Easy NASCAR Hall Voting Is Thing Of The Past
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As we walked toward the room in the Charlotte Convention Center prior to voting for the first class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame three years ago, a colleague shook his head and said, man, this could be tough.
Yep, I said, but not as tough as things will get in a couple of years.
That colleague knows exponentially more about racing than do I, but I was correct with my retort that day. On Wednesday, the fourth class for the NASCAR Hall will be debated and selected at that same Convention Center and in going over the list of 25 nominees, it appears from here that all are eminently worthy but none are absolutely essential choices this year.
Five will emerge as this year’s class, but I can’t believe there will be any unanimous choices. Not even close. The guess is that the temperature in that room on Wednesday will be up a few degrees from past voting days. Hey, in the first year – they way I remember – even Richard Petty’s inclusion was debated.
The obvious choices, the ones with the mind-blowing numbers and the myth-making personas, are already in. You know, Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Bill France Sr. among others.
Some of this year’s nominees will be perceived as not-yetters – racers who had great careers and will surely enter the Hall some day, but just not yet. Too soon. Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress and Rusty Wallace come to mind here.
Others suffer from an opposite problem. They did their things – absolute wonderful, pioneering things – long before many of the current voters had their antennae up. Or, were even born. The names of Cotton Owens, Curtis Turner, Fireball Roberts and Tim Flock come to mind here.
Some drivers will lose support because many think more of the older non-drivers need to go in before they are forgotten, and some non-drivers will lose support because there is a thought out there that the Hall needs more big-name drivers.
Should be an interesting day at the Hall of Fame.
The following are the 25 nominees for this year’s Hall of Fame class, listed alphabetically:
Buck Baker, first driver to win consecutive NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series titles (1956-57).
Red Byron, first NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion, in 1949.
Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series.
Jerry Cook, six-time NASCAR Modified champion.
H. Clay Earles, founder of Martinsville Speedway.
Tim Flock, two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion.
Ray Fox, legendary engine builder and owner of cars driven by Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and others.
Anne Bledsoe France, helped build the sport with husband Bill France Sr. Affectionately known as “Annie B.,” she is the first woman to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Rick Hendrick, 13-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series.
Jack Ingram, two-time NASCAR Busch (now Nationwide) Series champion and three-time Late Model Sportsman champion.
Bobby Isaac, 1970 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion.
Fred Lorenzen, 26 wins and winner of the Daytona 500 and World 600.
Cotton Owens, driver-owner, won 1966 owner championship with David Pearson.
Raymond Parks, NASCAR’s first champion car owner.
Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion.
Les Richter, former NASCAR executive; former president of Riverside International Raceway.
Fireball Roberts, 33 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series wins, including the 1962 Daytona 500.
T. Wayne Robertson, helped raise NASCAR popularity as R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company senior VP.
Wendell Scott, NASCAR trailblazer was the first African-American NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series race winner, and first to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Ralph Seagraves, formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.
Herb Thomas, first two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion, 1951, ’53.
Curtis Turner, early personality, called the “Babe Ruth of stock car racing”.
Rusty Wallace, 1989 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion.
Joe Weatherly, two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion.
Leonard Wood, part-owner and former crew chief for Wood Brothers, revolutionized pit stops.2 Comments