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Earnhardt leads NASCAR Hall inductees

Oct. 14, 2009 at 7:28 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 14 (UPI) -- The late Dale Earnhardt was among five people inducted Wednesday to NASCAR's inaugural Hall of Fame class in Charlotte, N.C.

He was joined by NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr., who replaced his father and has been NASCAR's president for 29 years, and former drivers Junior Johnson and Richard Petty.

"These gentlemen make up an amazing class of inductees and are truly deserving of what an inaugural hall of fame class should be," Roger Curtis, president of Michigan International Speedway at Brooklyn, Mich., said in a statement released late Wednesday by NASCAR.

Earnhardt won 76 times before he was killed during the final lap at the 2001 Daytona 500.

He won the 500 in 1998 and he equals Petty with seven championships.

Johnson won 50 races before retiring in 1966.

An official induction ceremony is scheduled for May 23.

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