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Johnson, Knaus, and Donnie Allison formally be a part of NASCAR Corridor of Fame

The ceremony began by honoring Janet Guthrie with the Landmark Award for outstanding contributions to NASCAR.  Guthrie was the first woman to ever compete in a NASCAR superspeedway race, finishing 15th in the 1976 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. She went on to become the first woman to qualify for the Daytona 500, finishing 12th

Johnson, Knaus, and Donnie Allison formally be a part of NASCAR Corridor of Fame

The ceremony started by honoring Janet Guthrie with the Landmark Award for excellent contributions to NASCAR. 

Guthrie was the primary girl to ever compete in a NASCAR superspeedway race, ending fifteenth within the 1976 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. She went on to change into the primary girl to qualify for the Daytona 500, ending twelfth within the 1977 working of the occasion. Together with a number of appearances on the Indianapolis 500, she would go on to compete within the Daytona 500 a second time, ending eleventh in 1978.

Her finest outcome was a sixth-place end at Bristol Motor Speedway. Though she wasn’t in a position to be current to simply accept the award, she despatched in a video message. Right here is an excerpt from her acceptance speech:

“First, I need to thank NASCAR and its voters for this extraordinary honor, which I by no means anticipated, and to apologize for not being there in individual. I actually love NASCAR Cup racing and can all the time remorse that I wasn’t in a position to proceed for longer than my 33 races.”

She went on to thank her automobile proprietor Lynda Ferreri, Humpy Wheeler, Junior Johnson, and even Cale Yarborough, who “put his stamp of disapproval on the automobile I used to be to drive in my first race at Charlotte in 1976.”

Janet Guthrie

Picture by: IMS LLC

Janet Guthrie

Donnie Allison was the primary of the three Corridor of Fame inductees to take the stage. He was launched by his biographer, Jimmy Creed. A member of the historic Alabama Gang, Donnie joins brother Bobby and nephew Davey within the NASCAR Corridor.

Allison earned ten wins throughout his NASCAR Cup Collection profession, and was one of many central figures in that sport-defining second on the conclusion of the 1979 Daytona 500.

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The 84-year-old had the longest speech of the night time, going via his outstanding profession each on the observe and off. He made a degree to acknowledge the France household, saying: “I would like you all to consider this. With out Massive Invoice, the place would we be? What can be happening proper now? The France household has accomplished wonders for our world — the racing world and I need to commend them and thank them for that. For giving me the chance to do one thing i like to do all my life … I simply can’t thanks sufficient.”

He spent a while throughout his speech to say the younger drivers he has mentored over time, together with the late Ricky Hendrick and two-time Cup champion Joey Logano.

Donnie Allison

Picture by: NASCAR Media

Donnie Allison

And sure, he nonetheless asserts that notorious battle after the 1979 Daytona 500 went otherwise than many declare. “I by no means fought. I do not care what that factor says. I by no means touched the person [Cale Yarborough]. He by no means touched me. If he had. I might have in all probability killed him. Anyway, we’re not gonna discuss an entire lot extra about that.”

Subsequent up was Chad Knaus. Nonetheless a distinguished determine at Hendrick Motorsports, he was additionally the person that led fellow inductee Jimmie Johnson to all seven of his NASCAR Cup Collection titles. The duo rewrote the historical past books, successful 5 consecutive titles from 2006 and 2010.

He was launched by his spouse Brooke and their youngsters. Knaus informed the story of how he obtained his first job at HMS. “I vividly bear in mind the race in 1992 — Jeff Gordon’s first race and I used to be with the No. 49 group and we had been within the storage subsequent to the No. 24 automobile. They usually had all these good new toolboxes, model new race vehicles. They’d clear uniforms, and right here I used to be a grungy younger man with a group that we had been simply hoping to make the race. And I watched Ray Evernham lead that group that weekend and I used to be blown away. And I stated to myself, someday I need to have that. I need to have these vehicles. I need to have that group. So in June of 1993, I cold-called Hendrick Motorsports. The receptionist picked up and I stated, might I converse to Ray Evernham, and he or she stated certain, one second.

