NASCAR has made sweeping eligibility changes to the Hall of Fame election process, including tweaks that make both Bill Elliott and Mark Martin immediately in line for induction.
Among the six changes announced Thursday is that drivers are now eligible if they have competed for 30 or more years in NASCAR or have turned 55 in the calendar year before nominating day.
The previous rule made drivers eligible after they'd been retired for three years. Drivers can continue to compete now under the new rules without compromising eligibility.
The ballot will also include only 20 nominees, down five from the first five classes.
NASCAR has also established the "Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions" that will begin with the 2015 class.