Hall of Fame voters off the mark

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So let me get this straight, Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough each win more than 80 races, each win three titles, yet Ned Jarrett – he of 50 wins and two titles – gets into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and they don’t?

This isn’t to diminish what Jarrett means to NASCAR. He’s a Hall of Famer, no doubt. He just didn’t deserve to go in before Waltrip or Yarborough.

In my opinion, neither did three others who were voted in on Wednesday. Of the five future inductees – David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Lee Petty, Jarrett and Bud Moore – only Pearson and Petty deserved to go in before Waltrip and only Pearson before Yarborough. (And Pearson shouldn’t have been in this class in the first place. He should have gone in a year ago. But that’s another story.)

Cale Yarborough was the first driver to win three straight championships.
Getty

Sorry to have to single out Jarrett. He doesn’t deserve it, and it’s not his fault. It’s the 52 voters who need to explain how they could leave Yarborough, the first driver to ever win three titles in a row, under the old points system mind you, and Waltrip, who won three titles in five years, off their ballot.

I’m sure we’ll hear about how they considered the nominees’ entire body of work, about what they did both on and off the track. Whatever. While we all want to be good people along with tough competitors, this is a sport, not the Boy Scouts.

And while we’re on this subject, why Allison over Waltrip and Yarborough? Like Jarrett, Allison is a no-doubt Hall of Famer. He won 84 races, the same as Waltrip, but two fewer championships. If the argument is that Allison won three Daytona 500s, well, Yarborough won four.

It’s quite clear each voter has his or her own agenda, which is fine, but there are some things that are just plain indefensible. For example, Richard Petty should have been on every single ballot cast last year. But he wasn’t. From what I’ve been told, there were no unanimous inductees last year.

Who’s not voting for Richard Petty? I want to know who you are because I want to make sure that your voting privileges – on anything, be it Hall of Fame or “American Idol” – be revoked forever.

Pearson received 94 percent of the votes cast this year, the largest total of anyone, but that still means two people didn’t vote for him. Who are you? Tell me, please, so I can have Tommy come over and hit you on the head with a tack hammer.

There were actually 53 votes cast. The fans got one, too. Here is their ballot, in alphabetical order: Bobby Allison, David Pearson, Lee Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough.

Boom. I would have gone with Rick Hendrick over Allison, but that’s a toss up.

Here’s hoping next year the Hall of Fame ignores the 52-member voting panel and goes straight to the fan vote. Turns out they aren’t so stupid after all.

Jay Hart is a Senior Editor for Yahoo! Sports. Send Jay a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Wednesday, Oct 13, 2010