Welcome back to Pit Chatter, the completely uncensored and not-at-all faked look at what goes on behind the scenes of NASCAR! Today, we look at the inner machinations of the NASCAR Hall of Fame selection process.
[Scene: This past Wednesday. The cafeteria at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, an hour before NASCAR is scheduled to announce its second Hall of Fame class. Many of NASCAR's legends are there, slowly making their way around the room, trays in hand. Underneath the heat lamps sits one lone bowl of blueberry cobbler.]
Donnie Allison: Oh, yeah. Blueberry cobbler, baby. Blueberry cobbler.
Cale Yarborough [from right behind him]: Not today, Donnie!
[Both men slowly shuffle their way toward the cobbler. They take notice of each other, and begin edging each other with their creaky hips.]
Donnie Allison: Cobbler's all mine, Cale!
Cale Yarborough: Face full'a second place is all you're going to get, Donnie!
[The two cross loafers and go down in a groaning heap. Behind them, Richard Petty ambles up and grabs the cobbler.]
Richard Petty: Come to papa, you sweet thing you.
[From behind them, Bobby Allison drops his tray and slowly, ever so slowly, makes his way over to the pile. He jumps/falls atop them both, and the air is filled with the sound of country cursing and the smell of old men.]
Darrell Waltrip: Hee hee! This reminds me of something, but I just can't remember what.
[Across the cafeteria, Richard Petty is walking toward the cashier, cobbler on his tray. And just before he's about to get there, David Pearson swoops in and slaps his tray in front of the cashier.]
Richard Petty: Well, hello there, David.
David Pearson: First! I'm first! I beat the King! You all saw that, didn't you? Didn't you?
[They didn't. The entire cafeteria's focus is on the fight between Cale and the Allisons in front of the dessert stand. After a lot of groaning, they finally start to separate.]
Darrell Waltrip: All right, boys, that's about enough. We've got to set an example here. We're NASCAR legends! We can't be — [he notices Junior Johnson stealthily walking past] — hey, Junior! Hey, I saw that! Put that back!
[Johnson pulls a bottle of Lipton Iced Tea out from under his shirt.]
Junior Johnson: Sorry, DW. Old habits die hard.
Darrell Waltrip: And the other ones.
Junior Johnson: Saw that, did you? [He begins withdrawing bottles from all over his person. One gets loose and rolls toward Bobby Allison, where it rolls to a stop against a Martinsville hot dog.]
Darrell Waltrip: Hey, where'd that hot dog come from? Bobby, is that yours?
Bobby Allison: Huh? Oh, yeah, that's mine. Sorry. Must've been left over from my presentation to the voters.
Darrell Waltrip: Your what now?
Bobby Allison: Presentation to the Hall of Fame voters. You know, to grease the wheels of power and all.
Darrell Waltrip: No, I didn't know. Is this something I need to —
Ned Jarrett: Hey there, boys! Little something going on here?
Darrell Waltrip: Ned! Glad you're here. Look, you know anything about any presentation to the voters, trying to sway their vote?
Ned Jarrett: Of course I do, DW. Here, look. [Pulls a sheet of paper from his pocket.] This is what I showed them. Projections that NASCAR will pass the NFL in ratings by 2012, and that every track will be a sellout by 2013.
Darrell Waltrip: But that's crazy! There's no way that's going to happen!
Ned Jarrett: Facts have no place in a NASCAR discussion, DW. You know that.
Darrell Waltrip: Wow. Well, I guess I've got some work to do —
Bud Moore: Better hurry. They're voting right now. I just got in there under the wire myself.
Darrell Waltrip: You too, Bud? What did you give them?
Bud Moore: Give 'em? Nothing! But I told them stories about D-Day. Melted 'em like butter in the summer sun, it did.
Darrell Waltrip: Aw, man. I gotta get in there and at least hit 'em with my catchphrase!
Bobby Allison: Yeah, because "boogity boogity boogity" really stands a chance against Normandy.
Darrell Waltrip: I gotta try! I gotta try!
Bobby Allison [slapping him on the back]: Good luck, Jaws.
[DW rushes from the cafeteria. And as he goes, everyone present can see a large DON'T VOTE FOR ME sign taped surreptitiously to his back.]
Richard Petty: I swear, makin' fun of that boy never, ever gets old.
[All laugh in unison, then rub their aging sides at the pain.]
[Footnote: We have fun with DW here, but let's be honest — the guy had to go on live TV moments after what had to be one of the most crushing disappointments of his life when he didn't get voted in, and he handled it with a lot more grace than most would have. Good on ya, DW, and we're pulling for you next year.]