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A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Cale Yarborough? Time to reconsider this whole thing

  Jimmie Johnson and Cale Yarborough (R), in New York City. How much credibility does a NASCAR Hall of Fame really have without Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip and Alan Kulwiciki and Curtis Turner.... (Photo: Getty Images in NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern



   NASCAR's new Hall of Fame, in the heart of downtown Charlotte, should be an instant success.
   A great location smack in the middle of the home of stock car racing....plenty of enthusiastic promotion by boss man Winston Kelley... powerful, emotional exhibits, with brilliant, even whimsical, presentations....
   Unfortunately the haphazard and misguided approach the Daytona-based sanctioning body has taken in selecting the legends to be honored takes a lot of the luster and impact off the whole thing.

   And the media's complacency in this is disturbing.
   So, for all the pomp and circumstance, and TV cameras and media crush, in this week's announcement of another five men to be enshrined – making a total of 10 now – there are a few things that should be pointed out.
   Bluntly, inducting just five men a year is simply wrong-headed.
   There are at least 60 or 70 stock car racing legends who should be in this Hall of Fame right now.

  Curtis Turner: The man Bruton Smith says is the best racer in NASCAR history. But not in NASCAR's new Hall of Fame? (Photo: NASCAR)

   And to watch the sport's media arguing the 'merits' of picking, say, Bud Moore over Cale Yarborough or Darrell Waltrip, is upsetting – contrived misdirection. All three should be in, and many more.
   This Hall needs to play catch-up, and quickly.
   In fact the sport's bosses are handling this aspect of this new NASCAR attraction in a downright parochial manner -- a standoffish arrogance...which might well be mirrored in the sport's current slump in TV ratings for the championship chase. 
   The ratings for the first four Sprint Cup playoff races are off a whopping 30 percent.
   And why?
   Can't blame the economy that much. The National Football League appears to be thriving.
   Can't blame the action out of the track. These drivers have been going gangbusters out there.
   Maybe it's a matter of 'attitude' in all of this.


  Bobby Allison, once NASCAR's 'bad boy,' now one of the newest Hall of Famers (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   To the point, consider:

   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Curtis Turner?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Glen and Leonard Wood?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Fireball Roberts?  
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Smokey Yunick?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Cale Yarborough?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Darrell Waltrip?
   You've got to be kidding....
   For all the glitz and glamour and great exhibits, this project is hampered by one very basic problem: this Hall is all but empty of the many stars and legends who made this sport and who should be enshrined.
   NASCAR stock car racing has a glorious legacy spanning more than 60 years.
   But the current induction process is, to be blunt, a joke. With media quiescence.

   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Alan Kulwicki?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Fred Lorenzen?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Dale Inman?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Lee Roy Yarbrough?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Wendell Scott?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Tim Richmond and Harry Hyde?


  The Golden Boy: Fred Lorenzen. But not in NASCAR's new Hall of Fame? (Photo: NASCAR)

   Five men a year?
   The media covering this part of the sport, and participating in this, should be reconsidering.

   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Banjo Matthews?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Ralph Seagraves and T. Wayne Robertson?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Clay Earles?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Paul Sawyer?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Richie Evans?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Herb Thomas?

   Where is the sense of history here?
   How many of these 'voters,' the ones hand-picked by NASCAR, even know Banjo or Ralph or Alan and their impact on this sport?
   That everyone involved in this venture has tried so assiduously to ignore the long-running stock car racing Hall of Fame at Darlington Raceway, for so many years the sport's official Hall of Fame, should be embarrassing. There are 86 legends in the Darlington Hall, 86 men who helped build this sport, and so far 76 of them have been all but ignored by the people in charge of this new Hall.


  Dale Inman (R): The greatest crew chief in stock car racing history.... but not in NASCAR's new Hall of Fame? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without John Holman and Ralph Moody?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Harry Gant?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Joe Weatherly?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Bobby Isaac?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without the Flock brothers, Bob, Tim and Fonty?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Robert Yates?

   By inducting just five men a year, how long will it take this new facility to fully embrace the grand legacies of this sport?
   Where is sensibility here?


  Harry Gant: The legendary Bandit (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without A. J. Foyt?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Ray Hendrick?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Buddy and Buck Baker?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Davey Allison?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Red Byron and Raymond Parks?
   A NASCAR Hall of Fame without Carl Kiekhaefer?

   And what about Benny Parsons, and Neil Bonnett, and Donnie Allison, and Junie Donlavey, and Ray Fox, and Jack Ingram, and Cotton Owens, and Rusty Wallace, and Geoff Bodine, and Ernie Irvan, and Terry Labonte.....and Bruton Smith, and Humpy Wheeler, and Richard Childress?

   Where is the depth of history here?
   What is the point of a Hall of Fame if not to try to connect generations with a sport's history?

