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Some NASCAR Hall of Fame thoughts

CHARLOTTE, NC – MAY 23: A general view of the voting panel during the NACAR Hall of Fame Voting Day at NASCAR Hall of Fame on May 23, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, the NASCAR Hall of Fame elected Jeff Gordon, Alan Kulwicki, Davey Allison, Jack Roush and Roger Penske and 2019 inductees into the Hall to officially be inducted next Feb. 1. Upon yesterday evening’s announcement of the upcoming class, I have a few thoughts.

Gordon was on 96 percent of the ballots cast in Wednesday’s vote. At first, I couldn’t fathom how he wasn’t on 100 percent. After all, only three drivers have more Cup Series championships — Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson. Petty and Earnhardt were in the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s inaugural class of 2010. Johnson’s not in, yet, because he’s not eligible as an active driver. Only two drivers — Petty and David Pearson have more wins. Again, both those guys are in the Hall of Fame. Pearson joined Petty and Earnhardt in the NHOF in 2011, among the second class of inductees.

I’ve heard a reasonable explanation of one unknown voter not putting Gordon on his/her ballot — Gordon was such a shoe-in that someone decided to use all five of their votes on nominees that may need them to get in. That makes sense, but since Wednesday’s announcement I’ve seen disgruntled fans on social media, decrying that so many legends deserve to go in before Gordon. Really?!? Which nominee(s) has/have better stats than Gordon? I’ll wait. Remember, we’re talking about the driver who’s fourth on the premier-series championship list and third on the Cup Series all-time wins list. I’m still waiting.

I think all five of the 2019 inductees, certainly, are Hall of Fame worthy, but I’m thinking there’s at least one nominee who deserved to go in before one or two of the 2019 inductees. I’m talking about Kirk Shelmerdine. Prior to, finally, getting on the nominee list for the first time for 2019 consideration, I was flabbergasted by his lack of a nomination. In case you’re unaware, Shelmerdine is a four-time Cup Series crew chief, calling the shots for four of Earnhardt’s seven titles. Those four titles came in pairs, too. He won consecutive Cup Series championships twice, in 1986 and 1987 and 1990 and 1991. Again, where’s the love for Shelmerdine?

Looking ahead to 2020, Gordon’s nomination in his first year of eligibility and his selection in his first year as a nominee, I can’t help but see the same for three-time champion Tony Stewart. Stewart will become eligible for Hall of Fame consideration as a driver for 2020, retiring from full-time competition at the end of the 2016 season. I’m not on the nomination or voting committees, but I’ll go ahead an pencil-in Stewart on my “just-for-fun” ballot for 2020, even though the nomination list hasn’t been determined, yet.

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Posted by on May 24, 2018. Filed under Blog by Amanda Vincent,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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