Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The 2011 NASCAR hall of fame class should be....

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.

1 comment:

J said...

I usually disagree with you on some point on each subject, but I'm with you on this one. The only quibble I might have is including Dale Inman over Lee Petty, but I'd be satisfied either way.

I said this on Jim Utter's blog, and I'll say it here too: I'm not going to be surprised if only 3 drivers get in and the other 2 spots are given to France family members or groupies - Brian France, Gary Nelson, Jim Darby, Mike Helton and Robin Pemberton come to mind.

No one will ever convince me that the First Family has no role in who gets voted in. Big Bill, Bill Jr. and Brian France all have the same philosophy - "I'M THE BOSS, AND ABSOLUTELY NO QUESTIONING OF MY DECREES WILL EVER BE TOLERATED!!!!!!!!!!!" The first 2 could be forgiven to some degree, because in addition to this management style, they did manage to grow their sport in ways that will never be duplicated. Brian France is the worst sports leader of all time, even worse than Ziegler in the NHL and Seilig in MLB. But you can bet your last dollar he's going to get voted into the Hall, sooner rather than later.