   Assuming for the point of argument that it's okay to start NASCAR's new Hall of Fame from scratch, and ignore the 45 years of the history and the men already inducted in the NMPA stock car racing Hall of Fame, at Darlington Raceway, how should the induction and voting process have been handled?
   Consider this: the NFL Hall of Fame has more than 250 legends enshrined.....the new NASCAR Hall of Fame has but 10.
   Bottom line here:
   As fancy and impressive and glitzy as NASCAR's new Hall of Fame may be, the system of picking the legends to be enshrined – and it is the men and women who helped make this sport that should be the heart of it – needs to be changed.


I agree with the calamity of

I agree with the calamity of this whole thing, but if NASCAR is dead set on having an "order" of enshrining people into their HoF, then at least get the order correct. All of the names on the list will eventually be in there, but a 4-time champion not making it in on one of the first two ballots makes NASCAR and the voters look like a joke.

Mike, Any follow-up on this:


Any follow-up on this: http://www.thatsracin.com/2010/10/13/49274/as-attendence-declines-nascar.html


Looks like the NASCAR Hall of Fame has bit off more than it can chew.

Wow! I knew there were some

Wow! I knew there were some financial problems, but didnt realize it looked this weak.....

NASCAR didn't have an issue

NASCAR didn't have an issue of lining legendary racers inside the HOF, but legendary racers? Well that's a problem. I've always felt from jumpstreet that THE 50 GREATEST INFLUENCES IN NASCAR should have been honored in last year's charter. WHO'S GONNA COMPLAIN? NO ONE!!! This year, another 25. 2011? Another 15. 2012? Another 10. That's 100 lives that help mold the sport, regardless whether they are living or dead, racing now or retired, etc. NASCAR should be treating the HOF as a celebration of dedicated lives who made the sport what it is. This is not Cooperstown. Or Canton. Or Springfield. This is Charlotte. This is NASCAR'S home. Period! Forget Daytona. They're treating the HOF like a bus terminal.

Unless it's counting money

Unless it's counting money NASCAR is clueless. To start a hall of fame 50 years into the sport is positive reinforcement of what their own history means to them, NOTHING. Whose funding built the hall? Taxpayers, fans, or NASCAR? It was expected that this would be just another cash cow, gouging the fans. Oop's, did we smarten up and surprise them?

One of the first hints as to the off beat thinking going into the hall, was taking two of the first five and use them for the France's! They should be honored separately as the founders as should be several others that were in that era. That would put two others in the hall. In the first two years, or at least, the first year there should have been 20-25 initial inductees to form the foundation. In griping about who isn't yet in the hall, who would you remove to get others in? The only one's I could remove would be the Frances just because they founded and own NASCAR. Again, they should be separate as founding fathers or whatever. They being in the hall is kind of like buying your own trophy just because you want one.

In my opinion there should not be a France or any other NASCAR employee sitting on the panel, period! That sure doesn't lend credibility in any way. If they are on the panel then maybe the voting should be by secret ballot just so the vote is harder to question. The constant conspiracy factor needs to be done away with.

In my opinion the hall is for the fans. Simply because no matter what, it was the fans that built this sport of ours. It was their interest, their dollars, their support. Maybe as the numbers continue to dwindle both at the track, on TV, even attendance at the hall itself, and as NASCAR finds fewer dollars to count, that will become a lot more obvious and meaningful.

One fan vote. Just one. One

One fan vote. Just one. One out of, what, 56 voters? One fan voice out of how many total fans? Then look at the number of reporters who voted. How many reporters out of the pool that covers the sport? Percentage-wise it's incredibly disproportionate but it tells the whole story really. It's pretty clear the France family has little regard for the fans. They probably thought having one "token" fan in the voting would stroke us and make us feel important but, in reality, I think fans see right through these hollow attempts at appeasement and are rejecting the HOF and the sport in increasing numbers.

When the Country Music Hall of Fame began in 1962 they inducted 3. For years and years they selected 1 performer a year and their argument was that if they inducted more than that at a time it would "cheapen" the honor. But by the 1990s it was embarrasingly clear they were way behind in inducting deserving members and that in being stingy with the honors they'd created a HOF that was becoming increasingly irrelevant to the fans of today. When Willie Nelson was inducted he publicly called for the CMA to induct more artists yearly and they did, creating special categories for older artists, newer artists and non performers so that the HOF would be a far more rounded representation of the genre. It didn't "cheapen" the hall one bit; but rather, made it a much richer experience for the fan. The list of who votes isn't publicized nor is the list of potential Hall of Famers. This lack of transparancy spares a lot of hurt feelings. NASCAR could learn a lot from what they've done in Nashville.

I don't often agree with Mike

I don't often agree with Mike Mulhern but I certainly agree on this. Having only 5 inductees in the first two classes is ridiculous. HOF attendance is less than expected? Of course it is, who would make a trip and pay hard earned money to see a Hall of Fame where only 5 people and 2 of those being administrators were enshrined? In May of next year a grand total of 10 will be enshrined. By the time voters get around to placing drivers like the great Tim Flock into the hall, nobody will still be alive who remembers him. This is the most ridiculous Hall of Fame I've ever heard of.


