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Monday, April 16, 2012

Including Anne France, and excluding Smokey Yunick, means list of new NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees is a joke

Every year, NASCAR announces five new nominees for the Hall of Fame to replace the five spots emptied by the previous year’s chosen five.

This year, they make themselves look quite foolish, and obviously biased, with one of their choices, and the move makes me question the entire process of getting into this Hall of Fame.

First, let’s get out of the way the nominees they announced who may actually be worth putting in. Engine builder and owner Ray Fox, Wendell Scott, promoter and sponsor executive Ralph Seagraves and 1989 champion Rusty Wallace. Rusty’s accomplishments speak for themselves, and he will get in eventually (though it should probably wait a few years). Fox is one of the old-timers who deserves to make it at some point. Wendell Scott battled so hard just to compete because of his race, that he deserves in the Hall, though he only has the one win so it’s probably a little early to put him in. And Seagraves helped Winston partner with the sport, which is a key element for the sport’s survival and growth – so after some of the competitors make it in he should definitely be considered.

Then we have the final nomination: Anne Bledsoe France: Yes, Big Bill’s wife and NASCAR’s first treasurer and secretary. The selling point is she “helped build the sport”

Seriously? This has to be a joke.

It’s my opinion that there are already enough Frances in the Hall of Fame. The fact that Bill Sr. and Bill Jr. got in the first class, while David Pearson (in my view the sport’s best driver of all time) had to wait until the second year to make it, was ridiculous. The inclusion of Anne France (aka Annie B.) on the list of nominees is ridiculous, and shows a bias within the voting ranks to hype the sport’s first family instead of all the other great people involved in the sport. Nothing against Annie personally, but she really does not belong on this list, and should never be voted into the Hall.

And what annoys me most is that while Anne France is nominated, Smokey Yunick is not. If you don’t know who Smokey Yunick is, well that’s too bad for you, and you should read up on him. He is the most innovative mechanic in the sport’s history, and it appears he is being blackballed. He used to be so creative, that he would often find his way around NASCAR’s rules – and the France family didn’t like him very much as a result.

So now one of their own is nominated, while a genius like Smokey is dissed once again. Further proof to me that it’s all about who you know, not what you did, when it comes to getting into this Hall of Fame.

If you want to participate in the Hall of Fame voting, the fans do get a small input. You can vote for your five choices of the 25 between now and May 16 at

Here are the 25 nominees, listed alphabetically:
Buck Baker, first driver to win consecutive NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series titles (1956-57)
Red Byron, first NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion, in 1949
Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series
Jerry Cook, six-time NASCAR Modified champion
H. Clay Earles, founder of Martinsville Speedway
Tim Flock, two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
Ray Fox, legendary engine builder and owner of cars driven by Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and others
Anne Bledsoe France, helped build the sport with husband Bill France Sr. Affectionately known as "Annie B.," she is the first woman to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Rick Hendrick, 13-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series
Jack Ingram, two-time NASCAR Busch (now Nationwide) Series champion and three-time Late Model Sportsman champion
Bobby Isaac, 1970 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
Fred Lorenzen, 26 wins and winner of the Daytona 500 and World 600
Cotton Owens, driver-owner, won 1966 owner championship with David Pearson
Raymond Parks, NASCAR's first champion car owner
Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
Les Richter, former NASCAR executive; former president of Riverside International Raceway
Fireball Roberts, 33 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series wins, including the 1962 Daytona 500
T. Wayne Robertson, helped raise NASCAR popularity as R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company senior VP
Wendell Scott, NASCAR trailblazer was the first African-American NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series race winner, and first to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Ralph Seagraves, formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
Herb Thomas, first two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion, 1951, '53
Curtis Turner, early personality, called the "Babe Ruth of stock car racing"
Rusty Wallace, 1989 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
Joe Weatherly, two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
Leonard Wood, part-owner and former crew chief for Wood Brothers, revolutionized pit stops

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The HOF is a joke Matt !

April 16, 2012 at 9:51 AM 
Anonymous modified7 said...

The Hall of Fame really is a engine on a misfire. My opinion is they (Nascar) should rethink the nomination guide lines in order to get more fans involved. FIRST, Allow more people into the Hall. (at least 10 at a time). SECOND, choose mostly, the ones that started the sport from 1949 thru 1975. THIRD, nominate people from all divisions, equally, (Sportsman-Modified, Grand National, (now cup). FOURTH, Do not nominate the ones still in competion. as their statis is not complete. NASCAR NEEDS TO PULL FROM THE EARLY YEARS, Before, All the fans that remember the begining have passed on and the new fans don't know any of the pioneers of the sport. Thanks for being my sounding board.

April 16, 2012 at 10:36 AM 
Anonymous mrclause said...

To begin with there should not be any France family members on the panel! There should also not be any NASCAR management types on the panel!

At some point there has to be some concessions made to open more categories. Something like founding fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, fifth cousins. Then there really should be a media category. A category for those such as T.Wayne and others. Drivers and team owners should each have their own category.

Doing that would allow for more inductees each year and for a HOF that truly is a HOF. It might also prevent the control by the France family and the bias they operate with. To overlook Smokey and to nominate Anne France is typical NASCAR and yet another hit on the Hall with the fans.

This HOF is paid for by the fans in every area, tax dollars, entrance fees, how about actually making it theirs and not the Frances? Remove the political correctness, the nepotism, the blatant NASCAR bias, let it be something for the people that made NASCAR and for the fans that have made it what it is.

Whats next, the family dog or maybe the family bartender?

April 16, 2012 at 11:45 AM 
Blogger Unknown said...

Good article, Matt, but you didn't go far enough. I read in 2-3 other articles that Anne B. was NASCAR's first Secretary Treasurer. Not so. Marshall Teague was appointed Treasurer and Bill Tuthill was appointed Secretary at the first NASCAR roganizational meeting in Dayton Beach 21 Feb, 1948! If they was to see a woman nominated, then how about either Sara Christain or Louise Smith? They would both be much more appropriate nominees than Mrs. France. Titally agree with your summation of Smokey. I figure that he'll get a nomination about the same time Tim Richmond does. Sorry but I disagree about Rusty. I believe a person should be away from the sport, on an active basis for a minimum of five years before being eligible for nomination.

April 16, 2012 at 12:41 PM 
Blogger trat said...

One more reason that more people don't visit the Hall. The place is loosing money. Next thing you know NA$CAR will move it to Vagas. Tne new NASCAR just doesn't understand or care about it;s fans!

April 20, 2012 at 3:36 AM 

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