Follow me on

Twitter Feed Facebook Feed RSS Feed Linked In Youtube

Bill Sr., Billy Jr., the Intimidator, the King, and the 'Last American Hero' -- the first five in NASCAR's newest Hall of Fame

   Too bad Dale Earnhardt -- just voted into the new Hall of Fame -- isn't around to give Jimmie Johnson a run for the money in this year's championship chase. Could JJ take the heat...and play the head games? Wouldn't it be fun to watch? Bet California Speedway would have some bigger crowds if the Intimidator were in the field. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   No surprises here: Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr., Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty and Junior Johnson are the first five men voted into NASCAR's newest Hall of Fame, in downtown Charlotte, in a brief ceremony Wednesday afternoon, at the Charlotte Convention Center, next to the site of the new Hall, which is still under construction and set to open next spring.
   NASCAR CEO Brian France made a few remarks, and a number of stock car racing celebrities were on hand to mark the occasion.
   But all in all it was a surprisingly low-keyed event, to help kick off NASCAR's fifth race of the championship chase, at Lowe's Motor Speedway just up the road Saturday night. 
    Jimmie Johnson and several Rick Hendrick teammates have dominated the playoffs so far, and they will likely be among the men to beat in Saturday's 500.
   The men picked Wednesday: Bill France Sr. was the founder of NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway; Bill France Jr. ran NASCAR from when his father retired in 1972 and presided over the meteoric rise of the sport; Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt are the only two seven-time NASCAR champions; and Junior Johnson, who won the 1960 Daytona 500 and is credited with discovering 'the draft,' and who also won 50 NASCAR races as a driver, is most renowned for his six championships as an owner.
   The voters? A complex mix of NASCAR executives, industry figures, and some media, with a fan vote too. NASCAR said that more than 670,000 fans voted online: the fans' top-five: Petty, Earnhardt, Bill France Sr., Cale Yarborough and Bobby Allison.
   But wait. Isn't there already a NASCAR racing Hall of Fame?
   Why yes. In fact, and it's been headquartered at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina since it was created in 1965.
   And there's the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega, Ala.
   So why this new Hall of Fame?
   Because NASCAR is looking for more traffic and more visibility – for marketing and promotion, of course. So this is being billed as 'the' NASCAR Hall of Fame – and is on a downtown plaza that will host both the tourist attraction and a NASCAR business complex in the heart of the city where NASCAR ran its first race, back in 1949.
   And this is to be a very high-tech and memorabilia-filled attraction.

   The First Five...Certainly! But why not just put all 82 men already in NASCAR's Darlington Hall of Fame in this one? At five per year, it will take 16 years for all 82 to make it in the new Hall? By then Jimmie and Jeff, and, hey, maybe even Dale Jr., will be ready to be inducted. Or maybe NASCAR execs want to weed out some of those 82? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   Of course the first NASCAR Hall of Fame is still around, once known as the Joe Weatherly Stock Car Racing Museum, where the National Motorsports Press Association has been inducting Hall of Famers since 1965:
   The NASCAR legends already in NASCAR's NMPA Hall of Fame:
   BOBBY ALLISON (inducted in 1993).
   SAM ARD (1999)
   BUCK BAKER (1982)
   BUDDY BAKER (1997)
   NEIL BONNETT (1997)
   RED BYRON (1966)
   BOB COLVIN (1969)
   JERRY COOK (1989)
   H. CLAY EA  RLES (2000)
   RICHIE EVANS (1986)
   BOB FLOCK (1981)
   FONTY FLOCK (1965)
   TIM FLOCK (1973)
   RAY FOX SR. (1985)
   A.J. FOYT (2001)
   BILL FRANCE SR. (1976)
   BILL FRANCE JR. (2001)
   HARRY GANT (2003)
   BARNEY HALL (2007)
   RAY HENDRICK (1993)
   JOHN HOLMAN (1980)
   HARRY HYDE (2004)
   JACK INGRAM (1997)
   DALE INMAN (2002)
   BOBBY ISAAC (1979)
   NED JARRETT (1973)
   RALPH MOODY (1990)
   BUD MOORE (2002)
   BILLY MYERS (1968)
   ED OTTO (2002)
   COTTON OWENS (1970)
   MARVIN PANCH (1987)
   JIM PASCHAL (1977)
   LEE PETTY (1969)
   PAT PURCELL (1967)
   TIM RICHMOND (2004)
   PAUL SAWYER (2006)
   JACK SMITH (1981)
   BRUTON SMITH (2006)
   HERB THOMAS (1965)
   RED VOGT (1979)
   T. TAYLOR WARREN (2009)
   BOB WELBORN (1982)
   REX WHITE (1974)
   GLEN WOOD (2001)
   LEONARD WOOD (2002)

  NASCAR's A-list: The Hall of Fame voters. How many can you name? Wonder who ol' Smokey would have picked for his NASCAR Hall of Fame? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


NASCAR's A-list - How many

NASCAR's A-list - How many can I name? I'll give it a shot -

I can see -

Jerry Punch. Ned Jarrett. Mike Joy. Gary Nelson. Howard A. Wheeler. Winston Kelley. Harry Gant. Junior Johnson. Jim Hunter (Nice suit on Jim, better than that hat I saw him with at NHMS). Ken Squier. Mike Helton.

