NASCAR Hall Of Fame: Cotton Owens, Class Of 2013 Member, Dead At 88

The 1989 Cup champ and 55-time race winner leads a strong class that also includes Herb Thomas, Leonard Wood, Cotton Owens and Buck Baker.

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Cotton Owens, NASCAR Hall Of Famer, Dies At 88

Cotton Owens, a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame's fourth class, didn't live to experience his own induction, but to his friend and fellow Hall of Famer David Pearson, being selected for the hall was the culmination of a dream for his former car owner.

Owens, 88, died at his Spartanburg, S.C., home Thursday morning after battling lung cancer for more than seven years. On May 23, two days after his 88th birthday, Owens learned he had been voted into the Hall of Fame. Because of his illness, he was unable to attend the announcement, but Pearson said the selection was not lost on his friend.

"He was aware of everything," Pearson told the NASCAR Wire Service during a phone call Thursday afternoon. "It really meant a lot to him. I just wish he could have been there for the ceremony."

The induction ceremony for the five members of the 2013 Hall of Fame class will take place on Feb. 8, 2013.

"This is a sad day for the NASCAR industry, but we are all consoled by the fact that Cotton was voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame before his death," said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. "Today we have lost a portion of our past. But people like Cotton Owens are the reason our sport thrives today -- and can look forward to a promising future."

Pearson won the first of his three championships in NASCAR's foremost series driving Owens' No. 6 Dodge. All told, Pearson won 27 races in 170 starts driving Owens' equipment.

Owens began his racing career as a driver. In what is now called NASCAR's Whelen Modified Tour, he won more than 100 features and division championships in 1953 and 1954, earning him the nickname "King of the Modifieds."

Owens also collected nine victories in NASCAR's top division (now called Sprint Cup), the last coming at Richmond in 1964, when he beat Pearson to the checkered flag.

As an owner, Owens won 38 times in 405 starts in the Cup series. Owens fielded cars for a list of luminaries that included Pearson, Junior Johnson, Bobby Isaac, Ralph Earnhardt, Benny Parsons, Glenn "Fireball" Roberts, Mario Andretti, Jim Paschal, Buddy Baker, Charlie Glotzbach and Al Unser.

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Rusty Wallace Leads 2013 NASCAR Hall Of Fame Class

Rusty Wallace was in his first year of eligibility for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, but that didn't stop voters from putting him into the 2013 class right away.

Wallace, the 1989 Cup champion and 55-time race winner, earned a surprising but deserved invitation to the Hall on Wednesday along with two-time Cup champions Herb Thomas and Buck Baker, former crew chief Leonard Wood and driver/owner Cotton Owens.

Many observers didn't expect Wallace to be included on his first try, but he earned 52 percent of the vote. Wood and Thomas got 57 percent apiece, followed by Owens (50 percent) and Baker (39 percent).

Baker actually tied with Fireball Roberts for the final Hall of Fame spot, which required a tiebreaking vote from the 53-member voting panel.

Though some fans might not understand why Wallace was included ahead of many NASCAR pioneers, the inclusion of a recent driver should help boost the Hall's struggling attendance numbers.

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NASCAR Hall Of Fame Voting Panel Missing Key Names

The debate about the NASCAR Hall of Fame today concerns which five people should become part of the 2013 class.

But what about the people who actually vote on the class? One-third of the 54 total votes will be cast by current or former media members, a list which startlingly leaves out some of the longest-serving NASCAR journalists.

Autoweek's Al Pearce covered his first NASCAR race in 1969 (the first-ever Dover race) and has personally witnessed somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,300 Cup races. But he is a not a Hall of Fame voter.

Mike Hembree of Speed.com has covered NASCAR for 30 years and is one of the most knowledgeable journalists about NASCAR history. He is not a Hall of Fame voter, either.

Steve Waid, a longtime NASCAR Scene writer who now runs his own site (MotorsportsUnplugged.com), has been writing about NASCAR since 1972. Like the others, he is not a Hall of Fame voter.

