The second NASCAR Hall of Fame class will be announced today. I'm not on the voting panel, but here are the five men I hope will get in:
The second NASCAR Hall of Fame class will be announced Wednesday afternoon. I'm not on the voting panel, but here are the five men I hope will get in:
David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip and Lee Petty.
I've written much of this before, but to review: My second class would be a lot heavier on drivers and lighter on businessmen than that first class was.
The hall of fame's first class - Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Junior Johnson, Bill France Sr. and Bill France Jr. - had many wonderful qualities but also one big issue. I wouldn't have put two Frances in it - 40 percent of the first class didn't need to go to NASCAR's founding family. Both businessmen deserved a spot, certainly, but Bill France Jr. could have waited a year or two.
Given that's how the voting turned out, though, I'm going with five men who did their best work as drivers for Class No. 2, because that's what this sport is really about. Going fast.
Why these five?
David Pearson won 105 races at NASCAR's top level, second only to Richard Petty's 200. The "Silver Fox" should have entered with that first class. Richard Petty believes this, and a whole lot of other folks do, too. He's a given this year.
Bobby Allison is tied for third on the all-time Sprint Cup win list (with Waltrip) with 84 victories. Should be a shoo-in.
Darrell Waltrip can go all "boogity-boogity" on you at times, but the guy was an incredible driver long before he became the sport's most well-known color analyst. With 84 victories and three season titles, he deserves a spot.
Cale Yarborough never gave an inch on the track. A former all-state high school fullback in South Carolina, he drove every lap like it was fourth-and-goal while winning 83 races and three season championships.
Lee Petty was perhaps best known for shepherding son Richard's career, but he won 54 races and three season championships himself, as well as the first-ever Daytona 500 in 1959. And talk about a competitor: Lee Petty lodged an official protest at the first race Richard won. The protest was successful and Lee Petty ended up as the race's winner instead of his son.