The newest nominees have been selected for the NASCAR Hall of Fame (source - Yahoo! Sports). They've been added to the list of 20 left over from last year with just five to be chosen for induction next January 2013.
Personally, I'm not big on non-driver picks but understand there are many who supported stock car racing from behind the scenes. It's just that when you go to a Hall of Fame as a fan, you want to see and hear about the drivers foremost - such as the first inductee Richard Petty (pictured). So therefore, that's where I lean. With that said, here's who I think should be in installed into the Hall of Fame next year (listed alphabetically).
Tim Flock - As the leading member of a famous racing family, Tim was truly one of great racecar drivers in the history of motorsports. Although he may have had the notoriety of his family having constant run-ins with the law regarding bootlegging (back then, who didn't) and then later Flock himself at odds with NASCAR management (source - ESPN), that should in no way keep one of the great drivers of the sport out of the Hall of Fame. While a great pioneer of the sport, he won two championships in '52 and '55; plus, in little more than a decade of racing, he was victorious 39 times in NASCAR's top series with over 100 top fives.
Bobby Isaac - Already in several Halls of Fame and known for his Bonneville exploits, Isaac was NASCAR's champion in 1970 and captured a total of 37 national wins and grabbed 49 poles during a decade of racing. Although his career technically spanned 16 years, essentially he only raced full-time for three seasons, 68-70. But in those three years, he was first, second and sixth in the point standings. In '68, he was second in the points while winning only three times, a testimony to his front-running ability. As a kid learning about stock car racing, Isaac was the first name I remember following in the late '60s. And if you don't know the story, Isaac is buried on a hill overlooking tiny Hickory Motor Speedway in Newton, North Carolina.
Cotton Owens - Maybe known more for being a successful car owner than driver, he still found a way of winning nine races and finished second in the points to Lee Petty in 1959. But actually, Owens was quite the modified driver, winning two championships in the mid-'50s. He had Junior Johnson and David Pearson as drivers, just to name a couple of the many greats who drove for Owens - proving he was a winner no matter what he did.
Fireball Roberts - Someone whose nickname is 'Fireball' has to be included in any Hall of Fame. One of the early pioneers for NASCAR, he won his first race back in August of 1950 at Occoneechee Speedway (no longer there). He was a popular driver who won 33 races over a 15 year career, which included an amazing 93 top fives. Roberts died from complications after a fiery crash at Charlotte. Where did he get his nickname? Playing baseball - his fastball was a heater.
Curtis Turner - Yet another early pioneer of racing with a very colorful and some might say brash career. He won 17 events and like many of the era, he did not run a full-time schedule. He did however drive for some of the most famous owners including: Holman & Moody, Junior Johnson, Smokey Yunick and the Wood Brothers. His union dealings ran afoul of NASCAR, which forced him out of the sport for a period of time. Quite a businessman, he helped to get Charlotte Motor Speedway built. Shortly after retiring, he was killed in an airplane crash.
Again, I understand the point that others who aren't directly associated with a racecar should also be accommodated, but think of it this way: Did you go to a sporting event to watch the sports athletes performing or the executives in the press box?
Note that the NASCAR Hall of Fame is at 400 E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Charlotte, North Carolina.
Source - Racing Reference, NASCAR
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus for several years has blogged about every type of racing.
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- NASCAR Hall of Fame
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