Carl Edwards and Ricky Rudd elected to NASCAR Hall of Fame

HAMPTON, GA - MARCH 03:  Former NASCAR driver Carl Edwards looks on during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 3, 2017 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards is heading into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

Carl Edwards and Ricky Rudd are two of the newest members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Edwards and Rudd were among the three-person class elected to NASCAR’s Hall on Wednesday. The two former drivers will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2025 along with longtime car owner Ralph Moody. Dean Sicking, the creator of the SAFER Barrier for concrete walls, has been awarded the Landmark Award.

Edwards won 28 races over 445 Cup Series starts from 2004 through 2016. He finished second in the points standings twice and was on the brink of a Cup Series title in his final season before he was involved in a late-race crash.

The Missouri native won nine races in 2008 but finished 69 points behind Jimmie Johnson for the Cup Series title. In 2011, Edwards was a key player in the greatest postseason in NASCAR history as he and Tony Stewart dueled for the title. Stewart won the final race of the season — his fifth win in 10 playoff races — and the two drivers ended up tied in the points standings. Stewart won the title because he finished the season with five wins to Edwards’ one.

Edwards failed to win the title that season despite finishing second in each of the final three races of the season and finishing no worse than 11th in any of the final 10 races of the season. The drama surrounding the championship battle between Edwards and Stewart that season is a big reason NASCAR moved to a multi-round playoff format with eliminations in 2014.

In 2016, Edwards made the final round of the playoffs and was in position to win the Cup Series title with less than 20 laps to go. But a caution for a car dropping debris caused a late-race restart and Edwards was taken out in a crash as he went to block a move from Joey Logano.

Edwards abruptly retired after that season and hasn’t raced in a single NASCAR race since.

Rudd won 23 races over 33 years in the Cup Series. He set a Cup Series record with 788 consecutive starts before Jeff Gordon broke that record in 2015.

Rudd won races across 18 seasons and never had a season with more than two victories. His best season came in 1991 when he finished second in the standings to Dale Earnhardt. After driving for Rick Hendrick and other car owners, Rudd spent most of the 1990s driving for his own team before joining Yates Racing and the Wood Brothers in the 2000s.

Moody, a World War II veteran, won five Cup Series races in the 1950s before he teamed with John Holman to run Holman-Moody Racing. David Pearson won the 1968 and 1969 Cup Series titles driving for Moody’s team and Mario Andretti won the Daytona 500 the year before driving a Holman-Moody car. Overall, drivers in Holman-Moody equipment won 96 races across 524 starts.

Moody was elected to the Hall of Fame via the Pioneer Ballot, while Edwards and Rudd were chosen as the 2025 Modern Era inductees.

Sicking's honor is well-deserved given the safety advancements racing has made with the SAFER barrier. The barrier is dual wall with energy-absorbing foam blocks in the middle to help absorb high-speed impacts. SAFER barriers are mandatory at all tracks that host NASCAR races.