Class of 2024 Inductees:
Jimmie Johnson’s seven career NASCAR Cup Series championships famously tie him with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for most in series history; his five consecutive titles are a NASCAR record. Johnson’s on-track accomplishments behind the wheel of a stock car put him on the short list in the “Greatest of All Time” discussion. He has 83 wins at 20 different race tracks, including multiple wins in every NASCAR crown jewel event: two Daytona 500s (2006, ’13), four Brickyard 400s (2006, ’08-09, ’12), four Coca-Cola 600s (2003-05, ’14), two Southern 500’s (2004, ’12) and four All-Star Race wins (2003, ’06, ’12-13). Currently the co-owner of NASCAR team LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, Johnson was named one of NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers in 2023.
Leading his father to multiple track championships as a teenager, Chad Knaus was destined to be a successful crew chief at stock car racing’s highest level. His NASCAR start came at Hendrick Motorsports as an assistant in the body shop, learning under Hall of Famer Ray Evernham as part of the “Rainbow Warriors.” His breakthrough came in 2002 when he was paired with rookie driver Jimmie Johnson on a fourth Hendrick team – the start of one of the most productive partnerships in sports history. The pair combined for seven NASCAR Cup Series championships, including a NASCAR-record five in a row. They won 81 races over 19 seasons, including the 2013 Daytona 500, two Southern 500s, four Coca-Cola 600s and four Brickyard 400s. Knaus won his 82nd – and final – race with William Byron in 2020. He trails only Dale Inman and Leonard Wood for all-time wins by a crew chief. Knaus currently serves as Vice President of Competition for Hendrick Motorsports.
A member of NASCAR’s famed “Alabama Gang” and an ambassador for the sport for more than 50 years, Donnie Allison had never planned to be a race car driver. But like his brother (and NASCAR Hall of Famer) Bobby, Donnie got his start racing modifieds and worked his way to the top level of stock car racing. After winning the 1967 Cup Series Rookie of the Year, Allison partnered with famed mechanic Banjo Matthews where he experienced his most success. In 1970, Allison won three races for Matthews, including the Coca-Cola 600. But Allison might be best-known for his role in NASCAR’s most famous moment – his 1979 Daytona 500 fight with Cale Yarborough. An intense battle for the win ended with both drivers wrecked, scuffling in the infield. It all happened on the first nationally-televised NASCAR race and made headlines across America. The publicity was instrumental to the growth of NASCAR and remains one of the defining moments in the sport’s history.
Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR:
Janet Guthrie moved on from a successful career as an aerospace engineer in the early 1960s, trading equations for a wheel to become a full-time racer in 1972. A true pioneer in motorsports, Guthrie became the first woman to compete in a NASCAR premier series superspeedway race when she drove to a 15th-place finish in the 1976 World 600. The next year, she piloted cars in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500, becoming the first female to participate in both events. Guthrie steered her car to a sixth-place finish at Bristol in 1977, one of five career top-10 finishes. Overall, the University of Michigan graduate made 33 premier series starts. Guthrie was a member of the first class inducted into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. Her helmet and firesuit are on display at the Smithsonian Institution.