Alan Kulwicki, who died in a 1993 plane crash while he was the reigning NASCAR Winston Cup champion, is one of 18 finalists for induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
The all-star roster of nominees includes drivers, both men and women, a crew chief, an engine builder and car owners.
“The diversity of the group is exceptional,” said Don Naman, the director of the Hall of Fame located next to Talladega Superspeedway. “The voting panel is going to have an awfully hard time.”
Five inductees will be selected in a vote by more than 170 motorsports media members, who also chose the 18 finalists from a list of 50.
The new Hall of Fame members will be announced on October 21 and inducted on April 22, 1999.
Besides Kulwicki, who was chosen earlier this year as one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers, the list includes the late Tim Richmond, whose brief but outstanding career included 13 wins.
The remaining nominees are:
Erwin “Cannon Ball” Baker: set more than 200 speed records in different forms of motorsports and was NASCAR’s first commissioner.
Craig Breedlove: designed, built and drove world land speed record vehicles and was first to break 500 mph and 600 mph.
Jimmy Bryan: won three AAA-USAC national titles and had 19 career wins in Indy cars, including the 1958 Indianapolis 500.
Red Byron: first NASCAR champion and another of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers, won 1948 Modified title and 1949 Strictly Stock title.
Ray Hendrick: Won more than 500 NASCAR Modified and Late Model Sportsman races; another of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.
Denis Hulme: open-wheel great who won eight Grands Prix and the 1967 Formula One championship; also won 22 races and two titles in Can-Am Series.
Harry Hyde: posted 56 wins and one championship as Winston Cup crew chief; acted as crew chief when Bobby Isaac set 28 speed records at Bonneville Salt Flats.
Jackie Ickx: Six-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans; won eight Formula One races and was twice runner-up in championship.
Jack Ingram: won five NASCAR Late Model Sportsman and Busch Grand National championships; another of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.
Gordon Johncock: won 20 poles and 25 Indy car races, including the 1973 and 1982 Indianapolis 500s; also won 1976 national championship.
Fred Offenshauser: designed and built engines for Indy cars that dominated open-wheel racing in the United States for nearly three decades, winning 24 of 27 Indianapolis 500s, beginning in 1934.
Cotton Owens: Won more than 400 NASCAR Modified and Late Model Sportsman races, as well as nine Winston Cup races; also won 40 races as car owner in Winston Cup Series.
Nelson Piquet: was a three-time Formula One champion; had 24 poles and 23 wins.
Alain Prost: was a four-time Formula One champion, posted Formula One record 51 victories and tied for second on the career list with 33 poles.
Wendell Scott: longtime competitor and the only black driver ever to win a NASCAR Winston race.
Louise Smith: won 38 NASCAR Modified, Late Model Sportsman and Late Model Stock Car races against top male drivers in the 1940s and 1950s.