OK. I’ll admit it. Every damn time NASCAR announces its Hall inductees, I cry like a child. I’m just emotional that way as I age. Oh, well. Every year, the choices become more difficult; now that all of the Petty clan have been inducted, etc., we begin to dig much deeper into the history of this sport. For example, one of the potential names was no less than Wendell Scott. On Speed Mike Joy said there was much debate on Scott’s behalf (I wanted him to get in myself, and one day he will because everyone on the nominees’ list will one day get in). Another was Joe Weatherly who absolutely will get in next year; in fact, I’ll go out on a low limb here and say he’ll lead next year’s class. I really mean that.
Tim Flock: OK, I did not like the idea of Jocko Flocko because I never blindly believe animals truly consent to such things but instead are coerced. Still, nothing takes away from Flock’s talent nor his abilities as an ambassador for the sport after his retirement. To his death, he was a marvelous representative in all ways. In his later years, he was a kind of barker for ticket sales, and would always regale fans with his legend. He deserved to brag.
Maurice Petty: The Chief. To again quote Mike Joy, his numbers exceed Richard’s (so do Dale Inman’s). Now the entire group has been enshrined. I just wonder what Winston Kelley will do in terms of the diorama for Maurice. It’ll be cool, be sure of that.
Dale Jarrett: And now we have another father and son in the Hall. Much of the impulse for DJ must be his smooth and graceful transition to media where he’s done so much to advance NASCAR’s cause, but then there are those Daytona wins, etc., etc. He deserves it, too.
Jack Ingram: I wept over this one for sure. He is the definition of old-school Southern short-track racers. If I was on a team and saw his pull into the pits, I’d start wondering how much second-place paid. The car that’s already in the Hall is an original piece Ingram and his old crew built specifically for display purposes, which means they could go back racing anytime Jack was ready.
Glenn “Fireball” Roberts: His nickname of course came from a previous career as a pitcher. He would clearly have been good, probably would’ve made it to the majors. Instead, he devoted himself to NASCAR, where he excelled. His death at Charlotte in 1964 was one more scar in a year of horrible deaths in racing. It’s Pyrrhic that the fuel cell was developed in part in the wake of his death as it is that the HANS device came about as a result of Dale Sr.’s death, but the main thing is his career. As people have been saying all day, it’s about the numbers.
With that said, just wait until next year. That’ll be fun, too. And from here on out….