Darn it - I'm stumped on the others.

Me too ;)

Me too ;)

How Pearson got shafted for

How Pearson got shafted for France Jr. is sad. France Jr. deserves to be in there (meaning eventually), but Pearson, Yarborough, and maybe even DW should have went in before France Jr. One "executive" was a plenty. Fans don't come to the race in support of them.

The 'new' Hall of Fame should

The 'new' Hall of Fame should include all the 82 inducted into NASCAR's Darlington Hall of Fame over the past 45 years...and then five new guys: which five new guys (need to be retired for five years I think) would you have added to that list of 82 Hall of Famers?

Mike, I'll give you a few

I'll give you a few more reasons why there's a "new" NASCAR HOF. Neither the NMPA HOF nor the International Motorsports HOF have promoted themselves adequately. As a fan, you hear about them in passing a few times a year, but there has never been a "Hey, come on down a check us out! We've got this and that that might interest you, Mr. and Mrs. Racefan" from either.

Buddy Baker always promotes both on Sirius when a Talladega or Darlington weekend is upcoming. Other than that, nothing. Whoever promotes them has done a poor job in solidifying these HOFs as attractions and as the premier place of enshrinement for the sport's greatest. Same goes for the North and South Carolina Driver's HOFs. I live within a half-day's drive of all of these places and yet, I've never been to any of them.

NASCAR sensed the void and did what they do best. Create an event, and a place to hold it, and promote the crap out of it. They have garnered more press about the inaugural class than the NMPA and IMHOF have in their entire existence. They now have THE Hall of Fame for the fans, not just another old boys' club. Sucks as far as tradition goes, but just like on the track, if you're standing still, you get left behind.

Excellent points: it's all

Excellent points: it's all about promotion. And location, location, location, too. Charlotte makes sense from both sides.
But what about the 82 NASCAR Hall of Famers already inducted? Do we just forget about them? Heck, half the fans today probably don't even remember Dale Sr., much less Smokey Yunick and some of the others. I think it does a disservice to those inducted into the Darlington Hall since 1965 to just brush them under the rug, as if 40 years of NASCAR history never happened.
And what really happened to all those cars and stuff that was donated to the Darlington Hall?

In response to both of your

In response to both of your posts above, as is always the case with NASCAR, building/creating the NASCAR HOF is about money and really nothing more. Instead of promoting/building up/buying out the HOF in Darlington and making it bigger and better, NASCAR acts like it does not exist and decides that they're going to build their own. Anything that happened before now as far as any HOF's go is no longer valid because it did not have NASCAR's almighty stamp of approval on it. Instead of fans going to Darlington or Talladega to see some real history, now they'll be going to Charlotte to a commercialized P.O.S.

Two Frances and no Pearson

Two Frances and no Pearson means that, once again, someone got "the call".

What does "fame" mean?

What does "fame" mean? Evidently something other that what I thought. Would the fans that have attended the races through the years even recognize or cherish a meeting with the Frances as opposed to meeting a driver like Pearson? What were the voters thinking when they elected two administrators in the first five?

You may say that Pearson will make it next year and all will be well, but the stigma of being ranked lower than the first five will never go away.

I agree that David Pearson,

I agree that David Pearson, arguably the best driver in NASCAR history, should not have been so ignored. That's disgraceful.

My strong viewpoint is that the first 'class' for the new Hall of Fame should be the 82 people who have already been inducted in the Hall of Fame at Darlington Speedway since 1965 by the National Motorsports Press Association. That's 45 years of NASCAR history being pointedly ignored.

The voters? Hmmm. Have you checked out the voters and the voting rules? A bit of gimcrackery, I might suggest.

I'm kind of surprised David

I'm kind of surprised David Pearson didn't make the HOF. Everyone thought the 5th spot was between Waltrip and Pearson. I don't mind there being only 5 making it. It makes the spots more important imo, if that makes any sense.

the idea of 'voting' just

the idea of 'voting' just five men into the hall of fame, for a sport that has been running for more than 60 years is not only dumb but insensitive, not to mention not very good for business..and it's suspicious. One of my points is that the men running NASCAR's newest hall of fame are purposely trying to ignore the 82 men who have been inducted into the stock car racing hall of fame at Darlington Speedway since 1965. Voting five of them a year into this new hall -- at that rate it would take some 15 years to get them inducted again...and meanwhile what about the Jimmie Johnsons and Jeff Gordons....It looks obvious that NASCAR executives simply want to prune the list of Hall of Famers and effective kick out the ones they think dont belong. That's more than wrong, that's arrogant. And since the National Motorsports Press Association has been handling the voting for NASCAR's Darlington Hall of Fame all these years, one would think members of the NMPA would have the good conscience to recognize all this and step up. The fact that the NMPA has so quietly acquiesced in all this reflects on the credibility of that organization.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

© 2010-2011 www.mikemulhern.net All rights reserved.
Web site by www.webdesigncarolinas.com