Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Who should follow in the footsteps of Pearson, Allison, Petty, Jarrett, and Moore into 2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame? Thinking Yarborough, Waltrip, Inman...

Earlier tonight (Tuesday) on SPEED, NASCAR unveiled the 25 nominees to be considered for induction into the third class of the NASCAR Hall Of Fame that will be coming up in January 2012, instead of May. (NASCAR wanted to make the Hall of Fame induction be the main focus, not anything else.) I believe that that the NASCAR media and fans have already seen just how hard its going to be in choosing five NASCAR legends from a list of 25 to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

When you look back at the second class, there were a lot of people surprised at the who would be inducted, of course David Pearson was high on the list and so was Lee Petty, but those two were the only names on my list as Bobby Allison, Ned Jarrett and Bud Moore were all surprised, welcome surprises I might add, but surprises.  

Nonetheless, here we are again as NASCAR announces the 25 nominees to be considered for the 2012 Hall of Fame class. But before I get to the list, please keep in mind, it will take several years for all of the biggest legends to get it, but the thing is, they will all be in, in one year or another.

With that said, So now in looking at the 2011 Hall of Fame 25 nominees for third class, I have to say what a tough list to choice from as was last year as only 5 new names were added. Of course everybody has their own suggestions as due I, but I will say that I was a little surprised that one or two names where left off the list for the third year in a row, but that’s the way it is.

I mean one name that was mentioned in the media and among a few drivers and crew chiefs before the 25 names were announced was Smokey Yunick, Yunick was a mechanic, builder, and crew chief. The second name that should be on this list in the next few years should be legendary crew chief Harry Hyde. And even a third would be Rusty Wallace.

However, when it comes to picking these five names, most people will find that two names should be a lock, of course they would be Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip, both would be perfect for the third class just by their records in NASCAR. But the last three, those will be discussed at length. Here are the 25 nominees:

• Buck Baker, the first driver to win consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championships with 46 Cup wins
• Red Byron, first NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, in 1949 and two Cup Series victories
• Richard Childress, as of today (4/19/2011), 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series including 6 Cup Championship as a car owner and 76 top 10’s as a driver before becoming an owner in 1969 - present
• Jerry Cook, six-time NASCAR Modified champion, 342 Modified wins
• Richie Evans, nine-time NASCAR Modified champion including eight consecutively from 1978-85
• Tim Flock, two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, 39 Cup Series wins
• Rick Hendrick, as of today (4/19/2011), he has 13-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series including 10 Cup Series Championships and 196 Cup wins.
• Jack Ingram, 31 Nationwide wins, 5-time Nationwide Champion (1972-74, 1982, 1985)
• Dale Inman, Crew Chief (1958-1992) 193 Cup wins, 8 Cup titles and won 27 races in 1967 (with the same racecar)
• Fred Lorenzen, 26 Cup wins, won Daytona 500 and World 600 in 1965
• Raymond Parks, NASCAR's first champion car owner, 2 wins, 1949 Cup Champion with Red Byron
• Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, 21 Cup wins, 283 Cup Top 10’s and an amazing TV Broadcaster
• Glenn “Fireball” Roberts, won 33 NASCAR Sprint Cup races, including the 1962 Daytona 500, won 7 races at Daytona and twice Southern 500 winner
• T. Wayne Robertson, Executive Sports Marketing, Aligned NASCAR with R.J. Reynolds to create Winston Cup Series, Oversaw creation of the NASCAR All-Star race
• Herb Thomas, first two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, 1951 and '53, 48 Cup wins and 3 Southern 500
• Curtis Turner, 17 Cup wins, 22 convertible wins in 1956, first to win Daytona 500, Southern 500, Coca-Cola 600 in same year
• Darrell Waltrip, winner of 84 races, three NASCAR Sprint Cup championships, 1989 Daytona 500 winner and TV Broadcaster
• Joe Weatherly, two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, 25 Cup wins and won 101 Modified races
• Glen Wood, as driver, laid foundation for Wood Brothers' future team success, Driver/Owner (1953-1964), 4 Cup wins as a driver, 98 Cup wins
• Cale Yarborough, Driver (1957-1988), winner of three consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup titles, 1976-78, 83 Cup wins and 4-Time Daytona 500 winner

Five new nominees for 2011:

• H. Clay Earles, Track promoter of Martinsville Speedway, Built and opened Martinsville Speedway in 1947 and the only facility to host a Cup Series race since the series inception in 1949
• Bobby Isaac, Competed from 1961-1976 with 37 Cup wins and won the 1970 Cup Series Championship
• Cotton Owens, Driver and Owner from 1950-1973, 9 Cup wins as a driver, 38 Cup wins as an owner (27 with David Pearson driving)
• Les “Coach” Richter, Executive and Promoter, named NASCAR executive VP of Competition in 1986 and Senior VP in 1992
• Leonard Wood, Owner from 1950 to Present, 98 Cup wins

Here is my top 5 list 

1. Cale Yarborough: Driver (1957-1988), winner of three consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup titles, 1976-78, 83 Cup wins and 4-Time Daytona 500 winner.
2. Darrell Waltrip: Winner of 84 races, three NASCAR Cup Series championships and TV broadcaster
3. H. Clay Earles, Track promoter of Martinsville Speedway, Built and opened Martinsville Speedway in 1947 and the only facility to host a Cup Series race since the series inception in 1949
4. Dale Inman: Crew Chief (1958-1992) 193 Cup wins, 8 Cup titles and won 27 races in 1967
5. Richie Evans: Nine-time NASCAR Modified champion including eight consecutively from 1978-85

If you wanted a 6th legend and I suggested this legend last year too, you might want to consider Raymond Parks. Parks was one of the driving forces behind NASCAR and owned the first championship car. He is one of the reasons why NASCAR exists today.

One note, for the fourth class, I would say that T. Wayne Robertson will be among the front runners. In T. Wayne Robertson case, you don’t have to be a driver, crew chief or owner to have made an impact in the sport of NASCAR. And sponsorship is huge in NASCAR and so is the All-Star race.

So what does everybody think, I know that by the end of this month at Richmond, mostly everybody around will weigh in on who should be the first five names to be third class, but I want to know what everybody thinks including my readers, who would you choose and why?



Full Disclosure: This article was originally published on Brian Vermette's former blog called BVinsight, however once RaceDriven.com was re-launched and rebrand, BVinsight was renamed BVDaily with 33 of 44 articles being published here on RaceDriven due to subject.