Tha Sports Junkies 101

NASCAR Hall of Fame 2018 Class Takes Questions From Media

Photo by Jayson Cassidy via Flickr


Induction Ceremony Day for the NASCAR Hall of Fame 2018 Class is just over a week away. In preparation for this event, 3 of the 5 members were made available to the media to answer questions. The soon-to-be Hall of Fame Inductees interviewed were Ken Squier, Ron Hornaday, and Ray Evernham.

Ken Squier

As a racing announcer for well over 40 years, Ken Squier has seen the rise of NASCAR in the mainstream American culture. He was a key part of the first live flag-to-flag NASCAR TV broadcast, the 1979 Daytona 500. “It was a matter of introducing people in Manhattan into American stock car racing. At the time it was still a localized southern sport,” said Squier.

Squier was also a great friend to Dale Earnhardt Sr. He was on hand for his sole Daytona 500 win 20 years ago. “Just how emotional he could be, he couldn’t hide that. All he thought about was winning the 500. To him, that was the top of the mountain. It was an accomplishment that I don’t think anyone could understand,” said Squier.

Squier’s Thoughts on NASCAR Now

Lastly, Squier gave his opinion on how radically different NASCAR is today from his time in the broadcast booth. “I guess what’s most impressive is the competition, and it’s because of Mike Helton. He was determined to keep NASCAR on the right track for future success. The fruit has borne out very close and safe competition today. As you watch races today, especially stage racing, which I wasn’t on board with at first, it’s added incredible intensity for every lap of every race. It’s a whole different world today than it was when I was experiencing it. I’ve got to think that as time goes on, it (stage racing) will help NASCAR because it will help identify NASCAR as what it is, racing.”

Being the respected racing analyst he is, Squier also gave his opinions on some of the other 2018 Class members. “He’s one of those people who grew up in NASCAR and came up through every level of NASCAR, he found ways and is a guy of principle. He continued to develop his racing ability and knowledge in managing parts and people. Whatever he did and wherever he went he really dedicated himself to superior performance. Getting with Jeff Gordon was the perfect combination for him,” said Squier when asked about Ray Evernham.

Ron Hornaday

The all-time winningest competitor in the NASCAR Truck Series, Ron Hornaday Jr. will soon also be known as Hall of Famer. Hornaday will be the first driver from the Truck Series to be inducted into the Hall. “I hope I can represent the Truck Series well, they’ve done a lot for my family and my career, and I owe my thanks to the France family and Dale Earnhardt,” said Hornaday.

While a very accomplished racer in his own right, Hornaday has given back to the sport by mentoring younger drivers, most notably Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick. When I first met Jimmie Johnson at a Chevrolet event, I told him to not rent a place in NC, and he stayed on the couch for a few months or a year.” Hornaday’s tutelage has continued to this day, as he has helped teach Daniel Suarez.

Ray Evernham

Hailed as one of the greatest crew chiefs in history, Ray Evernham will be the 3rd crew chief inducted into the Hall. Evernham is most notably known as the man behind Jeff Gordon’s 3 championships and many wins in the 1990s. “I actually started with the 24 team, I think the day after Jeff and I won the Charlotte race with Bill Davis’ car, I went to start at Hendrick in June of 1992. It was special all along. I knew Jeff was special, I knew HMS was special, and I knew we were gonna be good.”

Credited with creating faster pit stops, Evernham said “I think I was responsible for bringing the pit stop to a new level. It really started with the Wood Brothers. I was credited with bringing in professional athletes and training them to perfection. I think we were the first to dedicate as much to pit crews.”

With a racing career as successful and lengthy as Evernham’s, one moment usually does not stand out in memories. For Evernham, his career’s high point was winning the Winston Million at Darlington in 1997. “That was a victory where I can look back and say that we won because we had a great day as a team. Jeff, the crew, myself all executed perfectly and won a million bucks.”

Ownership Career for Evernham

After the 1999 season, Evernham left Hendrick Motorsports to own his own team, with factory support from Dodge. “It wasn’t a no-brainer. It was a really interesting opportunity that I struggler with. Hendrick was a home to me. It was a tough decision about where I wanted to go.”

However, Evernham stated that he had more fun as a crew chief rather than as a car owner. “I love working on the floor, getting to know the guys and work with them. That’s why I think I enjoyed crew chiefing more than car ownership. We just got too big too fast, I like to be in the middle of the fight with my guys. There’s a big difference in coaching and managing. I don’t like managing, but I do enjoy coaching others, as a team, helping others. It’s more personal and specified than managing like a corporation. Teams now are so big that my brand of coaching is obsolete.”

Other Members of the 2018 Class

In addition to Squier, Hornaday, and Evernham, the 2018 Class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame will include 2 more historical figures. Red Byron is the inaugural champion of what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Also, legendary engine builder and team owner Robert Yates will grace the Hall.

Induction Day Schedule

Induction Ceremony Day for the 2018 Class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame will be next Friday, January 19, at 8:30 PM EST. Tickets are on sale now for those who wish to attend. The event will be broadcast live on NBCSN, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.