My take on the Hall is that

My take on the Hall is that they should consider for drivers and car owners to be restricted to those drivers who do not meet LPGA Division of the World Golf Hall of Fame-style rules.

In the ladies' division of the World Golf Hall, there is an automatic induction system. Prior to 1998, it was based on 40 wins, but a player needed only 35 wins if there was one of the four majors (Dinah Shore, LPGA Championship, US Women's Open, the Canadian Women's Open; the Canadian Women's Open was a major until 2000), or 30 wins if two of the four different majors were won.

In 1999, the 27-point system was adopted. A player had to score 27 points to be automatically inducted. A Vare Trophy (lowest average round score for the season, similar to highest batting average in baseball), or a win in any of the four majors was required. Those counted as two points each. All other LPGA wins count as one point each. With 27 points, and ten years on tour, a player automatically inducted herself in the Hall.

NASCAR should look at the system for drivers and owners (although crew chiefs could get it too). Any driver or car owner with 50 wins in any NASCAR touring division, 40 if the driver won one Sprint Cup major (Daytona, Talladega, Charlotte all in the Spring, or Darlington in the fall, which must come back for this idea to be installed) or Championship, 35 if a driver won two, or 30 if a driver won all four majors and a Championship is automatically inducted. Any driver or owner with five championships (may be combined driver and owner; all divisions) is automatically inducted. Ten years experience is a minimum. A driver, crew chief, or car owner may be inducted while active.

At this rate, here are the current drivers who have Hall tickets punched automatically:
Mark Martin (35+ 2 Majors wins), Jeff Gordon (30+ Career Grand Slam and Championship) Kevin Harvick (5 championships -- 1 SWT, 2 NNS as driver, 2 CWTS as owner with wife, and 35+ 2 Majors wins), Jimmie Johnson (30+ Career Grand Slam and Championship)

Kyle Busch (40+ 1 Major) must wait another year because of the 10-year rule.

By this standard, Cale (35+) and Darrell (30+) are both automatically inducted. (Cale does not have a 600 win, so he must use the 35+ rule; Darrell has all four, and so he is a 30+ driver.)

Richie Evans (9 championships) is an automatic inductee under this standard.

Kyle Busch and J

The HoF needs one thing in

The HoF needs one thing in order to be credible: independence from NASCAR. Nothing NASCAR does has any credibility. I'm giving up, Mike.

Here is one for you...I am

Here is one for you...I am shocked that Cale was not in this selection.
But what shocks me more is that some are ranking DW so high when in fact I can name about ten more drivers and several more owners and pioneers that belong well before him.
Is there only a handful of writers that still know the true history of this once great sport?
DW stolled around ,naturally thinking that he was a shew in for this next class.......NOT!!! Thankfully there was at least sixty percent of the voters that know more than what a statistical record book shows.
He has accomplished 84 wins and 3 championships, but what did he really do other than leaving a top notch team with minor success that Bobby Allison took over and won a championship with, and BUY his way into the most premier team in Nascar mostly because of his fear of a young Dale Earnhardt getting it. Man can you imagine what a Dale Earnhardt could have accomplished in that car, it would have been incredible because of drivers like LeeRoy, Bobby, and Cale had built along with Junior Johnson's skills and innovations at getting away with more than most with rule book interpretations? If Cale had not left that ride DW probably would have NEVER won a championship or more than fifty races. Neil Bonnett and a lot more drivers were better and he knows it as well as a lot of others in this sport that are still left.
But I agree, Cale Yarborough was one of the best same as Curtis Turner,Fireball Roberts,Both Flock Brothers,Fred Lorenzen,and Little Joe.
So please lay off the entitlements of DW just because he is a Brian France kiss-up!

Even though Pearson is now in

Even though Pearson is now in the hall, he will never be honored as the "first class". That distinction will never go away. I think that decision was ridiculous and I almost lost interest in the hall altogether.
However, I was/am a Bobby Allison fan and am happy for him (and relieved) that he was chosen in the second class. But even he shouldn't be below the Frances. What does fame mean anyway? How does the number of people who know and admire Bobby compare with the number that know and admire the Frances? I think we all know. Maybe they should have called it the Hall of Percieved Contributions to NASCAR.

Hey, Na$car -- at 5/year,

Hey, Na$car -- at 5/year, it'll be at least 10 more year$ before I'll con$ider it worthwhile to pay admi$$ion. Get the picture, or do you need more hint$?

Maybe it's just me... I just

Maybe it's just me...

I just visited nascar.com and I can't find a link to the HOF. The HOF has a website, but yet I can't find it on nascar.com homepage. The same goes for the HOF website, nothing to link it to the nascar.com. (the homepage, not superstore). Maybe I navigated too much, but I don't see it. There is a link on nascar.com homepage on the HOF inductees, but that's about it. Even the HOF logo is there, which should be "linked up" to go to it's HOF website.

If anyone can find it, please point it out to me...thx.


http://www.nascarhall.com/ should work.....

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