Predicting Which Current Drivers Will Make the NASCAR Hall of Fame

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Predicting Which Current Drivers Will Make the NASCAR Hall of Fame
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images
One of the above drivers is a definite Hall of Famer to be, the other, maybe not.

Making the Hall of Fame in any sport is the culmination of an athlete's career and the ultimate honor to recognize that lengthy and successful career.

After more than 60 years of doing without, NASCAR finally established its own Hall of Fame and Museum nearly four years ago. And the drivers, team owners, pioneers and officials who have since been inducted into the Hall have truly been the creme de la creme of NASCAR's all-time royalty.

While we'll see the induction fields in upcoming classes start to whittle down from five inductees per year to maybe two or three in some years, it's become quite an enjoyable exercise when NASCAR fans get together to see who they feel will eventually make or not make the Hall.

With that in mind, here are my picks for the top five drivers still competing in NASCAR today that are but locks to make it into the Hall of Fame in the next decade or two.

In almost every case, I expect that once one of the following five drivers on my list becomes eligible for the Hall, he'll likely be a first-time selection. Meaning, after sitting out the mandatory five-year waiting period before being eligible for induction, it's highly likely, most if not all, of the following quintet of drivers will make it in the first year they're up for eligibility, nomination and induction.

Granted, there are always disagreements among fans when it comes to some other drivers. For example, I can already envision the criticism coming, but one of NASCAR's current superstars today will have a hard time making the Hall.

If voting is based upon overall career performance, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will likely only make the Hall if he wins at least a couple of Sprint Cup championships before he ultimately retires.

If Earnhardt makes the Hall primarily because of his surname or because he's been voted NASCAR's Most Popular Driver the last 10 years running, it would be unfair to other drivers who have achieved more performance-related accomplishments in their respective careers (i.e. more wins, Cup championships, made the Chase for the Sprint Cup more times, etc.).

A good example of a similar circumstance would be electing Kyle Petty to the Hall, not because of his eight career Cup wins, but because he's a Petty—Lee's grandson and Richard's son, both of whom are already in the Hall because of their on-track achievements.

Of course, if Kyle were elected for his humanitarian efforts—such as the formation of Victory Junction Gang Camp—there probably isn't anybody more deserving for induction.

So, without further ado, here are the five drivers (in no particular order) in today's Sprint Cup that I believe are locks to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

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