Friday, October 15, 2010

Who's the real champion?

NASCAR named its latest class of five Hall of Famers this week. The organization limits it to five per year, and this is the second class that was named. There was one driver named this year, who should have made it last year, and one driver who could have made it this year, but didn't that helps us yet again define class.

Last year, the first class was named and in what was a definite error, David Pearson was left off. He won 105 races, second only to Richard Petty's 200. Pearson without question should have been in that first class. The fact that he was overlooked put a serious dent into the credentials of the voters. His rivalry with Petty when the sport was first hitting the television airwaves in the late 1960s and early 1970s helped draw fans to the sport. Just five guys or not, he deserved to be on the first ballot.
However, Pearson was an easy pick to make it in this year, and he did, being named on 94 percent of the ballots (what those other six percent were thinking, who knows?). When Pearson was asked if he was bitter about not making the first ballot, he said he certainly was not. That's a champion-like reaction to what could have been a not-so-pretty situation.
One former driver, and current announcer, who didn't make it this year was Darrell Waltrip. He's going to make it eventually, probably next year. He deserves it at some point, with over 80 victories. However, all Waltrip could was go to Twitter and tweet about how disappointed he was and how unfair the process was for not letting him in.
Not the reaction of champion. So, if I was on the voting panel (which I'm not), I'd have to think about it before I vote for him next year. If someone wants into the Hall of Fame, having a Hall of Fame attitude when things don't go your way when you want them to should be requirement.

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