AP file photo by Terry Renna / Driver Matt Kenseth, center, was voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Kenseth, fellow driver Herschel McGriff and crew chief Kirk Shelmerdine were announced Wednesday as the selections for the 2023 induction class.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Matt Kenseth was doing yardwork when his wife, Katie, came outside with phone in hand, letting him know he'd just been selected for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

A short while later, Kenseth "celebrated" the exclusive honor by cooking dinner for his daughters.

"I never really thought about it," the even-keeled Kenseth said about his chances while speaking during a conference call.

The opportunity for Kenseth to mull his chances are over. The time to think about what his induction will be like is now.

Fellow driver Hershel McGriff and crew chief Kirk Shelmerdine will join Kenseth to form the NASCAR Hall of Fame's 2023 induction class, with voting announced Wednesday. Mike Helton — the first person outside of the France family to be named NASCAR president — was selected as the Landmark Award winner for outstanding contributions to the sport.

Kenseth was a first-ballot selection, Shelmerdine was voted in on his third try on the modern day ballot and McGriff made it via the pioneer ballot on his seventh try. Their induction ceremony is set for Jan. 20 in Charlotte.

Kenseth, a 50-year-old Wisconsin native who recently ran the Boston Marathon, drove 18 full seasons on the top-tier Cup Series — and parts of three others — before retiring in 2020 with 39 victories, which ranks 21st on the career list, and 20 pole positions.

"I never looked forward (to the Hall of Fame) when I was racing, and I never really looked back at some of the wins that I had," said Kenseth, who drove cars for Jack Roush, Joe Gibbs and Chip Ganassi during his career. "It was always the next race and what can I do better the next race?"

Kenseth called the selection an honor, saying "I am really grateful for everything this sport has done for me and my family."

Kenseth reached almost every major milestone in stock car racing. He won the Daytona 500 twice and the Coca-Cola 600, the Southern 500 and the NASCAR All-Star Race once each. He also captured the 2003 Cup Series championship, capping a dominating season in which he led the points standings for the final 32 weeks of the schedule. After NASCAR introduced a playoff format the following year, Kenseth made the field in 13 of 14 seasons and finished as runner-up twice.

He made an impact from the beginning of his time on the top circuit, winning Cup Series rookie of the year in 2000. He also won 29 races on the second-tier Xfinity Series.

The 94-year-old McGriff was 22 when he first competed in a NASCAR race at the 1950 Southern 500, during the Cup Series' second season. His final NASCAR race was at Tucson Speedway in the Pro Series West in 2018 — at the age of 90.

No other NASCAR driver has had a longer career.

"Racing has always been in me," McGriff said. "It has always been about the sport."

The Oregon native started 85 races in parts of 28 NASCAR Cup Series seasons, capturing four wins — all of them in 1954.

He was one of the best drivers in what is now known as the ARCA Menards Series West. Competing in parts of 35 seasons, McGriff won 37 races — third on the all-time wins list for the West — and his signature year was 1986, when he won the series title.

On the pioneer ballot, McGriff beat out the 87-year-old A.J. Foyt, who made 128 Cup Series starts over 30 years, winning seven races and finishing in the top 10 on 36 occasions.

The 64-year-old Shelmerdine, who was born in Philadelphia, worked as a crew chief from 1977 to 1992 and won 46 Cup Series races with 15 poles and helped Dale Earnhardt capture four season championships (1986, '87, '90, '91). Over his 16-year career with Earnhardt, Ricky Rudd, James Hylton and Richard Childress, he posted top-10 finishes in more than half of his drivers' starts.

Shelmerdine said he was "in shock" that he got in Wednesday, saying he thought "it would be a few more years before it happened." He also it's special to be reunited in the NASCAR Hall of Fame with the late Earnhardt, who was part of the inaugural class in 2010, and car owner Richard Childress, who was inducted in 2017.

"It's always been a surreal thing for me being in the middle of all these legends," Shelmerdine said. "As the years go by, the stats pile up, and you start to be in the sentence with it all."

Shelmerdine said everyone had their own role on those winning teams and simply fit well: "Everything just clicked together."