Before focusing on the subjects of today’s post — how in the world is Bud Moore in the NASCAR Hall of Fame when legends like Cale Yarborough and Glen Wood aren’t? Plus a preview of Saturday night’s Chase race at Charlotte — there’s two things I have to get out of the way.
— You know how, when the winner of an IndyCar race or a NASCAR race gets out of his car and prepares to mount the podium, there’s an explosion of confetti-like red, white and blue streamers? Well, the other night when the last of those Chilean miners was brought to the surface, there was a blast of the same stuff.
I swear, it looked like a Victory Lane celebration.
And then the first thing this fellow, who’s been trapped underground for — what? — 70 days, does is stand at attention beside the president of Chile and sing the country’s national anthem.
As the days of that drama dragged on, all I could think about was The Big Carnival (a.k.a. Ace in the Hole), a Paramount Pictures movie in 1951 that starred Kirk Douglas and Jan Sterling.
If you know the story of that film, you’ll know what I'm getting at.
Now, there’s a big consumer and trade show on at the International Centre in Mississauga this weekend. The 23rd annual Toronto International Snowmobile ATV & Powersports Show presented by TD Insurance starts today and goes through Sunday.
Here are a few of the features to look for:
— The Extreme Freestyle Snowmobile Event, a high-flying show featuring two-time Winter X Games gold medalist Joe Parsons and others performing back flips and other mind-boggling snowmobile stunts, will be presented five times over the course of the weekend.
— Three halls will be full of exhibitors and corporate displays from Ski-Doo, Arctic Cat, Polaris, Yamaha, Honda and John Deere. And there will be two test tracks on the premises where people attending the show can take test rides.
Okay, so back to Bud Moore and his election on Wednesday to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Of course, he’s worthy. Each and every one of the 25 nominated drivers, mechanics and owners (see them all here) could have been selected and there wouldn’t have been much of an argument.
But my nit is with the process.
The selection committee for this particular hall of fame is made up of NASCAR insiders. And, in the end, they’re going to vote for their buddies, or for the people they think NASCAR would approve of more than others.
Curtis Turner, for instance, has been nominated twice and it’s highly unlikely he’ll ever make the cut because he was a pain in the ass. NASCAR suspended him for life (later lifted) for trying to start a drivers’ union. The negative publicity generated by some of his stunts (he once landed his plane on the main street of Easely, a town in North Carolina, because he and his passengers were running “dangerously low on whisky”) was enough to make NASCAR cringe.
But if you look at Curtis Turner’s record (here), plus the fact that he was the guy who built Charlotte Motor Speedway, site of this weekend’s Sprint Cup race, you really have to wonder how he was rejected and a guy like Lee Petty selected.
In the case of Bud Moore, many of the people on the selection committee either drove for, or worked for, Bud Moore through the years. So when it came time to mark the ballots, guess who got their votes?
I know, it’s natural to vote for somebody you know over somebody you only know about but there’s got to be a better way. Fewer people on the selection committee, for starters (there are upwards of 40 that sit on it now) would be a good idea. And those people should be more arm’s length.
Otherwise, that Hall of Fame will very quickly lose its legitimacy (as compared to halls of fame like baseball’s, or football’s, or the NHL’s where the requirements for induction are rigorous).
Meantime, a future Hall of Famer is sitting on the pole for Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte. Jeff Gordon just edged Carl Edwards, A.J. Allmendinger and Mark Martin for the pole with a time set Thursday night of 28.192 seconds, which translates into a speed of 191.544 mph.
Chase contenders Jimmie Johnson will start 10th, Denny Hamlin will go 23rd and Kevin Harvick will be one spot behind in 24th.
Johnson and Gordon traditionally do well at Charlotte and Johnson won this race a year ago. Hamlin and Harvick don’t do well at that track, so Johnson could really stretch out his lead this weekend.
A non-Chaser, however, could throw a wrench into the mix. Kurt Busch won both the Sprint All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte back in May so will be looking for a three-peat there.