And that's just a sampling of the institutional knowledge which is locked out of the room on Voting Day.

I don't get it. Why wouldn't NASCAR want people who have been around the sport the longest – the ones who actually saw the nominees race – to help decide who is worthy of Hall selection and who is not?

I'm not going to pick apart the current group of voters and say certain people aren't worthy of being there, because all of them were chosen by NASCAR for what was likely a valid reason.

My complaint is with the quality of media members who haven't yet been recognized with a Hall vote. Adding a few more seats to the room for these esteemed and deeply knowledgeable journalists would not water down the current group; it would strengthen it.

Here are the members of the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel:

NASCAR Hall of Fame

  1. Winston Kelley
  2. Buz McKim
NASCAR officials
  1. Brian France
  2. Jim France
  3. Mike Helton
  4. Robin Pemberton
  5. Paul Brooks
  6. Steve O'Donnell
  7. Jerry Cook
  8. Ken Clapp
ISC
  1. Lesa France Kennedy
  2. Clay Campbell
SMI
  1. Ed Clark
  2. Eddie Gossage
IMS
  1. Tony George
Dover
  1. Denis McGlynn
Pocono
  1. Looie McNally
Historic short track operators
  1. Dale Pinilis (Bowman Gray)
  2. Jody Deery (Rockford Speedway)
  3. Jim/Barbara Cromarty (Riverhead Speedway)
  4. Jim Williams (Irwindale Speedway)
National Motorsports Press Association
  1. Rea White
Eastern Motorsports Press Association
  1. Ernie Saxton
American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters
  1. Dusty Brandel
Print/Online Media
  1. Kenny Bruce (SportingNews.com)
  2. Dustin Long (SI.com/USAToday.com/Athlon)
  3. Nate Ryan (USA Today)
  4. Jim Pedley (RacinToday.com)
  5. Jenna Fryer (Associated Press)
  6. Dave Rodman
Broadcasters
  1. Mike Joy (FOX)
  2. Kyle Petty (TNT)
  3. Jerry Punch (ESPN)
  4. Barney Hall (MRN)
  5. Doug Rice (PRN)
  6. Rick Allen (SPEED)
  7. Dave Moody (SIRIUS/XM)
Manufacturers
  1. Jim Campbell (Chevrolet)
  2. Edsel Ford (Ford)
  3. Lee White (Toyota)
Former drivers
  1. Ricky Rudd
  2. Harry Gant
  3. Ned Jarrett
  4. Richard Petty
Former owners

  1. Bud Moore
  2. Cotton Owens
  3. Junior Johnson
Former crew chiefs
  1. Buddy Parrott
  2. Waddell Wilson
NASCAR "community leaders"
  1. Mike Harris (former Associated Press writer)
  2. Tom Higgins (former Charlotte Observer writer)
  3. Humpy Wheeler (former Charlotte Motor Speedway promoter)
  4. Ken Squier (broadcaster)
Other
  1. Fan vote from NASCAR.com
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NASCAR Announces 25 Nominees For 2013 Hall Of Fame Class

A legendary engine builder and car owner. The matriarch of a sport. A trail blazer who broke NASCAR's color barrier. An influential sponsorship official who helped usher in the sport's modern era. A champion and bonafide star driver for more than two decades.

For such a wide-ranging array of people, all have two things in common: their impact on stock-car racing and their addition to the list of nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Class of 2013.

Ray Fox, Anne B. France, Wendell Scott, Ralph Seagraves and Rusty Wallace were announced Wednesday as the latest names to join the 25 nominees for Hall of Fame induction. Voting day is scheduled May 23, when an appointed panel will select the five newest members for enshrinement in early 2013.

The five new nominees were revealed on "Race Hub" on the SPEED network.

The most familiar names among the quintet belong to Scott and Wallace.

