No consensus on Hall of Fame inductees

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NASCAR hoped that inducting only five people into its Hall of Fame each year would create a buzz. It's done more than that. It's approaching vuvuzela level.

Hall of Fame

Jay, enjoyed your column on the HoF snubs. Great Tommy Boy reference as well. You made great arguments for Cale and Darrell and there is no doubt they are Hall material. Though in Ned's defense, he retired early. This NASCAR HoF is going to be messy for a while because NASCAR wants to get in the pioneers before they all have passed away.

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I agree, though there shouldn't be a reason that Richard Petty last year wasn't getting every vote. These votes are always ridiculous. Who are these people? Of all the pro sports that conduct voting at least NASCAR allows the fans a voice.

Casey J. Bauer
Orlando, Fla.

Jay, I don't really think I would have been so bold or opinionated about who did or didn't get in if I were you. It is the NASCAR fans who reads your post and rate you and your opinions as far as who to or not to listen to in the sport. As you know NASCAR fans are very passionate about their drivers and heroes of past and present. I agree with some of what you said and that's just the point, everyone who reads your post will only agree with parts of what you said. So what does that do?

Even though people like you and your opinions, you wound up pissing everyone off because in some way or another you wound up trashing or talking negatively about at least one of everyone's drivers.

Chap Allison
Cheraw, S.C.

You're telling me, though I don't think I trashed any of the inductees. Just because I think Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip are more deserving than Ned Jarrett or Bobby Allison doesn't mean I'm belittling Jarrett's or Allison's accomplishments.

I disagree(d) with those who voted for Jarrett and Allison over Yarborough and Waltrip, and stated why, but I didn't trash them.

I did, however, trash those who didn't vote for Richard Petty last year and those who didn't vote for Pearson this year. To me, that's indefensible.

Jay, could it be that Jarrett got in ahead of Jaws because he is a class act, not a babbling self-serving fool?

Bob Bowden
Joshua Tree, Calif.

Could be, but the Hall of Fame shouldn't be a popularity contest.

Well Jay you sure got it bang, damned straight on the money this time! I couldn't agree with you more. Sure Ned Jarrett should show up on the big 25 list but I think they put him in four years too early. I'm not a big fan of D.W. and that flaky Digger but the man should have definitely been the forth selection.

And say nothing less about Cale Yarborough. He's been an inspiration and a hero to a lot of guys who grew up watching this great sport of ours come to be what it is today.

I don't know, nor do I care who the selectors are but they sure screwed the pooch on this one!

Jim Johnston
Albion, Ill.

You are correct that the biggest crime was King Richard not being a unanimous first ballot. That crime is followed closely by Yarborough/Waltrip snubbed in favor of Allison/Jarrett.

Waltrip's run in the Di-Gard and J. Johnson cars is far more worthy. And Yarborough – three in a row, the wins … forget about it.

In their primes even factoring in equipment, Allison couldn't hold Jaws' or Cale's jocks. Jarrett – 1st ballot humanitarian, 3rd or 4th class Hall of Famer.

Could it be that mouths and fists that roared got snubbed in favor of the good "good ol' boys"? Many fans complain NASCAR got too vanilla. Well this HoF class suggests maybe they are right.

James Moore
Alexandria, Va.

That's a great point, James. Some people complain about the sport neutering its personalities, then lambast Kyle Busch for showing his.

Still, I don't think personality should play into how someone votes one bit. This is the "NASCAR" Hall of Fame, and the point of NASCAR is to get your car to go around the track faster than everyone else's. If you did that really well, you're in. If you didn't, you're not, even if you were a really, really good guy.

No Cale Yarborough? Somethun ain't right as usual.

Dave Garnett
Lufkin, Texas

I think NASCAR fixed the 1919 World Series, too.

I read your work and listen to you on Yahoo! every week and enjoy it for the most part, it's just that to me your language was a little too harsh and seemed to be a little personal to me, and you being someone reporting the sport and the news to us, I just feel like you need to try to leave the personal out of it.

