Illinois Native Fred Lorenzen Announced as Class of 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee
Joliet, Ill. – May 21, 2014 – Five new members were inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Wednesday, including Elmhurst, Ill. native, Fred Lorenzen, a driver credited with driving interest in the sport outside of its Southern roots.
Lorenzen, also a nominee in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014, was one of five inductees elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel on May 21. Rounding out the class of 2015, the sixth in NASCAR Hall of Fame history, were Bill Elliott, Wendell Scott, Joe Weatherly and Rex White. In addition, NASCAR announced that Anne B. France won the inaugural Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.
Earning the nicknames “Fearless Freddie” and “Golden Boy,” Lorenzen recorded 26 wins in his NASCAR career and remains the only NASCAR driver to win 20 races in their first 100 starts. The Elmhurst, Ill. native became the first driver to earn more than $100,000 in winnings in a single season, claiming $113,570 driving for the legendary Holman-Moody team in 1963. Lorenzen’s best overall season came in 1963 as he finished with six wins, 21 top fives and 23 top 10s in 29 starts. In 1965, he won two of NASCAR’s major events – the Daytona 500 and the World 600. Lorenzen is a member of more than one motorsports hall of fame including the National Motorsports Press Association’s Hall of Fame, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
Class of 2015 Inductees:
In a 37-year driving career, Bill Elliott compiled a list of accolades that put him near the top of a number of NASCAR’s all-time lists. His 44 wins rank 16th all-time and his 55 poles rank eighth. But his most prestigious accomplishment came in 1988 when he won the NASCAR premier series championship with six wins, 15 top fives and 22 top 10s in 29 races. In addition, he won a record 16 Most Popular Driver Awards, in part because of his excellence on the big stage; he won the Daytona 500 twice and the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway three times.
Fred Lorenzen was one of NASCAR’s first true superstars even though he was a “part-time” driver, never running more than 29 of the season’s 50-plus races. Lorenzen got his start in NASCAR as a mechanic with the famed Holman-Moody team in 1960, but was elevated to lead driver by the end of the year. Lorenzen won three races in only 15 starts the following season. Lorenzen’s best overall season came in 1963 as he finished with six wins, 21 top fives and 23 top 10s in 29 starts. Despite missing 26 races that season, he finished third in the standings. In 1965, he won two of NASCAR’s major events – the Daytona 500 and the World 600.
One of NASCAR’s true trailblazers, Wendell Scott was the first African-American to race fulltime in NASCAR’s premier series, as well as the first to win a NASCAR premier series race. Scott posted a remarkable 147 top 10s and 495 starts during his 13-year premier series career. He won more than 100 races at local tracks before making his premier series debut, including 22 races at Southside Speedway in Richmond, Virginia, in 1959 en route to capturing both the Sportsman Division and NASCAR Virginia Sportsman championships. Part of Scott’s NASCAR legacy extends to present day with NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, the leading youth development initiative for multicultural and female drivers across the motorsport industry since 2004.
Joe Weatherly won two championships (1962-63) and 25 races in NASCAR’s premier series. But that’s only part of his story, which is long on versatility. A decade earlier in 1952-53, he won 101 races in the NASCAR Modified division, capturing that championship in 1953. He even tried his hand in NASCAR’s short-lived Convertible Division from 1956-59 winning 12 times. When he won his first NASCAR premier series championship, in 1962, he drove for legendary owner Bud Moore. When he repeated as champion a year later, he drove for nine different teams.
Consistency was the hallmark of Rex White’s NASCAR career. He finished among the top five in nearly a half of his 233 races and outside the top 10 only 30 percent of the time. White was a short-track specialist in an era in which those tracks dominated the schedule. Of his 28 career wins in NASCAR’s premier series, only two came on tracks longer than a mile in length. Driving his own equipment, White won six times during his 1960 championship season, posting 35 top 10s in 40 starts. He finished in the top 10 six of his nine years in the series including a runner-up finish in 1961.
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