Martin Should Be Elected To Hall On First Ballot

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Wednesday, May 20 2015
Mark Martin could be/should be headed to the Hall of Fame. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Gregg Ellman)

Mark Martin could be/should be headed to the Hall of Fame. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Gregg Ellman)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – For the fourth year in a row, it appears that a first-ballot candidate will be elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame this year.

That will be the case, at least, if other voters feel the way I do and elect Mark Martin into the Hall.

hallf of fame logoMartin’s numbers and his less tangible contributions to NASCAR certainly deserve consideration.

The numbers:

– 40 victories in the Cup series, which testify to his driving ability.

– 882 starts in the Cup series, which testifies for his longevity.

– 96 victories in NASCAR national series, which testifies to his breadth.

– Five-times a runner up in Cup championship campaigns, which testifies to his commitment.

– Two wins in the Southern 500, which gives him the crown jewel wins necessary for entry into the Hall.

Numbers aside, however, Martin is one of those NASCAR personalities that exemplified the qualities that made him a fans of fans and peers alike. The guy drove hard but clean and how many times did you hear other drivers say that they wished everybody drove the way Mark Martin drove.

In Martin’s case, it is a question of both what he did and how he did it.

My first interview with Martin did not go well. It was at a lunch break during testing at Kansas Speedway back in the early 2000s. The thing is, drivers don’t like to spend their lunch breaks in testing talking to reporters and Martin let that be known.

A simple question about the Roush Racing’s struggles that year produced a piercing 20-second stare followed by this: If you knew the first thing about racing you wouldn’t ask that kind of stupid question.

Dan Zacharias, Ford’s wonderful public relations rep, had to step in when I tried to rephrase and re-ask.

Oh well. I had a job to do and Martin had a job to do and the world continued to spin forward. As did my respect for Martin.

This afternoon, in that conference room in the Charlotte Convention Center that will host voting for the Class of 2016, I will vote for Martin.

And the hope is that he joins Rusty Wallace (2013), Maurice Petty (2014) and Bill Elliott (2015) as a first-ballot inductee.

Also on today’s ballot are Buddy Baker, Red Byron, Richard Childress, Jerry Cook, Ray Evernham, Ray Fox, Rick Hendrick, Harry Hyde, Bobby Isaac, Alan Kulwicki, Terry Labonte, Hershel McGriff, Raymond Parks, Benny Parsons, Larry Phillips, Bruton Smith, Mike Stefanik, Curtis Turner and Robert Yates.

Evernham, Hyde, Kulwicki and McGriff will all be on the ballot for the first time.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Wednesday, May 20 2015
One Comment

One Comment »

  • Rick Norris says:

    There is no excuse for Red Byron not to have already been inducted in the Hall. After he was the First. Period.