I'm sure this will never be printed, but this is how I feel. I will still be a fan of yours and listening to you, just hope it will not sound so personal anymore.

John Stephens
Sequim, Washington

I had no dog in this fight, so nothing personal here, John.

That story should never have been posted. The voters, or the majority of them, obviously are looking at the "Pioneers." It's your shameful putdown of Jarrett, Allison, etc., that is downright uncalled for. This situation could have been avoided, however, if the "Hall" had inducted 15-20 the first year and five every year thereafter.

Jim Van Sickle
New London, Ohio

I knew I'd get a rash of these types of emails before writing my column, which is why I took great care in noting that both Jarrett and Allison are more than worthy of the Hall of Fame. If saying that is a "shameful putdown," then I'm guilty as charged.

Now, onto the class size. I wouldn't mind if they had inducted 15 the first year, 15 the second. Had those in charge of the Hall of Fame done that, they would have been sending a message that there is a lot of history to be recognized, that they're making up for lost time and that they want to do it all sooner rather than later.

But that's not the approach they've taken. By limiting the class size to five, then unveiling those five on live television, the Hall is telling us that who gets in when does matter. That's what I was reacting to, offering my opinion that Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip deserved to get in before Jarrett and Allison.

As I said earlier, just because we disagree doesn't mean we're belittling anyone's accomplishments.

Jay – I don't disagree with your analysis of the Hall of Fame voting. But I agree with the idea that the Hall should get some of the older obvious Hall-of-Famers in now while they're still alive. That's why I would support Bud Moore over Rick Hendrick, for instance. Let's get the founders and early heroes in now. There will be plenty of time for Darrell and Cale. Nobody thinks they won't make it in.

Randy Black
Portland, Ore.

Jay, I read your articles often and respect your views as a career journalist, and here it comes … But why write a negative story about the NASCAR H0F when we should be celebrating another class election for our sport??

Granted numbers are better, but nobody said this was a race to get into the HoF and nobody said that election was based on statistics alone. We must change our perspectives when it comes to the Hall. This is not a race to see who is inducted first or in some specific order. These men are ALL great. The only "getting it right" is making sure we get those deserving in, PERIOD.

Ed Perry
San Antonio

Ed, what are you doing bringing reason into this argument?!?

Of all the emails I've ever received, this one has made me stop and think the longest.

Reading your emails, it's clear that some of us think more black and white, while others are more nuanced. Neither is necessarily better than the other, just different.

I'm clearly in the black-and-white category. Ed's more nuanced. Had I to do over again, I probably would taken a more nuanced approach – highlighting why Jarrett and Allison got in, while at the same time supporting the candidacy of Yarborough and Allison.

However, when it comes to not voting for Richard Petty in the inaugural class, nuance has to get thrown out the window. There's no excuse for that.

Jay, how do you feel about the elder Frances (Big Bill and Bill Jr.) induction during the inaugural class? I think Pearson and Yarborough should have gone with the first group.

I understand that the Frances created NASCAR and without them it wouldn't be where it is today but let's get real … they didn't do this for some altruistic purpose. It was a business that made them money and they promoted it well.

The France family could have honored their relatives at any time without taking induction slots from the drivers or car owners. With the NASCAR HOF in its infancy, they need to make wise inductions that build its credibility.

Floyd W.
Chesapeake, Va.

I don't get how people who run a business get slammed for wanting to make a profit. Do you go to work for free? The Frances may have made a lot of money, but they've made a lot of other people a lot of money, too. And to this day, NASCAR is responsible (at least partly) for putting a lot of people to work, including yours truly.

In my opinion, Bill Sr. was a no-brainer for the first class. For me, Bill Jr. was on the bubble, but I would have voted him in, too. He had as much to do with NASCAR being able to build a Hall of Fame as anyone.

