 after leading the Washington Redskins to three Super Bowl titles. Known as a master motivator, Gibbs' 157 Cup owner wins rank third in series history. They include three Daytona 500 victories and five Brickyard 400 wins.

Gibbs said he was scared to death when he first started a NASCAR team, but soon found out that owning a team was a lot like coaching football

"It's about people and getting the right people together," Gibbs said. "And if you can do that you're going to be successful."

Labonte joins brother Terry Labonte in the Hall of Fame. He got his first break as a full-time Cup Series driver at 28 in 1993 and went on to win 21 races, including the 2000 title. He is also one of 27 drivers to win a race in all three of NASCAR's national series.

Baker, one of the most intimidating looking drivers ever at 6-foot-6, was known as the "gentle giant." He won 19 Cup races, including the Daytona 500 in 1980 with an average race speed of 177.602 mph — a track record that still stands. Baker also was the first driver to eclipse the 200-mph mark on a closed course while testing at Talladega Superspeedway.

Wilson's engines helped some of the greatest drivers in history. He helped NASCAR Hall of Famers David Pearson, Edward "Fireball" Roberts, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip pile up 109 wins and 123 poles among them.

Edsel Ford was selected as the Landmark Award winner for his contribution to NASCAR.

___

More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Online Auto Racing, AP Entertainment, APOnline Celebrity News, NASCAR, NASCAR Sprint Cup
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge refuses to block Trump bank subpoenas
A federal judge in New York is refusing to block congressional subpoenas seeking financial records from two banks that did business with President Donald Trump
5:48PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Michael Avenatti charged with defrauding Stormy Daniels
Attorney Michael Avenatti has been charged with ripping off porn star Stormy Daniels, the client who made him famous
5:44PM ( 22 minutes ago )
California sees more late-spring wintry weather
Memorial Day may be the unofficial start of summer, but California is heading toward the holiday with rainy, windy and snowy weather
5:34PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Long-running Colonial back on solid footing with new sponsor
Colonial Country Club is the longest-running host of a PGA Tour event played on its original site, a fact that seemed in jeopardy not too long ago
5:01PM ( 1 hour ago )
NASCAR strikes $2B deal with ISC, will gain a dozen tracks
NASCAR announces $2 billion merger agreement with International Speedway Corp.
4:22PM ( 1 hour ago )
NFL committee to decide whether to tweak interference rule
NFL owners have given the competition committee the go-ahead to decide whether to refine the new rule allowing replay challenges involving pass interference
4:06PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
AP Top 25 Podcast: Fitzgerald on transfers, Wildcats new QB
Coming off a surprising appearance in the Big Ten title game, Northwestern and coach Pat Fitzgerald replace a four-year starting quarterback with former five-star recruit this season
12:15PM ( 5 hours ago )
Buffalo Bills have player wearing OJ Simpson's former No. 32
For the first time in 42 years, the Bills have a player wearing O.J. Simpson's former No. 32
1:17AM ( 16 hours ago )
First accuser testifies at ex-NFL player's rape trial
Woman testifies about being too scared to defend herself at rape trial of NFL player Kellen Winslow Jr.; defense questions credibility after inconsistent statements
8:20PM ( 21 hours ago )
AP Online Football
NASCAR to buy Intl. Speedway, owner of Daytona, Talladega
NASCAR is buying International Speedway in a deal worth about $2 billion
9:50AM ( 8 hours ago )
Focus moves off Alonso and onto the stacked Indy 500 field
Attention shifts to grid of 33 after soap opera surrounding McLaren's failed bid to qualify for the Indy 500
1:20PM ( 1 day ago )
F1 great and aviation entrepreneur Niki Lauda dies at 70
Three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda, who won two of his titles after a horrific crash that left him with serious burns and went on to become a prominent figure in the aviation industry, has died. He was 70
3:03AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Auto Racing
District attorney says Meek Mill should get new trial, judge
Philadelphia's District Attorney's office wants a new trial with a new judge for rapper Meek Mill
3:35PM ( 2 hours ago )
US, China appear to brace for long haul in trade dispute
War movies, farm aid and the Long March: US, China appear to brace for prolonged trade conflict
3:32PM ( 2 hours ago )
MTV star's girlfriend gets new lawyer in Las Vegas case
"Jersey Shore" star Ronnie Ortiz-Magro's on-again-off-again girlfriend got a new lawyer for her defense on a misdemeanor allegation that she attacked Ortiz-Magro at a Las Vegas club on New Year's Eve
3:07PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Anita Hill, Bon Woodward honored at annual PEN American gala
Anita Hill, Bob Woodward and three Saudi Arabian dissidents were among those honored at the annual gala hosted by PEN America, the literary and human rights organization
2:19AM ( 15 hours ago )
Phelps honored for honesty on mental health, helping others
Michael Phelps to be honored for sharing story of depression, helping to de-stigmatize mental health issues
12:03AM ( 18 hours ago )
With Brad and Leo, Tarantino debuts a fairy tale in Cannes
Twenty-five years after premiering 'Pulp Fiction' in Cannes, Quentin Tarantino debuted 'Once Upon a Time in ... Hollywood,' with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, at the French film festival
8:57PM ( 21 hours ago )
APOnline Celebrity News
Larson takes first NASCAR All-Star victory with Harvick push
Kyle Larson got a big push and a big win in the NASCAR All-Star Race
10:58AM ( 3 days ago )
McLaren misses entire day of Indy 500 practice fixing car
Felix Rosenqvist returns to Indianapolis 500 practice in backup car; Alonso waits
6:08PM ( 5 days ago )
Alex Bowman on run of 2nd-place finishes in Cup Series
Alex Bowman quite literally had his first NASCAR Cup Series victory in his sights, ticking off the laps in his No. 88 Chevrolet, only to finish second yet again
4:23PM ( 1 week ago )
NASCAR
Judge refuses to block Trump bank subpoenas
A federal judge in New York is refusing to block congressional subpoenas seeking financial records from two banks that did business with President Donald Trump
5:48PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Michael Avenatti charged with defrauding Stormy Daniels
Attorney Michael Avenatti has been charged with ripping off porn star Stormy Daniels, the client who made him famous
5:44PM ( 22 minutes ago )
California sees more late-spring wintry weather
Memorial Day may be the unofficial start of summer, but California is heading toward the holiday with rainy, windy and snowy weather
5:34PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Rivers rising in waterlogged central US; more rain to come
Waterlogged parts of the central U.S. are bracing for more rain, following days of severe storms that have battered Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma and caused at least three deaths
5:30PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Sea dragons captivate visitors at California aquarium
A California aquarium hopes its new sea dragon exhibit will lead to the lesser-known cousin of the seahorse being bred in captivity for the first time.
5:28PM ( 38 minutes ago )