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Woody: It Will Be A Hollow Hall Without D.W.

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, April 26 2011

Junior Johnson joined Darrell Waltrip in Victory Lane after the 1985 All-Star race. Many think Waltrip should join Johnson in the NASCAR Hall of Fame this year. (Photo by RacingOne/Getty Images)

By Larry Woody | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Which of the 25 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Class of 2012 should be inducted?

Every one of ‘em.

But since Oz, or whoever’s behind the curtain, is adamant about restricting each class to five, here’s my choices for the third round:

Darrell Waltrip

Cale Yarborough

Fireball Roberts

Curtis Turner

Tim Flock

How there can be a NASCAR Hall of Fame without those five already in it is baffling, just as it was baffling when David Pearson wasn’t included in the inaugural class.

This is not to say that the 10 inductees in the first two classes weren’t deserving. Every one should be in. But where the mistake was made – and continues to be made – was limiting each class of inductees to five members.

Six decades of history and heroes can’t be condensed into such a small package. It was a mistake from start.

As I said, each of the 25 nominees for 2012 deserves to be enshrined. But at the current rate it would

Darrell Waltrip has reported on the Hall of Fame. Should he be inducted into it this year? (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

take FIVE YEARS for all of them to make it. And that won’t happen for all of them, of course, because each year more new nominees will be added to the mix.

Twenty years from now there will be deserving Hall of Famers still waiting in line. Many  NASCAR fans won’t live to see their favorites get their due recognition.

I thought Waltrip should have been considered for the inaugural class. Certainly he should have been included among the second group. If he’s left out in the third round …? It’ll be a total farce.

Except for Petty, no individual has exerted a greater impact on stock car racing in an on-and-off-the track combination than D.W. Only two drivers (Petty and Pearson) won more races and none other than Petty and Dale Earnhardt had a greater media/marketing impact.

I’m not a Hall of Fame voter and I’m not privy to the criteria used to decide who gets in. But I covered the sport for 40 years and I share the sentiments of many fans who have been rankled by the process. That might help explain the Hall’s disappointing attendance.

As I said from the outset, a NASCAR Hall of Fame was a wonderful idea and long overdue. The heroes and builders of the sport deserve to be recognized and honored. But at times it seems there is as much jeering about who’s been snubbed as cheering for who’s gone in.

At the current rate of inductions, the grousing is destined to continue for, oh, about 20 more years.

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

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, April 26 2011
12 Comments

12 Comments »

  • LJBurgess says:

    How much longer will we ignore more qualified nominees like Richie Evans or Ray Hendrick? When will the Modified and Late Model divisions be recognized for their contributions toward keeping NASCAR alive and well during harder times?

    These are the type of racers that ran in front of the true stock car fans multiple times a week, building brand, track and series loyalties that span familial generations that endure to this day.

    My eight hour round trip to Richmond for this past Thursday’s K&N Pro series and Denny Hamlin’s charity event double header bears witness to this line of reasoning. There were a fair percentage of Kyle Busch fans and a good number of Hamlin’s hometown backers, but the rest of the crowd came to see their local track champions and warriors do battle with the “big boys”, and do battle they did.

    It’s time to set aside the Cup hype and recognize the grassroots players that keep tens of thousands of true, dedicated, stock car fans on the edge of their seats every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night across this broad nation from coast to coast.

    Do it now or regret it later, time is running out.

  • Mr. Racing says:

    There are simple answers to the issue of “getting the numbers up before they all die”-add more categories per yearly induction!

    My suggestion is the NASCAR HOF adopts model used by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as the major sports halls. Categories must be created for ALL worthy contributors, with a max number, but no minimum in any given category per year.

    Anyone inducted is a member of the Hall of Fame, the distinction is only their specific category.

    The R&R HOF divides the inductees into Performers (band members = drivers); Non-Performers (songwriters/producers/label owners = car owners, promoters, like Bud Moore, Humpy, T. Wayne; Early Influences (Non R&R performers like Nat King Cole = early beach or pre-NASCAR racers, such as Donald Campbell or Lloyd Seay; and Sidemen (studio musicians) = crew chiefs or crews, safety and/or mechanical innovators like the Wood Brothers or Bill Simpson, for example.

    Using this model, David Pearson would have been properly recognized in the first class of inductees, as well as the Frances, Raymond Parks and worthy notables such as Ralph Seagraves, Leo Mehl or Smokey Yunick.

    Personally, I think the numbers per category should be 5 drivers, max, per year, plus 1-2 in each of the other categories-with more individuals allowed for exceptional circumstances, i.e., The Wood Brothers, Holman-Moody.

    Members of the media should be honored by the HOF with a named award, but not inducted, similar to baseball’s Ford Frick Award. Thus, a Chris Economaki is honored, but not at the expense of the competitors.

    As for the issue of Glen and Leonard Wood, induct them as the “Wood Brothers”, for indeed that’s what they were, and are.

  • Tim says:

    You left out Bobby Allison. Allison is currently #3 on the list
    of all-time wins…until Jeff Gordon catches up.

    Besides, Bobby Allison is a true genuine gentleman whereas Waltrip,
    on the other hand, is nothing but pure filth and trash.

  • banzaibonnie says:

    Apparently those who thrive on various sites dont appreciate humor, honest emotion,knowledge, nor historical perspective. If sanitized,scripted ,suits are your preferance, espn has them for you in abudance.Just to clarify–I’m not from the south,but I raced more than fifty years ago,myself. It still irritates me, too, that southern, white men seem to be the only group left that can be dissed, with no one protesting, and the media joining in, with glee. Jeff Foxworthy made a fortune off it, so I guess it’s not all bad.Don’t bother replying, as obviously this is a site I won’t be visiting again anytime soon.

  • Brian says:

    I hope neither one of those loud mouths get in….can u imagine the temper tantrum Ol’ Jaws will throw if he’s passed over next year….When is he gonna get it….People just don’t like him and his big ego!!
    As far as “Mikey” goes….he may get in say in 100 years!

  • Lugnut says:

    If he had not bought his way into the much superior car of Junior Johnson, he wouldn’t even be considered for the next ten HOF courts.
    I will be glad when the sane voters of the HOF choose on actual merit verses stats only. Or whether or not Brian France wants a favor!

  • Ken says:

    I think he should be in the Hall as soon as he shuts up and promises to stay shut up.

  • banzaibonnie says:

    Slander,you need to get a life, along with
    all
    the
    Waltrip haters. The two brothers have done more to promote Nascar than any two others. As for D.W., I agree he should have been there last year, but when Pearson didn’t go in the first round I knew there was trouble brewing.

    • slander says:

      My, such a disrespctful tone.

      Never could stand the elder, neither when he was racing, nor after he stopped racing and was merely driving aroung.

      The younger of the two was never very good, as evidenced by the fact that that he averaged one DNF out of every seven starts.

      As ambassadors, they’ve done more to promote the sport as a redneck roundy-round spectacle than any others in the history of NASCAR, as well as being constantly disrespectful and condescending the the established fanbase. If that’s your idea of “promoting” NASCAR, then you are well withing your rights to believe so. Many long-time fans of auto racing (40 years here and counting…)disagree.

      Protip: A little bit of fabric softener applied to the wash will help prevent chafing and irritation of sensitive areas. Get the hint?

  • slander says:

    “It Will Be A Hollow Hall Without D.W.”

    Well, hollow or not, without him it will certainly be a classier one…

  • slander says:

    Now, see here. That’s no way to post on a family-frindly site. There could be impressionable young children reading this, and what you just wrote was terribly, terribly wrong. Try to set a positive example for youngsters by using proper punctuation and capitalization.

  • slander says:

    See what you did? You got me so upset that I misspelled a word.