Before any of them Joe Weatherly should be in the NASCAR Hall of fame. I hate to say it he should be there before any one of the first group and second group. Weatherly died on January 19, 1964 from head injuries sustained in a racing accident at the fifth race of the 1964 season at Riverside International Raceway. His head went outside the car and struck a retaining wall. He is one of two reigning champions of what is now known as the Sprint Cup to die during a season as the defending champion (1992 Winston Cup champion Alan Kulwicki, who died in a plane crash during the 1993 season, is the other) and the only one of the two to die during a race.

Chas Cochran
Battle Creek, Mich.

Weatherly will get in, though I think it might take a few years as he seems to be missing a few of the criteria the voters are considering heavily.

This and that …

According to you, Jay Hart, I guess the NASCAR season should be 26 weeks long and at the end of the last race, NASCAR would award the "Championship" to Jimmy Johnson! There's six [now five] races left!!! Anything can happen, Jay.

Please Jay, for the love god, get your lips off JJ's [butt]. They'll become chapped and cracked and they'll hurt like hell! I could even understand your thinking if he was leading by 150+ points over 2nd place, but damn Jay. Get real!

Old Man Pocono
Pocono, Pa.

If you go by averages, then yes, it's over, because Johnson carries a better average from here on out than Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick, and he holds the points lead.

That said, Johnson and Hamlin are fairly evenly matched from here on out. Johnson is better than Hamlin at three of the remaining five tracks, meaning Hamlin is better at two. And one of those where Johnson is better is Phoenix, where Hamlin is very capable of winning.

(I know, what about Harvick? He's still in this thing, but only if Johnson and Hamlin find trouble.)

The questions to be answered over the next five weeks are as follows:

• Can Hamlin withstand the pressure? • Who will get through Talladega unscathed? • How will Johnson react if it's a close battle heading into the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway?

As the four-time defending champ, the advantage has to be given to Johnson, but so far Hamlin has done exactly what he needed to do to be a major pain in Johnson's butt.

Speaking of which, OMP, you seem to have an intimate knowledge of what happens when kissing J.J.'s. Is there something you aren't telling us?

Thanks for your great columns, comments and insight. A few observations and questions that aren't directly Chase related.

1) I grew up in Italy as an F1 fan, and then added some of the top CART drivers to my list. But as NASCAR matured and started to attract a greater number of highly talented drivers, it became evident that this "hayseed" redneck sport has more than its fair share of truly world-class drivers.

2) As the 2010 season is winding down, we can start to directly compare a "diva" F1 star (Montoya) with a humble "nobody" stock-car driver (Mc Murray). Same team, same equipment, but Montoya gets more respect and press. Nevertheless, I know who I'd want driving my cars if I were a car owner. Daytona, Indy, and now Charlotte! McMurray isn't a tough-guy or mean or intimidating or moody or explosive. He's just an awfully good driver and racer who is clearly out-shining his stablemate. Please give your thoughts on how those two drivers compare.

Lubbock, Texas

My two cents: Montoya is the superior driver, but McMurray, at least in NASCAR, appears to be the better racer.

Let me explain what I mean:

I liken JPM to a baseball flamethrower who tries to overpower hitters with his fastball. He's going to strike out a lot of batters, but he's going to walk a lot, too, and give up a ton of home runs.

McMurray is the control pitcher. He's not going rack up the strikeouts, is never going to throw a no-hitter, but at the end of the season when you look at the statistics you'll be surprised to see how many games he won.

The power pitcher may have the bigger upside, but he may flame out trying to reach it. In this case, Montoya has the potential to win a championship, but in trying to do so he's being upstaged by his lower-profile, less flamboyant teammate who's just going about his business.

Fantasy land

Here are my Fantasy NASCAR picks for the week:

A Group: Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson
B Group: Jeff Burton, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Martin Truex, Jr.
C Group: David Gilliland, Paul Menard

Last call …

Why are you on the Fantasy Expert panel when I have more points than you? Answer me that one!

Greenfield, Wisc.

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