Scott remains the only African-American driver to win a race at NASCAR's top level, which he accomplished on Dec. 1, 1963 in Jacksonville, Fla. In his 13-year career, the longtime privateer made 495 starts, tying him for 33rd on the all-time list. NASCAR continues to honor his legacy by awarding 12 scholarships per year in his name for minorities.

Wallace won 55 races in NASCAR's premier series, good for eighth place in the history books. The former Rookie of the Year was crowned Cup champion in 1989 and won at least one race each season over a 16-year span that reached into the turn of the century. He remains visible in the sport as a NASCAR analyst for ESPN.

Fox's influence on the sport was felt for more than 40 years as one of NASCAR's brightest mechanics and car owners. The World War II veteran built engines and fielded cars for legends such as Junior Johnson, Fred Lorenzen, David Pearson and Cale Yarborough. Fox's mechanical know-how served him well in his second career as a NASCAR engine inspector, a position he held until retiring at age 80 in 1996.

The former Anne Bledsoe married Bill France Sr. in 1931, and the family put down roots three years later in Daytona Beach, Fla. Anne France took an active role in the family business, primarily in managing its finances as NASCAR secretary and treasurer, but also in organizing and promoting the competition.

Seagraves' lasting mark on NASCAR hit its peak in 1971, when the R.J. Reynolds official helped forge a relationship that gave the sport major sponsorship support for more than three decades. The birth of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series -- now the Sprint Cup Series -- helped stock-car racing grow exponentially from a regional pastime to a national spectacle.

The other 20 nominees remain on the ballot from past years. They are:

-- Buck Baker, a two-time champion in the sport's earliest days and winner of 46 races in NASCAR's top series.

-- Red Byron, a pioneer with many firsts: winner of the first race under NASCAR sanction, first NASCAR Modified champion in 1948 and first NASCAR Strictly Stock (now Sprint Cup) champ in 1949.

-- Richard Childress, an hard-nosed independent driver who later achieved six Cup championships as a team owner for Hall of Fame driver Dale Earnhardt.

-- Jerry Cook, a dominant Modified driver from the Northeast with six championships and longtime foil to Hall of Famer Richie Evans; now a NASCAR competition administrator.

-- H. Clay Earles, founding father of Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, a charter track which held its first race in 1947 and endures with two dates on the NASCAR Sprint Cup calendar today.

-- Tim Flock, a two-champion in NASCAR's premier series and an early star in the sport's formative years with 39 wins in just 187 starts.

-- Rick Hendrick, a Charlotte businessman who built a modern motorsports empire that has won 10 championships at NASCAR's highest level, an all-time record.

-- Jack Ingram, a short-track specialist and legendary force in the NASCAR Nationwide Series' earlier incarnations in the 1970s and '80s with five division crowns.

-- Bobby Isaac, the 1970 Cup champion and 37-time winner in NASCAR's top series; won 49 poles in his career, including 19 in 1969 -- a single-season record that still stands.

-- Fred Lorenzen, "Golden Boy" of the 1960s who counts the Daytona 500 and World 600 of 1965 among his 26 wins in NASCAR's highest division.

-- Cotton Owens, a longtime competitor who enjoyed 24 years of success as a pioneering driver and car owner, winning a title with Pearson as his star driver in 1966.

-- Raymond Parks, an Atlanta businessman and team owner whose racing success predates the birth of NASCAR; owned the car driven by Red Byron to the first NASCAR Strictly Stock (now Sprint Cup) title.

-- Benny Parsons, the charismatic 1973 Cup champion and 1975 Daytona 500 winner who remained prominent in the sport as a popular broadcaster after his retirement from driving.

-- Les Richter, a Hall of Famer already for his defensive efforts in college and pro football whose second career as a speedway manager and NASCAR executive official for more than 50 years.

-- Fireball Roberts, regarded as perhaps the greatest NASCAR driver never to win a title, but who made his mark on superspeedways as the 1962 Daytona 500 champ and a two-time Southern 500 winner.

