Wednesday, October 14, 2009

No Pearson? C'mon!

Only two men ever won more than 100 races in NASCAR's top series. Richard Petty is one. David Pearson is the other.

And one of them isn't going into the inaugural Hall of Fame class in Charlotte.

I admit being a bit prejudiced on the side of Pearson, as I spent half my childhood in Spartanburg and that's where Pearson is from. But Pearson is also one of the most gifted racers of any generation, and his record speaks for itself. The Silver Fox won 105 races -- second only to Petty's 200 -- and was one of the smoothest drivers of all time.

However, 40 percent of this first class that was announced Wednesday has been taken up by members of the France family, who basically created NASCAR and have run it for decades. Not only Bill France Sr. is in Class No.1 -- and I'd agree with that one, since he founded the sport -- but also Bill France Jr.

Now Bill France Jr. made some great contributions to the sport, steering it expertly through a period of explosive growth, and there's no doubt he should be in the Hall of Fame.

At some point. Like in Class No.2, in 2011.

But I think the first class should have contained four drivers, not three (Richard Petty, Junior Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Sr. all made it, and rightfully so). The drivers, after all, are who the fans come to see. They are the stars. Pearson, one of the greatest stars ever, deserved to be among them.

13 comments:

Jim said...

Although Dale Earnhardt belongs in the HoF, he does NOT belong in the first class. There were too many before that are far more deserving, Pearson included.

Anonymous said...

Earnhardt won 7 championships, if that isn't deserving of being in the first class, then something is wrong.

Ralph said...

I was surprised that the younger Franz got into the hall of fame. I think the son got in because of who he is. David Pearson deserves to be there long before the younger Franz. good article

DriversFirst said...

Agree with all the above. David Pearson deserves to be in the first HOF class. It's a disgrace that he's not. The credibility of the HOF is now in question.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be great if Richard Petty would refuse to enter the Hall until Pearson does.

Anonymous said...

Junior Johnson vs. David Pearson is the only debate. Bill Sr. and Bill Jr., duh, it's their show. The "King" and The "Intimidator" were simply no brainers.

From my standpoint it boils down to the fact that Junior Johnson was a fulltime employee (contractor) for NASCAR until the early nineties and David Pearson, albeit the number 2 driver in terms of wins, only showed up to take the prize money home. In short, he didn't pay enough dues.

Don't fret, the "Silver Fox" will be inducted in the next class.

David said...

I agree with Jim. David Pearson should have been in the inaugural HOF class! Compared to others, Dale Earnhardt is a "newbie". I don't care what he won. The HOF has already screwed this up because if anyone caught DW's comments on the preview show. Many of the guys "Don't" have HOF numbers. WTH!!

Hey DW, those early drivers came before you or Dale or Richard or David. They set records and standards, "in their day" that were considered records! Is the HOF going to ignore them because of Numbers? What numbers do we go by? Wins? Championships? Years raced?

Guys like Red Byron, Carl Kiekhafer, etc, should have got in. Kiekhafer was the Hendrick of his day. Red set records that all after him had to break. Why didn't he make it in? First race winner! First NASCAR Champion! He was treated like dirt yesterday.

I have been a fan since 1971 as well as a Pearson fan and Wood Brothers fan just as long since then.

I'll be the first to say others should have got in the inaugural HOF class first over Pearson or any others that were elected yesterday. But since the HOF screwed it up already......then David Pearson should have got the vote over newbie Dale Earnhardt.

How is that for rattling your cage race fans? SIGH!

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Silver Fox belongs in the first class of the HOF..........he is definitely FIRST CLASS all the way!!!

Anonymous said...

NASCAR why only FIVE? There should be different categories for inductees,founders,owners,media,drivers and crew! Set a vote minimum for each category and take nominations for each. You either get enough votes to make it or not with a limit of five per category. Yes, the ceremonies for the first few years would be long but well worth it in the long haul. This way drivers don't compete with owners or engine builders or crew chiefs. The best of each get in period.

Anonymous said...

The Hall of Fame is already functioning perfectly. With all due respect to Junior, I would have picked Pearson first too. But what the Hall promises us is these debates every year from now on. It is in these debates that kids learn about the old guys and old guys remember the good times.

How did we ever make it without a Hall of fame to give fans one more thing to argue about?

Anonymous said...

The Hall of Fame is already functioning perfectly. With all due respect to Junior, I would have picked Pearson first too. But what the Hall promises us is these debates every year from now on. It is in these debates that kids learn about the old guys and old guys remember the good times.

How did we ever make it without a Hall of fame to give fans one more thing to argue about?

Anonymous said...

I agree that France Jr and Earnhardt didn't belong in first class. Why does everyone feel Dale Sr. is the best ever? Jeff Gordon is by far a better driver than Dale and Jimmie Johnson is getting there as well (And I HATE Hendrick Motorsports but respect the drivers).

Pearson should take Dale's spot and Benny Parsons should have taken Bill Jr's spot.

Even more laughable, the notion that Dale Jr. is a future hall of famer! Maybe in the silver spoon Hall O Fame with Paul Menard!

Anonymous said...

What the heck is all this hoopla about Pearson? Geez, did he pay you people off? I would have thought there would have been more yelling because Cale (3 championships in a row) wasn't in the first. When was the last time you saw a David Pearson bumper or window sticker? I travel around this country every week and I ALWAYS see #3 stickers in every state I pass thru. It's not always about the stats. Richard and Dale had to be in the first. I'm not going to see a HOF that only has the very first pioneers in there. Bring the biggest and most well known drivers in and then educate the fans about the pioneers. Dale brought more people to NASCAR for loving and hating him than any other driver. It's because of him that drivers now pull in big bucks for endorsments and soveniers. I voted for Tim Flock, not Jr. Johnson, but I'm ok with Jr. Can't believe that almost 9 years after we lost Dale there are still people who won't acknowledge what he did for this sport.