DARLINGTON, S.C. – Driver Dan Gurney, crew chief Herb Nab and promoter/team owner Richard Howard have been elected to the National Motorsports Press Ass’n Hall of Fame.
All three members of the 2022 class received more than 65 percent of votes cast by the NMPA membership, as prescribed by the organization’s bylaws.
Gurney had a storied racing career that included roles as driver, team owner, and car builder. Gurney could drive – and succeed – in anything. Early in his career, he competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Formula 1 and then went on to win four straight NASCAR races at Riverside Raceway in the 1960s. His resume also includes wins in USAC Champ Car races and SCCA Trans-Am events.
Gurney was the first driver to claim wins in all four major motorsports: F-1, International Sports Cars, IndyCar and NASCAR. His victories in sports cars came at classic venues such as Nürburgring, Daytona, Sebring, and Le Mans. Gurney was considered an innovator off the track, as he was the first driver to use a full-face helmet in Grand Prix racing. He was also instrumental in the rear-engine revolution at Indianapolis in 1963. Gurney started the tradition of drivers spraying each other with champagne on the podium.
Considered one of NASCAR’s greatest crew chiefs, Nab guided a legion of drivers to Victory Lane in the premier series, a group that included such Hall of Fame drivers as Fred Lorenzen, Junior Johnson, Bobby Allison and Buddy Baker. But Nab reached his pinnacle of success when paired with Cale Yarborough. The duo finished second in the NASCAR championship in 1973 and 1974 before earning back-to-back titles in 1976 and 1977. In their four seasons together, the two won 23 races. During his career, Nab captured two victories in the sport’s biggest race, the Daytona 500, with Leeroy Yarbrough in 1969 and Cale Yarborough in 1977. Nab’s numbers are impressive — 74 wins (with nine different drivers) and 64 poles in 338 races.
Howard will be remembered as the man who saved Charlotte Motor Speedway. The track was facing bankruptcy in the early 1960s when Howard, a local furniture salesman, stepped in and helped turn things around and keep the track open. His leadership also established the facility as a racing destination, as he improved fan amenities and became known for his promotional flair. Under Howard’s supervision, the surrounding area also underwent changes, with U.S. Route 29 being widened, new access roads added, and concourses built around the track for the fans. However, that was just a portion of Howard’s influence. During his tenure with the speedway, he served in other roles such as vice president, general manager, and president. In the 1970s, Howard partnered with Junior Johnson’s team and is recognized as a team owner with 21 wins in the premier series.
The induction of the three new members will take place on Sunday, January 23, 2022 during a dinner and ceremony on the Hendrick Motorsports campus in Concord, N.C. At the same time, class of 2021 honorees Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Steve Kinser will be inducted.
There was no induction ceremony in 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The NMPA Hall of Fame inductions follow the Jan. 23 convention and annual meeting of the NMPA. Those receiving NMPA awards will be recognized at an awards luncheon on that day.