Dale Earhardt Jr., who had yet another miserable NASCAR Sprint Cup race last night at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in fr-fre-fre-free-zing Charlotte, N.C., says his father would be extremely proud of being one of the first five people to be inducted into NASCAR’s brand new Hall of Fame.
But then he suggested the old man would be as happy to be honoured as he’d be winning the Daytona 500 and that’s where Junior and I part company.
Dale Sr. liked winning, all right, but on his terms – on the speedway. Winning by ballot box just wasn’t his style.
The first five – of 25 people nominated – confirmed my concern and suspicion that the choices would be more political than popular. Yes, Dale Earnhardt Sr. deserves to be in the Hall, as does Richard Petty. And Bill France Sr. had to go in, too, because without him there wouldn’t have been a NASCAR.
But Bill France Jr.? Yes, in future, but not in the first class. Same with Junior Johnson. Of course he’s an all-star but he could have waited too.
I maintain my choices were far more representative of all of NASCAR than the five named this past week (who will be formally inducted when the new Hall of Fame is opened in Charlotte next May).
But you win some and you lose some. Hopefully, Richie Evans and Ned Jarrett will be nominated again and make the cut next year.
Meantime, that race in Charlotte last night was a bitter experience for all concerned – from the drivers to the crews to the thousands upon thousands of spectators who bundled up in their parkas and stuck it out as the temperature dropped below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Jimmie Johnson won the NASCAR Banking 500 by Bank of America decisively – he was more than 2 seconds in front at the checkers – over second-place Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne, who was third.
Johnson – who won his third race of the five Chase for the Championship races to date – now leads Mark Martin by 90 points (Martin finished 17th last night) and Jeff Gordon (4rth last night) by 135 points.
Unless he falters big time, Johnson looks pretty good to take his fourth consecutive NASCAR Cup championship. And if that happens, how can they keep him out of the Hall of Fame?