Hall of Fame Selections Spur Debate
The NASCAR Hall of Fame voters corrected a major injustice this week when they selected their second class for enshrinement.
David Pearson is going to be in the 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame.
While I can't see a good reason why the driver with 105 career wins wasn't in the inaugural class, at least the voters made up for it by getting him in this time around.
The Spartanburg, S.C., native is joined by drivers Bobby Allison, Ned Jarrett, Lee Petty and legendary car owner Bud Moore in the 2011 class. Pearson received 94 percent of the votes from the selection panel - far and away the most in the class.
The members of the 2011 class have quite an impressive collection of resumes.
Pearson won three championships (1966, '68, '69) while winning those 105 races (second all-time behind Richard Petty) while not running a full schedule during most years of his career.
Lee Petty, the father of Richard, was a three-time champion (1954, '58, '59) and won the first Daytona 500 as part of his 54-career wins.
Allison was the 1983 Cup champion and is the owner of 84 career victories (currently third on the all-time list).
Ned Jarrett won two championships in NASCAR's premiere division (1961 and '65) and won two Sportsman Division Championships. Jarrett won 50 races in his career.
Moore was a two-time championship car owner in 1962 and '63 with driver Joe Weatherly and also fielded cars for Fireball Roberts, Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt, Donnie Allison, Geoff Bodine, Ricky Rudd and others. In nearly four decades as a car owner, Moore's teams won 63 races and 43 poles.
This year, it was good to see an emphasis on drivers because, quite frankly, that is who fans want to see in the Hall. Not to discount the accomplishments of Bill France Jr., but two people from the more-business side of NASCAR were too many for the first class.
That being said, I still have a small problem with this year's selection. It is missing a Waltrip and a Yarborough.
Especially a Yarborough.
Yarborough was a three-time Cup champion who won 83 races in his career. He is also a four-time winner of NASCAR's biggest race, the Daytona 500. Pearson was a shoo-in. Lee Petty probably had to be there too. It was nice to see Moore get in - even though many people argue Raymond Parks should be in over Moore. But looking at the numbers, I think you have to go Yarborough over Jarrett and possibly Allison.
I would have selected Darrell Waltrip over Jarrett but perhaps not Allison. By that logic, maybe Waltrip and Jarrett should have -waited until the 2012 class.
I have no doubt that the whole process is extremely hard for those involved and with the long, storied history of NASCAR it is hard to fill the Hall from the legions of great personalities and -pioneers that built NASCAR. While they made a huge -mistake last year excluding Pearson, they corrected it this year. Next year, they will get to correct the mistakes they made this year.
Contact Andy Cagle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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