-- T. Wayne Robertson, an R.J. Reynolds executive and promoter who helped to expand the sport's reach during a period of immense growth, including the creation of NASCAR's All-Star Race in 1985.

-- Herb Thomas, the first two-time champion (1951 and '53) in NASCAR's premier series who piloted the legendary Fabulous Hudson Hornet to the majority of his 48 wins.

-- Curtis Turner, who built his star power as much on his fun-loving personality as he did on his driving ability; won 17 races in NASCAR's top series and 22 in the convertible division.

-- Joe Weatherly, known as much for his practical joking off the track as his fierce determination on it; won championships in 1962 and '63, a decade removed from scoring back-to-back titles in the Modified class.

-- Leonard Wood, one of the sport's most innovative and longest-serving mechanics, whose team invented the modern pit stop; currently in his seventh decade of involvement with NASCAR with the Wood Brothers organization.

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Darrell Waltrip's NASCAR Hall Of Fame Speech (Abridged)

Darrell Waltrip's speech was the highlight of Friday night's NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Because the event doesn't air on Speed until Sunday at 6 p.m. Eastern, you probably haven't heard what Waltrip said yet.

Here's a partial transcript of Waltrip's 24-minute speech:

I've got to straighten something out before we can get to any of this other stuff: It wasn't that I talked that much. Those other guys didn't talk at all. So it just looked like I was talking a lot. I had to fill in the blanks. If there is something that needed to be explained, DW had to explain it. So it looked like that I talked a lot, but I honestly didn't. I just want you to know that, for you new fans that have listened to all this stuff tonight.

...

This is a red letter night. You have to admit. Bobby Allison said I deserved to be in the Hall of Fame. Does anybody in here know how big that is? That's big. And he swore to me that they weren't holding a gun to him or anything, he did it right out of the goodness of his heart. So thank you, Bobby.

...

You know, this night, these men and the people in this room, they're what inspire me. They are what inspired me to be a race car driver. They are what inspired me to...Cale said he climbed a ladder. I feel like I climbed a lot of mountains, and the climbing was rough. But these men in this room inspired me to be successful and to be good, and they gave me great examples of how to do that for every one of them from all the inductees from the prior hall classes, Richard, Bobby, David, thank you very much for being patient with me and helping me when I needed it.

...

And then it's been the most important people in my life are right here on the front row. This has been a big week for DW. Not just tonight. I mean, this is huge for my career, but in my family life, we found out that Fausto and Jessica, my oldest daughter and her husband, are expecting their first child. So I'll be a grandfather. And if you ever want to see DW speechless, my Sarah, who was on a mission trip in the Philippines, as early as Wednesday, we talked to her earlier in the week: 'Dad, I wish I could be there, I know it's a big night, I'm sorry I can't make it.' When I checked into the hotel room last night and I opened the door, my Sarah was there. She flew 25 hours to be here tonight, and she's got to turn around Sunday and fly 25 hours back to the Philippines. That's sweet. That means a lot to an old dad, trust me.

And then there's the redhead. If there was a Hall of Fame for drivers' wives, Stevie would be in the first class. We've been married 42 years, and like a lot of drivers and people in racing, it was tough back in the day. I mean, it was just one week to the next. What you won one week, you paid enough bills so you could make it to the next week.

...

But the funny thing about Stevie is when she came to the sport in 1972, I know you're going to find this hard to believe, but there could be no women in the pits. You could have no women in the pits, in the garage. It was men only.

I didn't like that, Stevie didn't like that. So I talked to I think the competition director was Bill Gazaway. I said, 'What do I got to do?' He said, you can have car owners and crew members, and that's it. The next week, Stevie was the car owner and she was a crew member.

