NASCAR Hall of Fame faces tough choices

You have to imagine that everyone from inside NASCAR and the Hall of Fame has to be relieved. The Hall got opened on time. The Induction ceremony went off without a hitch. The All-Star Race was run on schedule and didn't intefere with the other events.

If you go back to last week, the weather prediction for the All-Star Race was very dismal. If that had been postponed, it would have started a domino affect on all kinds of levels. Trust me, you have never heard so many contingency plans. If the race would have been postponed, then that would have moved the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The look and feel of panic when that first weather report came out was palpable.

Now personally, I think with the help of Big Bill France, Bill Jr. and Dale Earnhardt looking down from above, the rain was kept away Saturday evening. The race was run as scheduled and the induction ceremony also went off like clockwork. I just think those three titans of our sport took care of business for us.

So many people worked so hard behind the scenes on the Hall of Fame that it was nice that the weather cooperated and they could enjoy what they accomplished. They have spent so much time on this project, you just know that they had to love letting the fans come in and enjoy the new facility.

So now the question becomes, who is next? Who is in the next class inducted into the Hall? When you go down the list of the first-time nominees, it really is a who's who of the history of NASCAR. You have names like Pearson, Waltrip, Allison, Hendrick, Moore, Owens and more. There were also folks like Dale Inman, who wasn't on the first ballot but deserved to be there.

It reminds you that this Hall is really just getting started. I think we are going to be challenged each and every voting selection to put together the right class. Now granted, it is going to be hard to improve on the first class, but that should always be the goal.

What this will do is open up debate among people about how smart or how stupid the voting panel is. We had a little bit of that last time when some folks thought David Pearson was snubbed or with the fact that some of the folks that were eligible to be voted in were left on the voting panel and got to vote for themselves. I am sure as we go down the road in years to come we are going to have controversy of who did or didn't get in the Hall.

The thing I like is that it keeps folks discussion and reflecting on our past. Folks will be going back and forth that this driver should get in or why that crew chief didn't get in. I'm sorry, but I still think some of the folks on the voting panel don't fully understand or appreciate the contributions of the Lee Pettys, Red Byrons or Raymond Parks of the world.

Thankfully I am not on that voting panel and being challenged with making those decisions. Now I look at things differently. Personally I would love to see a spring induction that is all drivers. Then in the fall race in Charlotte have just owners, track promoters and crew members selected.

Let's face it, we have gotten a late start where the Hall of Fame is concerned. All the other major sports have had theirs for decades. Now that we finally have our own, I think there is a lot of catching up to do. I think it would be great to see some of the folks who are still alive be able to enjoy their moment back in the sun for what they have contributed to NASCAR.

I just think having family and friends be able to participate in a living member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame's induction is a huge plus. Look how much fun DW had last Sunday telling stories of driving for Junior Johnson 25-plus years ago. Imagine the thrill for the Johnson family to have Junior's son, Robert, officially induct his father into the Hall.

Sure I realize you can't have that all the time, but we have some true pioneers of our sport who are still around that have Hall of Fame credentials. What a thrill it would be for them, their family and us to celebrate what they accomplished while they are still around.