Rusty Wallace joins NASCAR Hall of Fame

May 23, 2012 at 9:50 PM
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CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 23 (UPI) -- Rusty Wallace, winner of the 1989 series championship, was among those elected Wednesday to the 2013 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Drivers Buck Baker, Cotton Owens and Herb Thomas joined Wallace as part of the fourth group of inductees. Crew chief Leonard Wood will also be put into the Hall of Fame.

For the first time in the four-year history of the selection process, there was a tie for the fifth spot. Baker was eventually chosen over Fireball Roberts in a tiebreaking vote by the members of the selection committee.

"I think it's pretty clear that this was the toughest class to date in making the choices, but it's going to be a great class," NASCAR Chairman Brian France said in announcing the five inductees.

Wallace won 55 races during his 25 years in NASCAR's top series. Baker was the first driver to win back-to-back series championships (1956-57) and is 14th on the all-time list of race winners with 46.

Owens won the 1957 Daytona Beach race that was run on both pavement and the beach and went on to win 38 races as an owner.

Thomas was the first driver with two championships, capturing the points race in both 1951 and 1953. Wood was part-owner of Wood Brothers Racing and is credited with revolutionizing pit stops.

His team began using a lightweight jack during stops instead of the heavy floor jack that was used in repair shops.

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