I think the concept of a Hall of Fame is nice. A little “me too” if you asked me, but if we can have a stapler HoF, why not a NASCAR HoF? But if we are going to have one, little late for that because we do, how do we do it and not water down the classes with people who have never won, or won once, at the highest level? Don’t we have an obligation to our history to put only the elite in? Too late really, because we have already set a precedent that guarantees our halls will never be as hallowed as Cooperstown.
Seriously, we have damn near found a way to put every champion we have ever had in there. Though our sport is sentimental and, at times, so tied to the past that we can’t move forward, don’t we have an obligation to seek and select only the best at the highest level? At some point we are going to run out of Champs and have to turn to Chumps, just to meet the five inductee class. If not for our complete inability to call the son of a great driver, less than, I propose our sample size will be our own demise.
Lets put some numbers to it.
Any given year, we have about 45 cup drivers to choose from. Of those, maybe ten actually have a chance to win any given Sunday. And if they win one race, can they win two? Enough race wins for a championship? Two Championships? By way of comparison, each year the NFL has 1.696 players on their rosters that “could” make the hall, 1,280 players in Major League Baseball and 600 in the NHL. And this does not include pro’s in the minor leagues which we at NASCAR can’t seem to help ourselves from inducting. Touring champs. Truck Champs. Xfinity Champs. Like the Arena league, AAA Baseball and AHL hockey, in our hall.
Before you say, hey wait, those are team sports! Yea, well, so is ours. Yet we choose to spend our pics on a guy who only won (1) race. Or never won a cup race. Or never even made it to cup. Or even raced. Period. By the way, why does one, one race winner get in and not another? Paul Menard is a one race winner. Trevor Bane? Those guys? Why not? Oh wait, I know.
Just like other pro sports, I get it, not everyone is going to be on a championship team. Some may never even be on winning teams. This infers that there are many HoFers present in their respective halls that were not champions. But if they were players, and they are in the hall, you can be your bum they were dominant at the highest level. What does that dominance look like for us?
Since 2010 Ron Hornaday, Bruton Smith, Jerry Cook, Wendell Scott, Jack Ingram, Cotton Owens and Richie Evans are some of those folks who have never shown dominance at our highest level. Yet they are in. I honestly don’t care of we put a tire changer in the hall, but he better be the fastest tire changer ever and have held that spot for more than one race. But that isn’t how NASCAR does it because NASCAR, more than any other sport, honors the lucky sperm club and falls at the feet of any driver that shows diversity. Danica, Daniel, Wendell and Rico come to mind. How many times are the announcers mentioning the name Suarez per race?
About 20% of every class’all. Conciliatory, obligatory and/or please dear God find us someone that shows the NASCAR organization as diverse. And before too long, people will be clamoring for Dale JR to get in. Other than bring massive dollars to the sport, what has he done? I would rather see Carl Edwards get it. At least he had to work for his ride and not flutter in on dads firesuit tails.
So I open it up to you. What are the bare minimums for a driver, only a driver, to make it in? Chaser, does Dale Earnhardt Jr make it in? If there was a category for luck sperm, ok, put him in. Otherwise I am not sure. What about Carl Edwards? Let’s hear it Race Reviewers.