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Matt Kenseth has been voted into the 2023 class of the NASCAR hall of fame on his first ballot. The 2003 Cup Series champion won 39 races over a career that spanned 22 seasons.
Kenseth’s last full-time season was in 2017 when he finished seventh in the standings, but he ran part of the 2018 season and came back again in 2020 to fill in for the suspended Kyle Larson at Chip Ganassi Racing for 32 races.
“I never really thought about it,” Kenseth said on a conference call about his prospects for making the Hall of Fame.
Kirk Shelmerdine, who was Dale Earnhardt’s crew chief for four of his seven championships, was also voted in on the modern ballot, while long-time racer Herschel McGriff made it on the pioneer ballott.
The 94-year-old McGriff marked his first Grand National Series start with a win at the 1950 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway and competed in a K&N Pro Series West race in 2018 at age 90.
“Racing has always been in me,” McGriff said. “It was always been about the sport.”
Mike Helton, NASCAR’s first president that wasn’t a member of the founding France family, was named a Landmark Award winner.
The 2023 induction ceremony is scheduled for January 20.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report
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