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Pedley: First Hall Vote To Be Relatively Painless

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Tuesday, October 13 2009

HOF Finals 4.18.07

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

Charlotte, N.C. – The “Meeting Preparation Materials” packet which the NASCAR Hall of Fame sent out is an inch, inch-and-a quarter thick. It’s filled with names and biographies and info about voting procedures and meeting times.

A friend saw it sitting on the dining room table and remarked that it’s going to be a tough decision on the part of we members of the voting panel.

Not really, I said. Not this time. In the future, all the information which is sent will be devoured like a media center buffet but on the vote for this class, the first class, the decisions look to be few and easy.

And it is a dead certainty that none of those elected will be subject to debates on worthiness.

Some fans, media members and competitors may end up squawking about who was left out. They may have a beef with the size of the inaugural class.

But none of those elected on Wednesday will be ravaged by critics as unworthy.

Wednesday is the day. It’s the day that the first class of the still-under-construction NASCAR Hall of Fame will be debated and voted upon.

Doing the voting will be a panel of 50 members – the entire Nominating Committee, 14 media members, four manufacturer representatives and nine retired competitors (drivers, owners, crew chiefs; three each) and two recognized industry leaders. In addition, the fan vote will result in the Voting Panel’s 51st and final ballot.

They will be selecting from a list of 25 names which was determined by the Nominating Committee.

The first class will be comprised of five members. That’s right, just five.

That number has been debated quite a bit over last couple months but there is historical precedent as other halls of fame, like Major League Baseball’s, went with five in its first class.

And that number, five, is what will make Wednesday’s vote painless or, at least, relatively so.

Every one of the 25 people on the list of candidates is worthy of inclusion and, in all likelihood, will be voted in at some point.

But also on the list are at least four slam dunks. That is, four people whose inclusion will be virtually indisputable. Four people whose names you will be able to end arguments by saying, “Yes, your guy was great and essential to the growth and popularity of the sport, but which of these four would you bump?”

Who are those four?

Unless somebody floors with me some goofy, obscure information during Wednesday’s meeting of the electorate, I would say: Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr., Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty.

Who are the the top candidates to be No. 5?

Today, I’m thinking Junior Johnson, Cale Yarborough and Bobby Allison.

Who do I intend to vote for? Let you know on Wednesday.

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Tuesday, October 13 2009