David Pearson was clearly deserving of a first-class Hall of Fame induction. However, he was snubbed, as had to wait patiently to be a shoo-in for the second-class induction. While Pearson and four others enjoyed the lofty recognition of their career achievements, Cale Yarborough became the driver who was surprisingly absent from the second-class inductees. Like Yarborough, three-time champion Darrell Waltrip was forced to wait another year.
Personally, I have felt from the beginning that Waltrip would likely have to wait until the third-class before he would be honored, but I was sure Yarborough should have been inducted in the second-class over Bud Moore, and that is no disprespect to Moore, who is deserving of a place in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Now, we are left to wonder who will be left off this year Hall of Fame list.
Yarborough is a virtual lock in my opinion. Despite the fact that he may not be NASCAR's favorite personality, his accomplishments speak for themselves. Waltrip is almost a lock, and I believe that his driving career meshed with his television career will land him in the third-class.
Eight-time champion crew chief Dale Inman is deserving as well. Inman was the mastermind behind Richard Petty's prime years. He also led the young Terry Labonte to the 1984 NASCAR Winston Cup championship while working for Billy Hagan.
After the three obvious choices, voters will decide to honor the roots by inducting NASCAR's first championship owner Raymond Parks. Parks was the owner of Red Byron's championship team in 1949.
The fifth and final choice will also be a blast from the way-back past. I believe it will be driver from the 1950's such as Tim Flock, Herb Thomas, or Buck Baker. While I would clearly choose Baker, I believe it will be someone less obvious. Flock would be a nice addition to the Hall of Fame, but judging by the Waltrip and Yarborough snubs of a year ago, drivers who were not always cooperative with NASCAR are typically set back a year or two. Flock along with Curtis Turner were at war with NASCAR in the late 1950's, as they tried to organize a union for the drivers. That puts two-time champion Herb Thomas in the Hall of Fame.
The obvious snub would be Buck Baker, who was NASCAR's driver to win consecutive championships. Flock, Curtis Turner, Joe Weatherly, and other luminaries would have to wait another year.