Interesting scene this afternoon at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Lots of racing dignitaries were in the house for the announcement of Hall of Fame Class No.2, which I thought should include David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Lee Petty, Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip.
The first three made it. The last two didn't -- they were replaced by Ned Jarrett (the longtime driver/broadcaster/all-around-nice-guy) and Bud Moore (an extremely respected crew chief/owner/war hero).
Nothing against Jarrett and Moore -- who should have gotten in but I believe in Class No.3 -- but I thought Yarborough and Waltrip got the short end of the stick on this one. Both had over 80 victories in NASCAR's top series, rank in the top 5 in victories all-time... and didn't make it.
Yarborough was in South Carolina, scheduled for oral surgery, he told The Observer's Ron Green Jr. earlier in the week. So it was a painful day for him in a couple of respects.
But Waltrip? He was front and center, maybe 30 feet from NASCAR CEO Brian France as the names were announced. After he lost, he had to interview all the winners on TV.
My column will be on Waltrip online and in Thursday's paper -- he was very disappointed, obviously, but thinks he didn't make it because at age 63 he's "too young" and is "going to be around awhile."
When the five names were read and he wasn't among them, I was watching them. His face drained of color.
9 months ago