Race Weekend Central

The Critic’s Annex 52- 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

by Phil Allaway

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to the Critic’s Annex, where I take an additional look at motorsports-related broadcasts. On Monday night, the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte held their second annual Induction Ceremony at their massive complex in Uptown Charlotte (that I have not been to yet, although I would like to). SPEED provided a tape-delayed broadcast of the proceedings that ran for 2.5 hours.

Ok, before we even get into the actual critique of the event, I (along with many other Twitter users) was tipped off that the ceremony was being aired on a one hour delay. Yet, at the end of the introduction, an unseen Rick Allen bellowed that the ceremony was being televised live. That’s false advertising and thus, bush league. Some of the inductees, like Ned Jarrett were likely not told that the event was tape delayed, so they made reference to the broadcast during their speeches. SPEED, you’re better than that.

Mike Joy hosted the ceremony in front of an audience of hundreds. He briefly introduced the two living members of the Inaugural class from last year (Richard Petty and Junior Johnson) and then the four living members of the 2011 class (Ned Jarrett, Bud Moore, David Pearson, and Bobby Allison), along with the family of the late Lee Petty. Following the introductions, a montage of clips honoring the inductees and their accomplishments aired. Interesting footage that was included there included film from the first Strictly Stock race at Charlotte Speedway. Yes, there is footage of Lee Petty driving his thrashed (and borrowed) car in the first race of what is now the Sprint Cup Series.

Each inductee had a special guest send in a taped congratulation that aired before their specific induction. In order, those introductions were done by Tom Brokaw, President George H.W. Bush, Ken Squier, Nick Saban and Richard Petty.

Each of the five inductees had short clips that talked about the inductee’s accomplishments in and out of the sport. Moore’s was first. Half of it talked about his time as a team owner and mechanic. The other half talked about his time in the U.S. Army during World War II, specifically his role in charging Omaha Beach on D-Day (June 6, 1944). The clips for Lee Petty, David Pearson and Bobby Allison focused on their racing careers exclusively, while Ned Jarrett’s covered his racing and broadcasting careers.

Barney Hall introduced Moore with a ten minute speech filled with memories of both Moore’s accomplishments, but also on a personal level. Apparently, when he met Moore, he was constantly talking about “…breasts, legs and thighs.” You can imagine what that meant. Hall seemed really quiet while giving his speech. Don’t understand why. Everything else seemed to be fine. He’s not too quiet on the radio. He’s loud enough to be heard in person (I had the pleasure of meeting him in Daytona last July). Just weird.

As Petty was the only posthumous inductee, he was introduced by his four grandsons (Kyle, Ritchie, Tim and Mark), three of which actually started races in NASCAR (Kyle and Ritchie both have Sprint Cup starts, while Mark started some truck races as a teammate to Steve Grissom in 2000). The four grandsons simply voiced their sentiments for their grandfather from the heart, which was quite touching.

Richard Petty and his brother Maurice served as the inductors for their father. They gave relatively short speeches before accepting the gifts on their father’s behalf.

Ned Jarrett was introduced by his three children, Patti, Glenn and Dale. Ned talked about being blessed about all sorts of things in his speech, including his broken back, which he states that the physical therapy and exercise required to keep him mobile helps his vascular system.

Bobby Allison was introduced by his brother Donnie, who proceeded to read off of a prepared speech for about ten minutes. Very, very dry, but he hit all his points. Bobby himself was far more engaging than Donnie.

David Pearson was introduced by Russell Branham, a former PR minion for Pearson’s Busch Grand National team in the 1980’s and Leonard Wood, one of the Wood Brothers (and Pearson’s former car owner). In his speech, David talked about some of his memories from his decades of involvement in the sport.

Following each inductee’s speech, Krista Voda would conduct what amounted to an exit interview. On paper, it didn’t really sound necessary. However, when the inductees reached the podium, they were all reading prepared speeches that, while interesting and even at times, a little funny, were quite dry. Voda’s role was to get the inductee’s present thoughts, and she did a good job of that.

I found the ceremony to be quite appropriate. Since NASCAR RaceHub aired right before the actual ceremony, there was only so much buildup. If you remember last year, they aired the walk-in show and went on and on. Got to be a little bit much after a while. SPEED’s present was generally concise and their on-air personalities more or less stayed out of the way since it really wasn‘t about them. I enjoyed watching the show and hearing the old stories. Granted, I’m too young to actually remember 90 percent of what was said when it happened, but I still found it quite interesting.

I hope you enjoyed this look at SPEED’s coverage of the 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Next week, we go to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to cover Carb Day. Until then, enjoy the sweetest race weekend of the entire season.

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