Now, to say it went smooth would be an understatement. My very first race in the Daytona 500, we had only run short tracks all over the country, a lot of short tracks. Hundred lappers were about as long a race as we'd ever run. We get in the Daytona 500 and it's not going very well. I'm getting slower and slower, and Jake Elder was there, and Jake said, 'What's wrong with him?' and Stevie said, 'I think he's hungry,' and Jake said, 'He's hungry?' She said, 'Yeah, he's never driven a race this long, I'm pretty sure he's hungry.'

So Jake kind of blew that off and went about his business, and Stevie figured she'd better run to the truck and make me a sandwich. So she ran to the truck, got some ham and cheese, made a sandwich, ran back out to the pit, and when I came in the pit to make my green flag pit stop, guess who came over the wall? Stevie Waltrip handed me a ham and cheese sandwich.

Now, can anybody in here top that? Handed me a ham and cheese sandwich. Jake and them are changing tires and I take this sandwich, and I look at her, and about that time the jack dropped and I knew I had to go, so I just threw the thing out the window, and as I drove away they said Stevie was standing there shaking her head going, 'I thought he liked ham and cheese!'

...

You know, Stevie says this all the time, not so much anymore, but she likes to say she's been married to two men with the same name. For you folks who are maybe new to the sport, I hope you feel the same way. I have had two lives, and I've had two careers. When I came onto the scene, I was not a nice guy. I was an antagonist. It just seemed to work for me. I always thought that a lot of people say they take the path of least resistance. I took the path I couldn't resist. You know why? There ain't nobody on it. So a lot of times I was off on my own.

But through a lot of hard work, and Richard Petty, you may never remember this, but he put his arm around me one day and he wasn't even mad at me, and he said, 'Boy, keep going like you are, you're going to have a hard time finding a sponsor.' Does any of this sound familiar? Antagonist, hard time to find a sponsor, a little trouble on the track? If it doesn't, it should. And I took that to heart, because Richard Petty, he gave you good advice. When he told you something, you take it to the bank.

So I worked hard on changing my image, and by golly, in 1989 and 1990 I was able to win the most popular driver of this sport, and that's one of the biggest awards in my whole career.

...

But one of (Junior Johnson's) favorite things to do to me, he inspired me a lot, he called me 'Cale' a lot. When I first started driving for him, he'd come on the radio and he'd say, 'Pit next time by, Cale.' I'd say, "Dadgummit, Junior, my name ain't Cale.' '10‑4, Cale.'

...

They always told me, if you're going to dream, dream as big as you possibly can because you know what, it might just come true. And tonight, I'm living proof of that.

...

I wanted to mention my grandmother who took me to races when I was a little boy, seven years old. I got bit by the bug. G.C. Spencer was her hero, he became my hero, and I told granny one Sunday when we were standing in victory circle with G.C. Spencer, I said, 'Granny, someday I'm going to do that,' and she said, 'Boy, that's impossible.' I took that word and I broke it down: 'I'm possible, I'm possible,' and I took that with me everywhere I ever went.

...

It all comes down to this, folks: I've had a marvelous career. My faith is important to me. One of my biggest accomplishments that I never get a chance to talk about is Motor Racing Outreach. Our president is here tonight, Billy Mauldin. I had a lot of things out of order, and my priorities were one of them. I loved racing. It's all I cared about. I didn't care about anything else, and it bit me. After a while it got me, and I finally realized that I had my priorities wrong. It was God, family and racing, and when I got that straight, I became a much better man, and I actually ended up being NASCAR's most popular driver. I was blessed; I was given a second chance.

In closing I'll say this: It's not about me. It's not about what I've done. It's not about wins, statistics or anything else. Tonight it's about family, thank the good Lord that they're all here. It's about all my friends who came from miles away to be here, and it's about all the fans that are back there that have supported me all through the years, and it's about NASCAR and what they've been able to do with it sport, and I'm just glad I was able to be a part of it.

