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Woody: Who’s In NASCAR Hall’s Second Haul?

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, September 30 2010

Are two of the drivers in this famous photo headed to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in the near future? That's Cale Yarborough and the Allison brothers at Daytona in 1979, of course. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

By Larry Woody | Senior Writer

I think NASCAR erred by limiting its Hall of Fame inductions to a mere five per year, and that’s been reflected in a less-than-anticipated visitor turnout.

Hopefully as the number of enshrinements grow, so will interest and attendance. The HOF was a wonderful, overdue idea. But it should have opened its doors wider.

But it’s stuck on five, and now the question is who should the next five be? We’ll know Oct. 13. Meanwhile here are my choices to join already-inducted Dale Earnhardt, Junior Johnson, Richard Petty and the Frances, Bill Junior and Senior:

David Pearson. How could NASCAR have a Hall of Fame without the Silver Fox?

Darrell Waltrip: One of the sport’s most significant figures, both on and off the track.

Cale Yarborough: As good as there was, with more in the tank when he walked away.

Bobby Allison: Few were better, none sacrificed greater.

Those four are – or should be – dead-solid locks. The fifth and final spot is more difficult. I’m torn between Ned Jarrett and Lee Petty.

Petty had more success on the track and was one of the sport’s greatest pioneers. But it could be argued that Jarrett’s off-track contributions were greater as he extended his career into broadcasting.

I suppose I’d go with Petty, although both he and Jarrett should be inducted – as should each of the other 25 nominees.

They will be eventually, but most will have to wait years. The wait is sure to create bruised feelings among family members and fans.

NASCAR’s Hall of Fame was late in coming, and with over 60 years of rich, rollicking history and thousands of dynamic, influential and colorful characters, it is impossible to condense it into such a small package.

I don’t think limiting the list of inductees to five makes it special; I think it makes it suspect – especially when only three of the first five were drivers.

I’m not suggesting that the two Frances didn’t deserve induction; I’m simply pointing out that during its first year NASCAR’s Hall of Fame contained a grand total of three racers.

The Hall should have opened with a big, positive feel-good bang last year with 15-20 inductees. A second wave of 15-20 on Oct. 13 would at least cover the most obvious and deserving.

Afterwards, a class of 10 a year still wouldn’t be too many. I could come up with 100 deserving individuals right now – drivers, team owners, mechanics, officials, marketing persons and media personalities – who made vital and lasting contributions to the sport. Even at 10 per class it would take a decade to induct the most deserving.

The more the better as far as I’m concerned, and I think HOF visitors would agree. I don’t see the drawback or the downside.

At a trickle of five per year, NASCAR’s early-era fans won’t be around to hear the names of many of their heroes called.

You’d think that a Hall of Fame erected as a tribute to racing would move a tad faster.

– Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, September 30 2010


  • Terry says:

    No David Pearson ….it is not yet a HALL OF FAME….
    5 or 7 or 10…..the wrong 5 went in……it is all politics and TV ratings….IRONHEAD Sr. or little Frances in front of truly great drivers…..sad….

  • Joe says:

    With your idea the Hall of Fame becomes the Hall of Pretty Good in about three years.

    It would have been better to jump start the first class with up to 10. Pearson should have gone in ahead of one of the Frances. DW, Cale and Bobby have “first ballot” chops, too.

    But if you open the flood gates, it doesn’t take long until you have no annual event which puts it out of people’s minds.