Herb Thomas - Driver
Truly one of NASCAR’s first superstars, Thomas was the first to win two NASCAR premier series championships (1951, ’53). He finished second in the points standings in 1952 and 1954 giving the North Carolina veteran top-two championship finishes in four consecutive seasons. He finished outside the top two in the championship only once (fifth in 1955) between 1951 and 1956. Thomas won the 1951 championship driving self-owned cars.
Leonard Wood - Owner
The Wood Brothers team is renowned as the innovator of the modern pit stop. Leonard Wood, brother of Glen and Delano Wood, was front and center in its development as chief mechanic – that’s what they called crew chiefs in the early days – for the Stuart, Va.-based team. Wood’s accomplishments were not confined to pit road. He ran the team’s engine shop that provided horsepower and longevity on a par with rivals Holman-Moody and Petty Enterprises.
Rusty Wallace - Driver
The 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Wallace followed his father Russ Wallace onto the race track – a path taken as well by brothers Mike and Kenny. Wallace’s most successful seasons were spent behind the wheel of Penske Racing Fords, Pontiacs and Dodges from 1991 through his retirement in 2005. He won 37 times in Roger Penske’s cars finishing second in the points in 1993, the best of 11 top-10 championship rankings with the organization. Wallace currently is an ESPN NASCAR analyst.
Cotton Owens - Driver/Owner
There are successful drivers and there are successful owners. But, rarely are there both. Cotton Owens joins NASCAR Hall of Fame member Junior Johnson as masters of the two crafts. Owens was more than successful behind the wheel, winning nine times in NASCAR’s premier series competition, including the 1957 Daytona Beach road course which marked Pontiac’s first NASCAR victory. He nearly won the 1959 championship, finishing second to NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Lee Petty.
Buck Baker - Driver
Elzie Wylie “Buck” Baker established himself as one of NASCAR’s early greats, becoming the first driver to win consecutive NASCAR premier series championships. That repeat performance in 1956-57 was the meat of an incredible four-year span; in 1955 and ’58 Baker finished as the series championship runner-up. His legend was made in NASCAR’s premier series; his career victory total of 46 ranks 14th all-time.