Just two days ago, NASCAR announced the fourth class of inducttes into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. Each year five members of the NASCAR community are invited to join. This year, as a NASCAR fan, I am confused as to why one of the inductees was invited in so early. I’ll let you take a guess as to which inductee has me so confused. The 2013 Hall of Fame class will be inducted on February 8, 2013.
Cotton Owens – Everett “Cotton” Owens won nine races as driver in NASCAR’s top series, however; it is his career as an owner that NASCAR fans will remember him as. Owens hired Hall of Fame members Junior Johnson and David Pearson as drivers in the early 1960s and has 38 victories under his belt as an owner.
Leonard Wood – Wood will join his brother Glen, who was inducted in 2012. He and his brother revolutionized the modern pit stop. Woods has won five Daytona 500s as an owner and 96 races and 117 poles as a crew chief.
Buck Baker – Elzie Wylie “Buck” Baker was the first driver to win back to back championships in 1956 and 1957. He had 46 career victories.
Herb Thomas – Thomas was one of the original superstars of NASCAR. He was the first driver to win two NASCAR premier series championships (1951 and 1953). As one of the pioneers of the sport, he deserves to be in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Rusty Wallace – 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup champ, Rusty Wallace, will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame after only being on the ballot one time. He has 55 career wins. He also influenced NASCAR to mandate roof flags. After his retirement from NASCAR in 2005, he took became announcer for ESPN as well as a team owner.
As I write this, I can’t help but cringe a little bit. The fans, who also had a vote in the decision, placed Benny Parsons, Fireball Roberts, and Wendell Scott ahead of Rusty Wallace on the ballot. These gentlemen are way more deserving of the honor before a driver who just finished his career. It’s definitely too soon for Wallace to be on the ballot. Let’s just hope some of the pioneers of a sport we all know and love get inducted before any other drivers.
What do you think NASCAR fans, should Rusty Wallace be inducted before some true pioneers of NASCAR?