On Wednesday evening, the 25 nominees to be considered for 2014 induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame were revealed. Twenty of the 25 nominees were holdovers from the previous ballott, while five new nominees were added to replace the five who were actually inducted earlier this year. The 25 nominees to be considered for induction in early 2014 include: Red Byron, Richard Childress, Jerry Cook, H. Clay Earles, Tim Flock, Ray Fox, Anne B. France, Rick Hendrick, Jack Ingram, Bobby Isaac, Fred Lorenzen, Raymond Parks, Benny Parsons, Les Richter, Fireball Roberts, T. Wayne Robertson, Wendell Scott, Ralph Seagraves, Curtis Turner, Joe Weatherly, Dale Jarrett, Bruton Smith, Rex White, Larry Phillips and Maurice Petty.
The Hall is expected to induct five members as the class of 2014 into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. If it were up to me, and of course it’s not, here are the five individuals from among the 25 aforementioned who should make up the next class of Hall of Fame inductees:
Red Byron and Raymond Parks – There’s something to be said about being first, and these two men were firsts at NASCAR’s top level. Byron was the first champion driver, with Parks being the first champion car owner.
Maurice Petty – Theres a tradition of inducting members of NASCAR’s first family, the Pettys, whenever a family member is nominated. But seriously, through most of the early years in the sport, on up through the 1970s, no other team dominated NASCAR racing like Petty Enterprises. And Maurice Petty was responsible for the power plant under the hood of one of the most inconic cars, ever, in the sport, Richard Petty’s No. 43.
Fireball Roberts – Roberts is regarded as NASCAR’s first big superstar. Like several of the other drivers already inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, he was among those listed as one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers in 1998. Roberts won big in the big races, claiming a Daytona 500 win in 1962 and Southern 500 wins in 958 and 1963. Overall, he won 33 races in a span of 15 years between 1950 and 1964.
Fred Lorenzen – For the most part, Lorenzen was a part-time driver back when NASCAR would run 50-plus races at its top level per season. But Lorenzen didn’t need that many races to get the job done. In 12 seasons (on and off between 956 and 1972), Lorenzon 26 races in only 158 starts. His best season was, perhaps, 1964 when he won half the races he enters — eight wins in 16 starts.
FYI: In voting for the 2014 Hall of Fame Inductees, Roberts, Cook and Flock were the highest vote-getters among the 20 who were inducted, and Roberts actually tied with inductee Buck Baker, losing out to Baker in a tie-breaking vote.
The actual 54-member voting panel, along with the results of an online fan vote, will determine the five inductees on May 22. The chosen inductees will then be officially inducted in early 2014.
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