STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Rome racing great Jerry Cook is among the 25 nominees for the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame class, announced on Wednesday.
Cook joins the nominee list along side five new nominees, including drivers Wendell Scott, Rusty Wallace, engine builder Ray Fox, sponsor executive Ralph Seagraves and NASCAR’s first tresurer and secretary Anne Bledsoe France, the wife of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and the first woman nominated for the Hall of Fame.
Cook made his name in modifieds, winning six NASCAR Modified championships, four coming consecutively from 1974-77. All the while, he was vying with another Roman in nine-time champion Richie Evans, for supremacy in NASCAR’s open-wheel realm. Evans was elected into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2012 in January.
After retiring from racing in 1982, Cook stayed with the sport and helped shape the series that is known today as the Whelen Modified Tour. Cook served as the series’ director when it began in 1985 and remains with NASCAR as competition administrator. In 1998, he was named one of NASCAR’s "50 Greatest Drivers."
Scott won the 1963 race at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Fla., for the only victory of his 495 career starts. A former taxi driver, he became the first black driver to become a full-time competitor in NASCAR.
He ranked 33rd on the list for career starts, and accumulated 20 top-five finishes and 147 top-10 finishes.
Wallace was the 1989 Cup champion, and is eighth on the career list with 55 victories.
The Hall of Fame voting panel will elect five members from the list of 25 nominees into next year’s class on May 23.
The other nominees are drivers Buck Baker, Red Byron, Tim Flock, Jack Ingram, Bobby Isaac, Fred Lorenzen, Benny Parsons, Fireball Roberts, Herb Thomas, Curtis Turner and Joe Weatherly; owners Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and Raymond Parks; driver and owner Cotton Owens; Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles; Les Richter, NASCAR executive and Riverside International Raceway president; promoter T. Wayne Robertson; and part owner and crew chief Leonard Wood.