Sunday, January 25, 2009

NASCAR Hall of Fame: First Ballot Nods

Over at Yahoo! Sports, writer Jay Busbee (whom I enjoy reading for multiple subject areas in the Blogs area) posed the following question:
"Who would you vote for to be included in NASCAR's inaugural Hall of Fame class in 2010?"

Without a doubt from the list he provided, the five names I selected were (in alphabetical order):
- Dale Earnhardt
- Bill France Sr.
- Junior Johnson
- David Pearson
- Richard Petty

This collection includes the two top winningest drivers (Petty and Pearson), the most championships (Earnhardt and Petty, not to mention Pearson or Johnson not being slouches in their own right), car ownership (Johnson, Petty, and, to a lesser extent, Earnhardt), and the undeniable foundation of the sport (Big Bill France). Earnhardt's inclusion goes without saying ... a must for a first-ballot HOF induction. France is almost equally undeniable - the man spearheaded the creation of what is NASCAR. Johnson was (and in some ways, still is) a great driver, innovator, and creative force in making the Rick Hendrick's and Chad Knaus's of the world what they are today. Pearson was most likely the best driver without fanfare or spotlight you will EVER find in all of NASCAR. How David Pearson (the Silver Fox) could be overlooked on ANY ballot given his remarkable winning percentage (and second on the all-time wins list) is beyond me. Finally, Richard "The King" Petty is the epitome of what NASCAR was, what it is, and what it continue to be. The King is the ongoing face of the sport (sorry, not Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, or Dale Earnhardt, Jr., to name but a few) ... until someone surpasses the mark of seven titles (which Earnhardt nearly did), The King will still be THE KING.

I didn't read the long list of comments made by other readers, but the only other names I would consider in argument as "potential" inclusions are Bill France, Jr., Lee Petty, and Cale Yarborough with an outside shot for Darrel Waltrip or Rick Hendrick. Tim Flock and Fireball Roberts certainly seem merited for an extended first class but no later than a second class ... not to mention Curtis Turner, Bobby Allison, or the Wood Brothers.

So MANY good choices from Day One ... long overdue.