With the Cup Series off this weekend, the pollsters took a look at the recently announced list of nominees for the 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame induction class. The mix of names covers all aspects of NASCAR – drivers in various series, crew chiefs, car owners and promoters. Some were there when the first green flag dropped and some are still involved in the sport today. With the selection committee coming from an assortment of backgrounds, it is hard to predict where the votes will ultimately fall, but our group took the time to chime in with their choices.
David Pearson is second on the all-time wins list and considered by many to be the best driver to ever participate in the sport. Quite a few people thought he should have been in the inaugural class, and he most certainly will be in this one even though he asked to be left out of consideration in respect to Raymond Parks if he isn’t going to be inducted.
Behind Pearson, there’s T. Wayne Robertson, who was almost personally responsible for RJ Reynolds taking the sport to new levels of popularity, while Parks was not only the first championship car owner, but also fielded several other cars that originally competed in the series and even helped pay some of the first purses.
Richie Evans owns more championships than any other driver while Dale Inman has crew chiefed more championships than Chad Knaus and Ray Evernham combined. Cale Yarborough and Bobby Allison battled it out on the track and in the infield, while Lee Petty went so far as to protest his own son in order to win a race.
It is going to be a heated debate over the next few months about who should be in the next induction class… so get a head start with us! Read this week’s Power Rankings to find out who our voters selected.
How the Rankings are Calculated: Frontstretch does their power rankings somewhat similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football – writers on our staff will vote for the top 20 on a 20-19-18-17-16-15…3-2-1 basis, giving 20 points to their first-place driver, 19 for their second and so on. In the end, Mike Neff calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners and… voila! You have the Power Rankings from our dedicated staff.
|FRONTSTRETCH TOP-15 PICKS FOR THE 2011 HALL OF FAME|
|Rank||Nominee (First-Place Votes)||Votes||Career Cup Wins|
|1||David Pearson (7)||193||105|
|Three championships and 105 wins on a part-time schedule… need we say more?|
|Before the reigning four-time, before the original four-time, there was three-time, a record that may stand the test of time better than the Chase.|
|3||Lee Petty (2)||156||54|
|The patriarch of Petty Enterprises once protested his own son’s victory. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.|
|4||Bobby Allison (1)||149||83|
|He may have lost some of his memory following a vicious 1988 crash, but the memories of the Allison/Petty rivalry, plus the 1979 Daytona 500, will live on the memory of fans’ hearts forever.|
|Had more championships than Chad Knaus and Ray Evernham. When you spend a lifetime as Richard Petty‘s right-hand man, you KNOW you’re doing something right.|
|Two championships, 50 wins and the voice and face of NASCAR broadcasting spanning four decades. One of the finest ambassadors and representatives of any sport.|
|No matter how bad he is behind the mic, DW was one hell of a racecar driver.|
|Championship-winning crew chief better known as a car owner and one of the most important forces in Ford’s racing success for 30 years in all forms of motorsport. His driver resume alone is Hall of Fame material: Earnhardt, Waltrip, Isaac and Fireball Roberts. But perhaps his most important contribution remains his efforts on June 6, 1944 in Normandy, France.|
|Did a lot more for the sport than just own the first championship car.|
|A career cut much too short by, coincidentally, a horrific fiery accident at Charlotte in 1964. A driver ahead of his time and stuff that legends are made of.|
|It may have been modifieds, but nine championships deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.|
|Talk all you want about Petty and Pearson dominating when they strapped behind the wheel; Thomas has a higher winning percentage than anyone who has ever run in the sport.|
|Figured out very early on that pit stops would be the difference between winning and losing.|
|Timber baron who broke the 180-mph barrier at Daytona and the 15-minute barrier at Pikes Peak. Built Charlotte Motor Speedway against all odds with the help of a Smith & Wesson revolver. Once landed his plane on Main Street in Spartanburg just to pick up some stuff from his house. And he liked to party.|
|First driver to win two consecutive championships at the NASCAR Cup level.|
|Also Receiving Votes: Red Byron (62), Tim Flock (59), T. Wayne Robertson (56), Joe Weatherly (51), Richard Childress (47), Rick Hendrick (38), Benny Parsons (38), Jack Ingram (28), Jerry Cook (23), Fred Lorenzen (21)|
|Who Voted: Thomas Bowles, Tony Lumbis, Mike Neff, Matt Taliaferro, Brock Beard, Mike Ravesi, Vito Pugliese, Bryan Davis Keith, Garrett Horton and Phil Allaway|
About the author
What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.