Because, oh hell, I’m watching it.
3:20 p.m.—I’m really enjoying the show because, finally, racing fans have an opportunity to consider the sport’s history. I mean, we’re talking about Red Byron. That’s cool. We’re “sparking curiosity,” after Ken Squier, who should be in the Hall someday himself. Oh—my personal five are Bill France, Sr., Richard and Lee Petty, Curtis Turner, and Red Byron, NASCAR’s first champion. Yeah, I know: no Dale Sr.; he’s in my second 5.
3:28 p.m.—Some people are locked in. Richard and Bill Sr., I think, are locks. How can Bill France Sr. not be? “Our greatest generation” (KP)
3:30 p.m.—Ken Squier: “Personalities sell tickets.”
3:35 p.m.—Know what this is? National bench-racing. Now that’s cool. Larry Mac: “There’s only one first HoF class.”
3:36 p.m.—No matter what, worthy figures are going to be denied for this year. Will there be a whole new list next year?
3:39 p.m.—The panelists have voted; we’ll know at 4 p.m. Barney Hall intimates that there’ll be a surprise.
3:44 p.m.—Yeah, apparently there was some pretty strong disagreements and “furrowed brows” (Mike Joy) during the voting committee’s meeting. That figures; this is an important decision. No, really.
Is this the day American auto racing finally gets its due, its respect?
3:47 p.m.—Tom Higgins: There was “a right lively debate.” Bill Sr.’s a lock, Bill Jr. would’ve wanted a driver to go in instead of him.
3:50 p.m.—Yeah, this is history, all right. A true milestone.
3:51 p.m.—”Common men doing uncommon things.” (KS)
4:00—we’re a minute away. Allegedly. I see we’re on NASCAR time here.
Brian France: The top 5 are Bill Sr. (and BTW I really like the short biographical films they’re prepared for the occasion, except they’re too damn short), Richard Petty, Bill Jr. (against what might’ve been his personal wishes, according to Tom Higgins), Dale Sr. (w/Teresa in attendance—something must’ve gone wrong with the B roll), and Junior Johnson. After which they finally succeed in running Dale’s film.
I wouldn’t argue with any of those choices. One helluva show. I got two of the five right, but as Ned Jarrett says, there are no wrong choices.
Update: David Pearson was the sixth-highest vote-getter, followed by Cale Yarborough and Bobby Allison. Also, the fans’ voted for (in alphabetical order, per SpeedTV): Bobby Allison, Dale Sr., Bill Sr., Richard Petty, and Cale Yarborough. Hmmm….
700,000 fans cast ballots. Wow.