(AP Photo/Steve Helber)
LAS VEGAS (AP) NASCAR announced sweeping changes to the Hall of Fame election process Thursday, including tweaks that make Bill Elliott and Mark Martin immediately eligible for enshrinement.
Among the six changes: Drivers are now eligible if they have competed for 30 or more years in NASCAR or turned 55 in the calendar year before nominating day. Previously, drivers were not eligible until they had been retired for three years, so drivers can continue to compete and still reach the hall.
Martin, winner of 96 races across NASCAR's three national divisions, has no plans at this time to race next year after 31 seasons in the Sprint Cup Series.