CHARLOTTE, NC – Jeff Gordon's immense influence on NASCAR stood out during a room full of stars in the Hall of Fame. a driver that changed the trajectory of an entire sport.

Gordon was the top voter in the 10th class of the Hall of Fame, which included the deceased drivers Davey Allison and Alan Kulwicki, as well as team owners Roger Penske and Jack Roush. Gordon received 96 percent of the vote, falling just short of the first unanimous Hall of Fame selection, in his first year of eligibility.

This class was the first in which the five members competed with each other at the same time. Gordon made his Cup debut at the end of the 1992 season, won by Kulwicki in part because Allison sank before. The stage was set for three new drivers who starred in NASCAR and challenged Dale Earnhardt's long reign of NASCAR dominance.

The following year, a pair of aviation accidents over a period of 102 days altered NASCAR permanently.

Kulwicki died in a plane crash on April 1 and returned to Bristol Motor Speedway. From an appearance of sponsor. Allison died on July 12 when she crashed the helicopter that was piloting in the infield at Talladega Superspeedway, where she had gone with Red Farmer to see Neil Bonnett's son prove his Busch Series debut.

Gordon had a quiet rookie year while Earnhardt went on to his sixth championship and added his seventh title next season. Gordon finally took the role of Allison as Earnhardt's nemesis when he dethroned him in 1995.

Gordon won four titles in seven seasons. Earnhardt never won another.

Gordon spoke at length about how good timing and luck helped him in his career, particularly when he was hired by Rick Hendrick to move to the Cup Series in 1992.

"All the hard work, seized the moment that it was possible for me in every good car that I had the opportunity to drive, introducing myself to anyone who could, hoping and wishing that the right person or the owner of the car saw enough in me to take the risk, and Rick Hendrick was that individual, " Gordon said.

"I am very fortunate to have driven the best cars made by the best people and owned by the best owner in NASCAR."