CONCORD, N.C. – Hendrick Motorsports drivers Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson got to cast their ballots as part of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel this year.

As the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion, Larson’s spot on the voting panel was set from the moment he won the title. Elliott was able to participate as part of the benefits from being the 2020 Cup Series champion since there was no Class of 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both drivers submitted their ballots ahead of NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Day as each was unable to attend in person. 

The NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2023 consists of 2003 NASCAR Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth, four-time Cup Series championship-winning crew chief Kirk Shelmerdine and 1986 ARCA Menards Series West champion Hershel McGriff. NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton will receive the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. 

"It’s a great honor that NASCAR gives the previous champion," Elliott said. "For me, I think my favorite part was just learning more about some of the candidates that were selected to be on the list because you know there's a lot of names on there that you recognize. Some of them I know personally, others I never had a chance to meet."

This week's winner at Dover used the opportunity to dig into the history of the sport and pick his family’s brain especially that of his father, NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2015 inductee Bill Elliott, for helpful information.

"It was just nice to learn more about our sport and talk to my dad a lot about it actually. Was able to lean on him and get some stories from him to kind of help me make my decisions and I thought it was pretty neat. 

"He could go down the list of really each ballot and tell you something about every person that was on there. Same with my Uncle Ernie too. And a couple of the names, he unprompted has talked about a lot. Just over the course of him telling me stories or hanging around the shop."

The tradition of the reigning champion getting to participate in Hall of Fame Voting Day goes back to Jimmie Johnson, who voted on the Class of 2014 following the season in which he claimed his sixth title. The rest of the voting panel was comprised of representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, media members, track owners, industry leaders, and retired competitors. A fan vote on comprised a ballot as well. 

There were 15 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2023 with two being selected from the 10-person Modern Era ballot and one selection from the five-person Pioneer Ballot. The voting also included making a selection among the five-person Landmark Award ballot. 

Ricky Rudd and Harry Hyde were the only individuals on the ballots with Hendrick Motorsports ties. Hyde placed third on the Modern Era ballot - one spot short of election.

The Class of 2023 Induction Ceremony will be held on Friday, January 20, 2023 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.