I'm probably running a little bit long but I've got to tell you this quick story. Just one more story, I promise. You see this ring right here? In '81 I won the championship and they gave me a ring and it was a little rinky‑dink ring. I didn't think it was very pretty and it wasn't very big, and I thought, 'Man, that's really not very indicative of how hard you have to work to get this thing. So in '82 Bill France called me up and he said, 'If you win the championship again this year, you can pick the ring.' So I picked this ring, and if any of the champions here have got their ring on tonight, it started in 1982.

I've worn it every day since I got it, but tonight I'm taking it off and I'm putting on the Hall of Fame ring because this is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

Thank you very much.

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NASCAR Hall Of Fame Officially Inducts 2012 Class

The membership of NASCAR's Hall of Fame now stands at 15 people after five more legends were inducted into the uptown Charlotte shrine on Friday night.

Dale Inman, Glen Wood, Richie Evans, Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip officially became members of the Class of 2012. Speed will air the ceremony via tape delay on Sunday night (6 p.m. Eastern), but if you're anxious to read about it beforehand, here are a few highlights from each inductee:

Dale Inman

Known for: Winning eight Cup championships – seven as Richard Petty's crew chief.

Introduced by: Richard Petty, driver and cousin.

Petty: "I always looked at the way that Dale approached things – with attitude, confidence and focus. That's what he did with his people, and that's the reason he was able to be a winner like he is."

Inman: "I'm kind of familiar with this (Hall of Fame) ring. For the last two or three years, Richard has put it in my face a bunch of times."

Glen Wood

Known for: Being one of NASCAR's greatest drivers and helping build the legendary Wood Brothers Racing team.

Introduced by: Leonard Wood, brother.

Leonard Wood: "Glen started racing 61 years ago. Glen and his partner, Chris Williams, and I were riding down the road. Chris says, 'What we've got to do is get some fame.' I'll have to say, this is as good as it gets."

Glen Wood: "This is not just about me being inducted in the Hall of Fame. It's also about the Wood Brothers. And it's about NASCAR. I'm proud to have been a NASCAR driver and car owner for the past 60 years, and I'm proud of this great honor."

Richie Evans

Known for: Winning nine NASCAR Modified championships, including eight in a row.

Introduced by: Billy Nacewicz, crew chief.

Nacewicz: "He left me with two lifelong lessons. One – a hard word ethic and two – to enjoy whatever you're doing. Because as he would later say, 'We're all just passing through.'"

Lynn Evans, widow: "I'd like to say thanks to all of his fans who have kept his memory alive."

Cale Yarborough

Known for: Three straight NASCAR Cup championships and winning 83 career races.

Introduced by: Ken Squier, broadcaster.

Squier: "He was – and still is today – the real deal."

Yarborough: "Racing is like a big, tall ladder. When you begin, you start off on the bottom of that ladder. And it's a long, hard climb. But I feel like tonight, I'm finally standing on the top step."

Darrell Waltrip

Known for: Winning three Cup titles and 84 races, and later gaining notoriety as a NASCAR TV broadcaster.

Introduced by: Jeff Hammond, former crew chief.

Hammond: "I would venture to say our sport will never see the likes of Darrell Waltrip ever again. He is truly one to a box."

Waltrip: "If you're going to dream, dream big – because it might just come true. I'm living proof of that."

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NASCAR Hall Of Fame Set To Induct Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough And Three Others Tonight

Five more NASCAR legends will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in a ceremony tonight in Charlotte, bringing the total number of people enshrined in the still-young Hall to 15.

The 2012 class is highlighted by Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough, who between them have six championships (three apiece) and 167 wins (84 for Waltrip, 83 for Yarborough).

Both are among the greatest drivers in the sport's history, but it's been widely speculated they were excluded from the 2011 class because they had ruffled many feathers over the years.

Waltrip and Yarborough will be joined by Richard Petty's longtime crew chief Dale Inman, Wood Brothers Racing pioneer Glen Wood and driver Richie Evans, who won nine NASCAR Modified titles out of the spotlight.

Last year, the class included David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Lee Petty, