Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent
NASCAR announced on Wednesday the five individuals selected as the fourth class of inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. They include Herb Thomas, Leonard Wood, Rusty Wallace, Cotton Owens and Buck Baker.
Thomas, Wood, Owens and Baker were all on the NASCAR scene in the early days of the sport. Thomas was the 1951 and 1953 champion at NASCAR's top level, and Baker became the first back-to-back champion with titles in 1956 and 1957.
It's pretty clear that this was the toughest class (to make selections for).
Owens was a NASCAR driver in the 1950s and early 60s and then continued his career as a car owner and engineer, claiming a NASCAR owner's championship in 1966.
One inducted, Wood will join his brother, Glen Wood in the Hall of Fame. Glen Wood was a member of the third class inducted in January of this year. Leonard and Glen Wood's Wood Brothers Racing continues in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition with its famed No. 21 team, the oldest team still on the circuit.
Wallace is making his way into the Hall of Fame on the first try. The 1989 Sprint (then-Winston) Cup champion was on the list of 25 nominees for the first time this year.
"It's pretty clear that this was the toughest class (to make selections for)," NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said.
The 53 member voting committee actually had to vote twice on Wednesday, because there was a tie for the fifth and final inductee during the first vote. NASCAR didn't reveal the identity of the individual who just missed being a part of the 2013 class.
Thomas, Wood, Wallace, Owens and Baker will officially be inducted into the Hall of Fame during a special ceremony Feb. 8.
Also announced on Wednesday was the creation of a media award to be handed out yearly during the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. the Squier- Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence will be awarded to its namesakes, Ken Squier and Barney Hall during the 2013 Hall induction, and will go to one media member each year after that.