The first few ballots for the NASCAR Hall of Fame were no brainers. You had to know the wait to get Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, David Pearson, Big Bill France and others like them were just a matter of time.
The voting is open for fans to weigh in on the NASCAR HOF Class of 2016. A look at the list reveals a number of worthy candidates, and yet it’s not necessarily easy to say “(This Guy) has to get in now!” Many on this list will be enshrined eventually, but it does become an interesting topic of discussion to arrive at who should be next.
Here’s how this fan voted…..
- Curtis Turner- They called him “Pops”- not because of his age, but because he’d “pop” out of his way. The master of the power slide when dirt tracks littered the NASCAR landscape, the “Babe Ruth of NASCAR” won 17 races. The timberland baron was a larger than life cut hero, and his after hours exploits would have given the Bambino and Mantle a run for their money. Turner was also instrumental in the building of Charlotte Motor Speedway. After a lengthy suspension for trying to help unionize the drivers, Turner returned and won in his comeback season of 1965. He died at 45 in 1970 after a plane crash.
- Raymond Parks- The moonshine operator was arguably stock car racing’s first “super team” owner, funding rides for Lloyd Seay and Roy Hall in NASCAR’s pre-historic era. Parks was also there at NASCAR’s formation, and key in giving the series the backing it needed to get off the ground. He owned the car piloted by NASCAR’s first champion, World War II veteran Red Byron. Some have suggested, and I’ll say it, there may not have been a NASCAR if not for men like Raymond Parks.
- Ray Fox- While Parks made his mark as an owner, Fox succeeded both as a mechanic and later an owner. A master motor man, the New Englander built winning power houses for the likes of Fireball Roberts and Junior Johnson. As an owner, his cars won 14 races, and were piloted by the likes of Johnson, Cale Yaborough, Buddy and Buck Baker and Freddy Lorenzen. Long after he retired as an owner, Fox returned as an engine inspector. No history of NASCAR’s early years is complete without Ray Fox.
- Benny Parsons- A beloved racer and a Winston Cup champion in 1973, the former taxi driver’s impact went beyond the track. When talking about the best broadcasters covering the sport, Parsons name often comes up quickly. More than merely knowledgeable, he was likable- a goodwill ambassador in the same vein as Ned Jarett. Oh, by the way, in the highly competitive era that gave us racers like Petty and Pearson, Parsons won 21 races.
- Mark Martin- He never won a championship; Mark Martin just won races- lots of them. At the Cup level, the Arkansan won 40 races and finished second in the season standings five times. He also won 49 in what is now the Xfinity Series, in addition to seven in the truck series. Martin has also been a winner in more ways the one as one of the most respected drivers to ever climb into a race car. A gym rat, Martin also did much to promote the notion of physical fitness by race car drivers as a means to enhance driver performance.
This is just one man’s opinion, what say you? Are there others who should be there first? Tell us who and why. It can often be a fun and spirited debate.