- Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 July 2009 15:46
- Published on Wednesday, 08 July 2009 15:46
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This past Thursday, NASCAR announced the list of nominees for the inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame induction class in a one-hour special on the Speed Channel hosted by Ken Squires. From that list, five inductees will be chosen via a process that includes a nationwide fan vote on NASCAR.com. The inductees will be announced in October and honored in May at the new Hall of Fame facility in Charlotte, N.C.
The nominees, which include many of the sport’s legendary names, were selected by a 21-person nominating committee consisting of representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and track owners from both major facilities and historic short tracks.
“This first list of potential inductees is impressive, to say the least,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “Now comes the hard part, choosing only five to be inducted. Every single person on this list is worthy to be in the Hall of Fame.”
The Hall of Fame’s first inductees will be determined by the voting panel, which has 50 members, the entire nominating committee, 14 media members, four manufacturer representatives, two recognized industry leaders, and nine retired competitors — consisting of drivers, owners and crew chiefs, three each. In addition, the fan vote will result in the voting panel’s 51st and final ballot.
So who are your choices? All have Hall of Fame credentials, but one of the problems is comparing personalities from different eras. Those of us who have followed the sport from its early days, will remember the exploits of stars such as Tim Flock, Herb Thomas and Curtis Turner. Ask my son or brother-in-law and they would give you a quizzical look, “Tim who?” Seems inevitably they will need an old timer’s committee.
Narrowing the inaugural list to just 25 names is surely a thankless, near impossible job. We all have our personal list of “must include” names. For example, how can you leave off Henry “Smokey” Yunick, perhaps the greatest mechanical mind the sport has ever seen? But OK, the list is the list.
My personal picks for the inaugural class are Bill France Sr., Raymond Parks, Tim Flock, Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominees
Bobby Allison, 1983 Sprint Cup Series champion and winner of 84 races
Buck Baker, first driver to win consecutive Spring Cup Championships
Red Byron, first Sprint Cup champion in 1949
Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in three national NASCAR series
Dale Earnhardt, won record seven Sprint Cup championships
Richie Evans, nine-time NASCAR modified champion
Tim Flock, two-time Sprint Cup champion
Bill France, Sr., NASCAR founder and first president (1948-1972)
Bill France, Jr., NASCAR president, chairman and COE (1972-2003)
Rick Hendrick, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series
Ned Jarrett, two-time Sprint Cup champion
Junior Johnson, 50 wins as a driver, 132 wins and six championships as an owner
Bud Moore, 63 wins and two Sprint Cup titles as a car owner
Raymond Parks, NASCAR’s first champion car owner
Benny Parsons, 1973 Sprint Cup Champion
David Pearson, 105 victories and three Sprint Cup championships
Lee Petty, winner of the first Daytona 500 and three-time series champion
Richard Petty, 200 wins and seven Sprint Cup titles, both records
Fireball Roberts, won 33 Cup races, including the 1962 Daytona 500
Herb Thomas, first one-time Spring Cup Champion, 1951 and 1953
Curtis Turner, early personality, called the “Babe Ruth of stock car racing”
Darrell Waltrip, winner of 84 races and three Sprint Cup Championships
Joe Weatherly, two-time Sprint Cup champion, 1962 and 1963
Glen Wood, as driver, laid foundation for Wood Brothers future team success
Cale Yarborough, winner of three consecutive Sprint Cup championships 1976-78