Breaking down the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2025

Three men were forever enshrined in NASCAR history on Tuesday.

Ralph Moody, Ricky Rudd and Carl Edwards were officially announced as the 2025 NASCAR Hall of Fame class, with their official induction taking place in February of next year.

With their inductions official, it’s as an appropriate time as ever to dissect their respective careers and prove why all three men are extremely deserving of such an honor.

–Ralph Moody (Pioneer Ballot)

While Moody only won five times in the Cup Series as a driver, he helped form NASCAR into its modern mold in a big way. After pairing up with John Holman, Moody went on to write his name in the NASCAR history books as an owner, co-owning cars that were driven by legends such as Curtis Turner, Mario Andretti, Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough.

The Holman-Moody team won 96 NASCAR Cup Series races, including 48 of 55 races during the 1965 season. The late ‘60s proved to be the golden era of the team, with Andretti winning the 1967 Daytona 500 and David Pearson taking home consecutive Cup Series championships in 1968 and 1969. While Holman-Moody’s last win as a team came with Allison in 1971, the legacy of the team, and Moody himself, will forever be remembered in NASCAR’s Hall of Fame.

–Ricky Rudd (Modern Era Ballot)

Known as NASCAR’s “Ironman,” Rudd started 906 NASCAR Cup Series races, a number that puts him second, behind only Richard Petty. Before Jeff Gordon broke it in 2015, Rudd held the record for the most consecutive starts in Cup Series history at 788. Rudd didn’t just start races, however — he won them at a very consistent clip. Rudd won at least once race in the NASCAR Cup Series from 1983 to 1998.

He was also one of the toughest drivers in NASCAR history, and proved it on multiple occasions. After flipping violently during the 1984 Busch Clash at Daytona, Rudd didn’t let swollen eyes or a rib injury deter him from competing in NASCAR’s biggest race. Rudd drove in the 1984 Daytona 500 despite having to tape his eyes open to see, and he came home with a seventh-place finish. In 1998, Rudd won the fall race at Martinsville despite a failed cooling system, forcing him to suffer burns and blisters on his hands. Rudd’s visit to victory lane was short that day, as he did post-race interviews with an oxygen mask held to his face, but the determination he showed left an indelible mark on NASCAR fans.

Rudd won a total of 23 NASCAR Cup Series races in his career, with a best points finish of second in 1991. A driver who competed in 33 NASCAR Cup Series seasons, Rudd didn’t just see the sport evolve, but evolved with it, which was one of the keys to his success.

–Carl Edwards (Modern Era Ballot)

Despite being perhaps one of the unluckiest drivers in NASCAR history, Edwards still won 28 races in the NASCAR Cup Series. However, some of his most memorable moments were his most heartbreaking.

In 2008, Edwards went head-to-head with then two-time champion Jimmie Johnson for the Cup Series crown, but came up short despite winning nine races, equal to a quarter of the races on the schedule. Edwards tied Tony Stewart for what would be his first championship in 2011, but the title was given to Stewart by virtue of total wins. A switch to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2015 bore immediate fruit for Edwards, as he added wins in two of NASCAR’s crown jewel events — the Coca-Cola 600 and Southern 500 — to his resume, and in 2016, he qualified for NASCAR’s championship race. Despite a lead with under 20 laps to go, a late caution gave way to a restart that resulted in an Edwards crash, ending his hopes at a championship.

In a shocking move, Edwards announced his retirement from NASCAR that offseason, leaving fans to ponder what could’ve been if he had stayed the course. However, Edwards’ heartbreaks only made him more worthy for the Hall of Fame, as through all the gut-wrenching championship losses, he remained graceful and respectful towards his competitors. Edwards never tasted a title in the Cup Series, but was able to do so in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, taking home the 2007 championship before finishing runner-up in the standings for the next three seasons. Edwards’ trophy case may be devoid of a Daytona 500 or Cup Series championship ring, but his highlights — including his classic victory backflips — always gave NASCAR fans something to cheer about. Edwards’ shocking retirement may be the best argument for his skeptics, as the fact that he built a Hall of Fame NASCAR Cup Series career in just 12 full-time seasons of competition is something few drivers can claim to have done.

–Samuel Stubbs, Field Level Media