The Hall of Fame Complaining

Do you notice in every sport how quickly the complaining starts when said sport’s hall of fame nominees and then inductees are announced? Unfortunately the status quo has been maintained in NASCAR. And as such, last week when the five new nominees were named for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the usual brain trust set forth in complaining about why another driver, owner, crew chief etc. should have been nominated instead.

However minor, some amount of controversy has surrounded the last two classes to our Hall of Fame. As I’m sure many of you recall, in the first year it was that David Pearson got passed over for the likes of Dale Earnhardt, Bill France Jr. and Sr., Richard Petty and Junior Johnson. This year, Pearson got in, but it was Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip who didn’t (and some argued should have).

So inevitably when the Hall announced the nominees for the 2012 class, there was going to be someone, somewhere, unhappy with who was selected, or as was the case, not selected. And this year it was the question of why Wendell Scott wasn’t nominated over¬†H. Clay Earles, Bobby Isaac, Cotton Owens, Les Richter and Leonard Wood (all,¬†incidentally, men who contributed a great deal to the sport).

The inherent problem with a hall of fame selection process is that deserving people are going to get left out year in and year out. At this very early stage of this particular hall of fame, deciding who contributed most is nothing short of difficult. Take the Junior Johnson, David Pearson debate. While Pearson is arguably the best driver ever to wheel a racecar in NASCAR, Johnson’s folk hero status (not to mention winning ways) did an immense amount of good in bringing the sport into the mainstream. It was the Silver Fox vs. The Last American Hero. How do you decide?

Currently waiting to be selected are 25 guys who did a lot for this sport – that’s not to say though that there are 25 or 50 or 100 others who aren’t on the list who didn’t do just as much. It’s just going to take time to assure all those who should be inducted, are inducted.

I ask you, be patient, be respectful of those in the nomination process and enjoy these moments to relive the history of our sport through some of our sport’s biggest names. Your guy’s time will come.

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10 Responses to “The Hall of Fame Complaining”

  1. Craig says:

    This is par for the course of any hall of fame. The voting committee seems to be balancing multiple priorities: getting the big stars in, paying tribute to pioneers/major contributors and getting in the living nominees who are up in age. The one thing I’ve heard that I find disturbing, but not uncommon in hall of fame voting is voters who use the vote to hold grudges and settle scores. Rumor has it that Cale Yarborough was passed over in the last class for that reason because he always asks for money for appearances and was involved with a potential NASCAR rival in the early 1990s. I hate when stuff like this happens. No doubt hall of famers get passed over because of personal grudges. It’s happened in baseball and football, now it appears to be happening in NASCAR.

  2. Tyler West says:

    I really like what the Hall of Fame is doing but I really feel the hall should have taken in 20 to 30 guys in their initial class. It sounds dumb but I feel it has so many past greats that it needs to play catchup. Most of the past greats are not with us anymore. I can’t stand it when guys finally get but are not here to enjoy it. There are so many past greats that these “new fans” have no clue about. The hall in my opinion really needs to take that into account. Unfortunately they won’t. It’s a shame that the past greats will be overlooked because the “fans” don’t know them. It bothers me. A big hall needs more than just 15 members.

  3. Dennis M says:

    As I’ve said before, NASCAR could have avoided some of this – and made the HOF worth visiting! – if they had just established the HOF with 25 or 50 “Founding Members” from the pre-modern era.

    Then the Curtis Turners and Fonty Flocks would get the recognition they deserve without fighting it out with more familiar names.

    I might even go out of my way to visit had they done that.

  4. Doug in CA says:

    The selection process is deeply flawed.

    First, setting a minimum or maximum number for any given year is stupid. Eventually (and it will be a long time) there will be a year when there’s no one really worthy; at this stage, there are far more than five who are deserving. They should have allowed up to 10 or 15 for the first two or three years.

    Second, the idea that the electors meet to make the selections smacks of back-room politics. Announce who the voters are and let them vote by mail. If you get 75% of the votes, you’re in. Don’t let Brian France twist arms; don’t let Fox make the call.

    Other than that, it’s all barroom arguments, which are fine by me – especially if someone else pays!

  5. Bob Stafford says:

    All the voting members votes should be made public,(tv) and the FAN vote should be 51 FANS in the same room with all the kiss ups. Each of the 51 fan votes would have their vote counted the same as the chosen ones votes are counted. This is the only fair way to control the voting. If left uncontroled, rigging of the votes will always take place and the NA$CAR HOF will continue to loose money!!!!!!!!! Look at NA$CARs record lately they need help

  6. Burton fan says:

    Kyle Petty was asked about this on this on Wind Tunnel, Sunday evening.

    His opinion is they want to get some “stars” into to hall in the beginning to get people to visit the Hall.

    He thinks some of the deserving that are passed over now will be voted in later.

  7. Carl says:

    It appears the HoF in Charlotte is not getting the visitors once anticipated. So indeed, if visitors to the Hall is important in anyway, the wise choice would have been enough initial inductions to spur visits. Didn’t happen. Just one more anecdote about the management in Daytona Beach shooting themselves in the foots. Hey, Baba Looey, are you alright?

  8. Neon says:

    Whether it is the selection process, the economy, location, or what have ya …..sumthins aint workin’. The HOF has struggled mightily the last couple of years. Sure hope it stays afloat.

    IMHO Bill Jr and Earnhardt occupied two intial spots that should have gone to the likes of Pearson, Parks & Yunnick. Even Waltrip and Yarborough should wait a few more rounds.

  9. Keith says:

    The HOF is nothing but a Nascar screwup. The place should have never have been built downtown it should have been built near the Charlotte motor speedway. While at the fall race at Charlotte nobody in our group including me wanted to drive downtown, pay parking to go to the place if it would of been in Concord they would have better attendance all year with all the fans visiting the team shops they would also include the HOF. It is just another example of Nascar taking money from the highest bidder to get their money now and forget about the future.

  10. djones says:

    With them only picking 5 each year, it’s going to take a 50 years for the deserving ones to get in there. Jeff Gordon’s and Jimmie Johnson’s kids will be accepting the awards for them as they will be infirm or dead by then.

    I agree with those who said more should have been inducted in the beginning. Wasn’t it Richard Petty who said he was picked so they’d at least had a live body there?

    The talk of Wendell Scott being in the HOF just isn’t right. Derrick Cope won one race and I don’t think he’ll be selected. Race is not a reason to be in any HOF, even if he did overcome the race barrier related to stock car racing. I apologize if this comes off as racist, as I do not mean it to be.

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