NASCAR Hall of Fame Opening Day – Click above for high-res image gallery

Even though you hear less and less about it with each evolution of the Car of Tomorrow and huge new ad deal, much of NASCAR's current allure is tied to the romance of good ol' boys in (genuine) stock cars with big engines and even bigger personalities gunning around raggedy tracks for the win. Those pioneers of the sport have finally been honored with the opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina.

From a total of 25 nominees, the inaugural class of inductees were Bill France, Sr., Bill France, Jr., Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Junior Johnson. They're the first to hang in the 150,000-square foot hall along with 60 years of NASCAR exhibits, simulators, video screens and memorabilia, an institution that the city of Charlotte calls "the most technologically advanced Hall of Fame in all of professional sports." Take that, Canton and Cooperstown!

Related GalleryNASCAR Hall of Fame opening day

[Source: Sports Illustrated | Image: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]