It’s been a long time in the making.
Next May, during the Sprint All-Star Week in Charlotte, the inaugural class will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Thursday night at 8 pm on Speed, the first 25 nominees will be revealed. Only five will make the cut.
A few of the nominees' names will be made public by trickling out through blogs on NASCAR.com.
According to Josh Hamilton of NASCAR, the 25 nominees will then go through another selection process. This process will consist of 50 votes. Each vote will break down into a voting category. Once those votes are counted, five names will emerge.
The voting categories are:
- 20 members of the nominating committee.
- 14 media representatives: Three each from the National Motorsports Press Association, the Associated Press Sports Editors, and the Eastern Motorsports Press Association; one each from FOX, Turner, ESPN, Motor Racing Network, and Performance Racing Network.
- One representative each from Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, and Toyota.
- Three retired drivers.
- Three retired owners.
- Three retired crew chiefs.
- Two NASCAR Industry Leaders.
- Fan vote.
A complete list of names for each category has not yet been released.
Twenty-five nominees seems like a lot, but it’s not. It’s only half of NASCAR’s fifty greatest drivers list, and only a fraction of those who could be considered deserving.
NASCAR has been around for over 60 years. How can you only pick five names for your first class, and only five more every year after that?
At a pace of five inductees per year, the majority of NASCAR’s early elite will never make it to the Hall of Fame. It would take 10 years just to get through NASCAR’s list of fifty greatest drivers. That is, if all of them were to be inducted.
By then, those on the voting panels will only know names like Kenseth, Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, or Busch, just to name a few.
The original list of 25 will certainly include names like Earnhardt, Petty, Allison, Yarborough, and Pearson. Those five names alone should be rubber stamps for induction.
Next year inductees could be Waltrip, Parsons, Johnson, Wallace, and Ned Jarrett.
After two inductions, we are still in the same decade of drivers.
Do we just forget about Randy Dorton, Ray Evernham, Fonty Flock, Marvin Panch, or Cotton Owens?
Eligible drivers must have competed for at least 10 years and be retired from racing at least three years. Drivers with less than 10 years could be considered if there were special circumstances. Davey Allison and Tim Richmond would be eligible under these criteria.
NASCAR fans have no voice in the nomination process, but they do get a voice for the final five inductees by voting at NASCAR.com.
Fan voting participation will certainly clog the Internet arteries of NASCAR’s Web site, but total fan vote will only count for one-fiftieth of the total voting process.
Keeping with NASCAR tradition, our voices will barely be heard.
Source: NASCAR, NASCARmedia.com, and the clutter in my head