Chad Knaus

Picture by: NASCAR Media

Chad Knaus

“I used to be like, ‘did that actually simply work?’ I do not suppose that works anymore, simply so that you guys know. A number of moments later, Ray grabbed the cellphone in his New Jersey accent. He stated, ‘Whats up, that is Ray.’ And I used to be frozen for what appeared like seconds to me. And I informed Ray who I used to be and the way I had grown up and what I needed to do. And I might inform he was in a rush which he all the time is. And he stated, ‘properly simply so occurs that we let a man go at this time. Are you able to be right here tomorrow for an interview?’ And I stated ‘sure.’ Not understanding how I might pull this off. I did not understand how I used to be going to drive from Birmingham to Charlotte. I did not have a automobile. I did not know methods to inform my boss that I wanted to take a time without work. So So I went again to work. I informed my boss, I stated, ‘Hey, I gotta take tomorrow off. My grandmother is sick, and I’ve to drive to Wisconsin.’ And he is like, ‘Oh my God, should not you fly?’ And I used to be like, ‘No, I will be proper I obtained a pal’s automobile.’ However nonetheless, clearly I drove to Charlotte, North Carolina and I arrived late that night at Hendrick Motorsports. And with my appointment very first thing within the morning, I simply slept within the automobile. I do know you guys heard this earlier, however I can bear in mind waking up early the following morning and I might had a fountain drink within the cupholder and I used the melted ice to form of rinse off my mouth and brush my enamel and work on my hair. I wasn’t thinning fairly as a lot then, I used to be engaged on it. And I placed on a brand new polo and I went in and I spoke to Ray. And Ray requested, he stated ‘properly what do you do?’ And I informed him I stated ‘I do every part. I am not a specialist at something.’ And we banter backwards and forwards for a lot of minutes … He stated, ‘properly the place do you need to be in 5 years?’ And I thought of it for only a second. As a result of I used to be like this might go a few other ways. And I stated ‘in 5 years, Ray, I would like your job.’ And he smiled at me and he stated, ‘be fearful for what you want, for you could obtain it.’ And he stated ‘when are you able to begin?’ And truthfully, I began on July twenty third, 1993 working for that man and that racecar driver proper there [Jeff Gordon]. It was the best factor, man.”

Knaus talked about working with Johnson and their unbelievable success collectively, in addition to the notorious milk and cookies assembly. And sure, there was milk and cookies on the Hendrick desk for the induction ceremony. He mirrored on the tragic Hendrick aircraft crash in 2004, and his many run-ins with NASCAR officers. He concluded his speech with this: “I wasn’t all the time the very best to Jimmie, however I can promise you that I all the time needed the very best for you. I’ll all the time love you and your loved ones.”

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Lastly, Johnson himself took the stage, launched by his spouse Chandra and their youngsters. Johnson has a record-tying seven NASCAR Cup Collection titles, in addition to 83 Cup wins. His many victories embrace two within the Daytona 500, 4 within the Coke 600, 4 within the Brickyard 400, and two within the Southern 500.

Johnson spent a while in IndyCar after retiring from full-time Cup racing, and was a part of NASCAR’s Storage 56 entry on the 2023 Le Mans 24. He’s now the co-owner on the Legacy Motor Membership, and can race part-time in 2024.

Johnson spoke on his humble beginnings because the son of a faculty bus driver and a heavy gear operator. “We raced and we raced lots on a restricted finances with plenty of ardour and dedication. The grit my mother and father instilled in my indisputably helped mildew my skilled self. I am so grateful for you each. With my humble upbringing, being observed in racing was my solely likelihood for fulfillment. I knew my alternatives would come through who I knew, after which sometime what I might do.”

Kyle Petty, Jimmie Johnson

Picture by: NASCAR Media

Kyle Petty, Jimmie Johnson

His ten-minute speech included many thank yous for many who helped him get to the place he’s now, nonetheless shocked how he was ever in a position to safe a experience within the No. 48 automobile all these years in the past. Johnson ended his time on stage with the next message: “Whether or not you are trying as much as your heroes, driving for them, competing towards them. When you’re with us now or up in Heaven, thanks for being an important a part of this unbelievable run. And what I run it has been. That is past my wildest desires. And I assumed Christmas morning in 1979 was particular,” he concluded, referencing how his was love for racing was born from a motorbike he obtained for Christmas that yr.

Shav Glick, who handed away in 2007, was additionally honored with the Squier-Corridor Award for Media Excellence. 

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