June 17 (UPI) -- Dale Earnhardt Jr., one of the most-popular race car drivers in the sport's history, has joined Red Farmer and Mike Stefanik as part of the 2021 class for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
NASCAR announced the honor for the trio on Tuesday.
"When the [announcement] show started, that's when it all started," Earnhardt told NBC Sports. "I didn't think I was going to be this emotional. But it's a great feeling and it was very emotional to be chosen."
The 2020 class included Bobby Labonte, Joe Gibbs, Tony Stewart, Waddell Wilson and Buddy Baker. The legendary Dale Earnhardt Sr., who was killed at age 49 in a crash at the 2001 Daytona 500, was inducted in 2010.
"Junior," who won NASCAR's Most Popular Driver award a record 15 consecutive times, began his career with back-to-back Xfinity Series titles and won 13 races in two seasons before he moved to the Cup Series. Earnhardt then won his first Cup Series race in his 12th start. He ultimately won 26 Cup Series races, with 10 wins at Daytona and Talladega. He won the Daytona 500 in 2004 and 2014.
Earnhardt, 45, became a team owner in 2006 when he founded JR Motorsports, retired from full-time racing in 2017 and is now an analyst for NBC Sports.
Stefanik, one of the best NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers, won seven championships and 74 races in 453 starts. He also had 223 Top-5 finishes, 301 Top-10 finishes and won back-to-back K&N Pro Series East titles in 1997 and 1998. He also competed in the Xfinity Series and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. He died in a plane crash last September at age 61.
Farmer, who gained notoriety in short track racing, also competed in almost every other form of racing, including the Cup Series. He is estimated to have won as many as 900 events from the 1950s through the 2000s and took three consecutive championships in NASCAR's National Late Model Sportsman division, now known as the Xfinity Series, from 1969 through 1971. Farmer was named NASCAR's Most Popular Driver four times.
Farmer later became Davey Allison's crew chief in the Busch Series. The 87-year old plans to race this weekend at the Talladega Short Track at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.
The date for the 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony has not yet been announced. Induction for the 2020 class occurred between Jan. 30 and Feb. 1.