The Frontstretch: What's Vexing Vito: NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominations Need Some Tweaking by Vito Pugliese -- Thursday April 12, 2012

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On Wednesday, NASCAR announced the 25 nominees for the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame class. Looking through the names and considering the impact each had on the sport, everybody on the list clearly deserves a spot in the Hall, as well as an appropriate retrospective on their career, lives, and contribution to our sport.

With that said, NASCAR is in a bit of a precarious situation with announcing this many people and only five spots on hand every year.

NASCAR and its Hall of Fame is unique, as so many of the sports legends are still alive and able to share their stories with those fans who have been here from the beginning, as well as those who just started tuning in the last few years. They should be honored and their story told by them – while they still have the opportunity to do so. After all, Band of Brothers was so gripping because it was made when many were still alive to share their experiences – not interpreted by somebody without any frame of reference.

Am I likening racing cars to storming the beach at Normandy? Not at all, its just that the racing world and landscape today is far different than the one that was shaped just a little more than 60 years ago by many who are still around to relive it.

One of the names on the list who is deserving of a Hall of Fame honor is that of the Golden Boy, Fred Lorenzen. For those of you who may be friends with him on Facebook, you probably saw this sobering post by his daughter Wednesday evening. For those who are not, please read below:

_Ok friends and fans, this is Fred’s daughter writing today. As most of you know, Freddie has dementia, a form of Alzheimer’s. It’s amazing how clearly he remembers his days of racing and how hard it is to see day to day confusion. He loves to hear stories, posts and pictures from [Facebook].

I haven’t pushed in the past for votes for my dad, but as I feel my dad declining, I know the right thing to do is encourage you loyal fans to vote for Fast Freddie. He’s laid the foundation for what NASCAR is today. He’s never let a fan down and is known for his sincerity, passion, hard work and truly being a pioneer of racing-knowing the ins and outs of his car and working non-stop with his crew.

Over the past years, I’ve been humbled to learn, MY DAD is so many people’s hero. He always said his fans were his heroes. Well heroes, let’s be Dad’s heroes again and give his one LAST major racing memory and VOTE to get him inducted in the Hall of Fame THIS YEAR while he can appreciate knowing the honor? After all, he deserves it.

With our sincere thanks, Amanda and Chris_ (Note: This passage has been edited for clarity purposes only. There was absolutely no intent to change the meaning of anything written.)

With Lorenzen in poor health, hopefully in the future some deference will be given to those that are still with us to be nominated for induction ahead of those who are still active in the sport and in good health. While Richard Childress, Jack Roush, and Rick Hendrick have all had a significant impact on the sport over the last 25 years, they are still very active in racing and no worse for wear – Jack’s frequent radical vertical impact aerial exercises not withstanding.

I feel there should be some subjective criteria for the Hall of Fame these first few years to help build the base of the Hall, and to honor those who are still here to be honored. There should be three spots for drivers, two for mechanics, one for car owners and one for promoters, as well as a posthumous inductee for either of those roles. That way those who left us will be sure to be honored, as well as the fortunate few who have served their time and are still alive to receive the fruits of their labors.

Prayers and best wishes for Fred Lorenzen and his family, and hopes that he is able to see himself into the Hall of Fame – while he still can.

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04/12/2012 01:07 PM

There is a huge glut of those desrving to be in. The first year – the France’s were a no-brainer and should have been in addition to the 5 others. I say go 10-20 per year for the first 5 years to clear the backlog and build up the list of greats.

Moe Foe
04/12/2012 03:37 PM

Totally agree with the sentiment that active members of NASCAR, the media, industry, and sponsors should NOT be considered for inclusion in the HOF. There are many who the limiting of the inaugural class left out and deserve inclusion right NOW

And the France family should be excluded from all future nomimations. Anne Bledsoe France, indeed. I’m not saying that she wasn’t a factor in her time, but the first woman to be selected? No way.

And, BTW. Rusty doesn’t deserve an entry right now. He was a good driver, no doubt, but it was racing in the ‘big money’ era of Stock Cars that is his real claim to fame. Just like I disagree with DW’s (He’s also needed to wait his turn)selection, Rusty’s crowing from the broadcast booth is not how I want my HOF winners to act.

04/12/2012 10:19 PM

I agree with you on most of your content. I think NASCAR Hall should reconize the pioneers who established this great sport. Nominate the pioneers before the fans of those days are gone and the new fans don’t know anything or who help establish NASCAR. I’m talking about the history in the late forties to late seventies. Which inclued the (then Grand National now Sprint Cup) as well as the old Sportsman-Modified divisions before it’s to late. Drivers like Mike Klapak,Johnny Roberts,Bill Wimble,Rene Charland,Red Farmer,Wally Cambell Frankie Schneider,Buck Baker,Rex White and many more deserve knowledgement. that is my take and appreciate the opportunity.

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