On Wednesday, May 23, 2012, the new inductees were announced for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. This group will be inducted in 2013. Each year only five members of the NASCAR community are selected to join the elite group. Unfortunately, this year, there was a tie and Fireball Roberts just missed the cut. Here is a look at the five who made it.
Herb Thomas was one of the original stars of the series. As a driver who worked with Smokey Yunick, he won a lot of races and was either first or second in NASCAR from 1951-1954. As one of the pioneers of the sport, he more than deserves his spot in the Hall of Fame.
As one of the Wood brothers, fans of NASCAR had to know that his place in the NASCAR Hall of Fame was already secured. As one of the most influential families in the organization, it was inevitable. The Woods brothers have been in charge of Wood Brothers Racing since the 1950s and WBR is one of the oldest teams in the sport. The brothers also revolutionized the speed of pit stops.
Rusty Wallace was a top driver in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. He won the 1989 championship. However, a severe accident and the loss of his friend, Alan Kulwicki, in the early 1990s, changed his outlook somewhat and his wreck influenced NASCAR to mandate roof flaps. After his retirement, he became an announcer for the sport and a team owner.
Cotton Owens was one of the best drivers in the NASCAR Modified Series in his day. He also did well in what is now the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He was active in the 1950s and early 1960s and he later became a successful team owner.
Buck Baker was one of the original stars in NASCAR. He started racing well before the NASCAR organization was formed. Baker was the first to win back to back championships. His wins came in 1956 and 1957. His son, Buddy Baker, has also been an important part of the NASCAR organization.
There are so many people who deserve a spot in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Arguments could be made for others to be joining in place of some of the ones chosen for 2013, but truly, these five all deserve the spot they were given. Although this was the first year that Rusty Wallace was eligible, he has contributed a lot to the sport and was an inevitable choice for the Hall of Fame. It will be hard for all of the deserving individuals to be voted in with only five being selected each year, but eventually, I am sure that each will have his, or her, day. Congratulations to the five selected for 2013.
Kristin Watt has been a NASCAR Winston Cup, now Sprint Cup, fan for as long as she can remember starting way back when she was a little girl and her mother would sit on the couch with her every Sunday during the season to watch the races. Back then, they were fans of Bill Elliott and newcomer Davey Allison.