CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Pioneering crew chief Ray Evernham has been inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Evernham led Jeff Gordon to three of his four championships and changed the sport in his approach to preparing race cars. His pushed limits through innovation, engineering and formed Gordon's ''Rainbow Warriors'' pit crew that was the best in NASCAR.
Evernham eventually transitioned into car ownership and spearheaded Dodge Motorsports' return to NASCAR in 2001. Hall of Famer Bill Elliott earned Evernham Motorsports its inaugural victory that season, and Evernham collected 15 wins as a team owner.
Evernham was inducted by Gordon and his son, Ray J.
Inducted earlier Friday night were Red Byron, NASCAR's first champion, four-time Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. and Ken Squier, the first broadcaster to make the Hall.
Byron was NASCAR's first crowned champion in the Modified Series and in 1948 the Strictly Stock Series, which is now called the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Byron served in the United States Army Air Corps in the Pacific during World War II. He suffered a severe injury to his left leg while flying in a combat mission and later had to wear a specially created steel leg brace while racing.
His induction was done by NASCAR Hall of Fame executive director Winston Kelly and accepted by family members.
Hornaday's 51 victories are a Truck Series record, as well as his championships. He was introduced Friday night by Kevin Harvick, one of the many drivers who Hornaday helped make their way in NASCAR.
Hornaday frequently allowed young racers to live on his living room couch when they relocated to North Carolina to pursue a career in NASCAR. Among them are Harvick and Jimmie Johnson, who have eight Cup titles between them.
Squier worked NASCAR's flag-to-flag network television debut in the 1979 Daytona 500. He was introduced by Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is transitioning from racing into broadcasting, and inducted by Vermont Gov. Phil Scott.
Squier is the co-founder of the Motor Racing Network and a longtime voice of NASCAR. He had co-founded MRN in 1969 before moving to television. He's also credited with helping develop the sport's first ''in-car camera'' that is still used in telecasts today.
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More AP Auto Racing: https://racing.ap.org/

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