With this being an off weekend and May right around the corner, my brain is fixated on the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The 2014 class of inductees were the following: Tim Flock, Dale Jarrett, Maurice Petty, Fireball Roberts, and Jack Ingram.
Ingram was a guest of Drafting the Circuits a week before the announcement was made!
I believe NASCAR is doing well getting the journeymen into the Hall, I know there are more names that need inducting to round out NASCAR’s vast and storied history.
Following are the 20 nominees for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, listed alphabetically (courtesy of the NASCAR Hall of Fame):
Buddy Baker, won 19 times in NASCAR’s premier (now Sprint Cup) series, including the Daytona 500 and Southern 500
Red Byron, first NASCAR premier series champion, in 1949
Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series
Jerry Cook, six-time NASCAR Modified champion
Bill Elliott, 1988 premier series champion, two-time Daytona 500 winner and 16-time Most Popular Driver
Ray Fox, legendary engine builder and owner of cars driven by Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and others
Rick Hendrick, 14-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series
Bobby Isaac, 1970 NASCAR premier series champion
Terry Labonte, Two-time NASCAR premier series champion
Fred Lorenzen, 26 wins and winner of the Daytona 500 and World 600
Raymond Parks, NASCAR’s first champion car owner
Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR premier series champion
Larry Phillips, only five-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion
Wendell Scott, NASCAR trailblazer was the first African-American NASCAR premier series race winner, and first to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
O. Bruton Smith, builder of Charlotte Motor Speedway and architect of Speedway Motorsports Inc.
Mike Stefanik, winner of record-tying nine NASCAR championships
Curtis Turner, early personality, called the “Babe Ruth of stock car racing”
Joe Weatherly, two-time NASCAR premier series champion
Rex White, 1960 NASCAR premier series champion
Robert Yates, won NASCAR premier series championship as both an engine builder and owner
The names above are all deserving – or will be eventually. I know that ideally I’d like to see the frontiersmen of the sport enter in first. But the formula of each class has to equal a compelling mix of historic and contemporary idols to bring the crowds.
Some have balked at the inclusion of Darrell Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, and Dale Jarrett into the NASCAR Hall of Fame before they’ve had time to “season” a bit. It’s not that people feel they are completely undeserving, but that the founding fathers of NASCAR should have come first.
Names like Ray Parks, Red Byron, Curtis Turner, Joe Weatherly, and Rex White are among the names bandied about for what is becoming nearly “too late” for getting in at a reasonable time for their early importance and mark in the sport. Others say mechanic and magician Red Vogt should be included.
But, the reality is, NASCAR needs to do the combination of old and new, “regular” and modified, and those in line with NASCAR’s philosophy to get in to the Hall.
All I can say is, I, too have been vocal about my ideal choices for each season’s nominees/inductees.
Using the Drafting the Circuits radio program I have scheduled the likes of Margaret Sue Turner Wright, Curtis’ daughter, and Amanda Lorenzen, Fred’s daughter, to keep those drivers’ names in the minds of my peers who vote.
I figured it worked with Ingram so perhaps lightening will continue to strike!
What is your ideal NASCAR Hall of Fame 2015 list of inductees? The list is limited to five. It’s not as easy as it seems. I’m anxious to read YOURS!