Hall induction ceremonies are always charged affairs, and not just because of the personalities involved. There's an old line about how everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn't end. And these ceremonies are often chances for people to settle old scores or take one last, uncomfortable shot at their old rivals — think Michael Jordan's recent Hall of Fame induction speech or Blondie's utter trainwreck at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
All of which leads us to an overwhelming question: Who's going to speak for Dale Earnhardt?
Let's back up half a step. Each member's induction will consist of two parts — a short video documenting the honoree's achievements, followed by an introduction (or, in the case of the late honorees, a speech on their behalf). NASCAR has already released a preliminary list of who will be involved in the ceremony, and NASCAR's Ramsey Poston has given Yahoo! Sports details of some specifics, so let's review:
• Bill France Sr.: Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president of corporate communications, will introduce France's video, while longtime friend John Cassidy will introduce his speaker.
• Bill France Jr.: Ken Clapp, who helped take NASCAR racing west, will introduce France Jr.'s video, while Rick Hendrick will introduce his speaker.
• Richard Petty: Dale Inman, Petty's longtime crew chief, will introduce Petty's video. Kyle Petty will also be on hand, and although relations have been strained between the two at times, Kyle prizes family and will step up to introduce his father.
• Junior Johnson: Darrell Waltrip won all three of his championships while driving for Johnson, and will introduce Johnson's video. Winston Kelley, the Hall's executive director, will introduce Johnson.
• Dale Earnhardt: And here we have the great unknown. NASCAR indicates that "members of the Earnhardt family" will be on hand. So will Earnhardt's team owner Richard Childress, who will introduce Earnhardt's speaker. But who will speak for the Intimidator, and who will introduce his video? Dale Earnhardt Jr.? Teresa Earnhardt? Both? The ceremony's high point could also be its most uncomfortable.
The festivities begin at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday and will be televised on SPEED. Rest assured, we'll have every exhilarating, nostalgic and uncomfortable moment for you right here soon afterward. But for now, have your say — who should speak for Earnhardt and the other inductees?
- Dale Earnhardt
- Junior Johnson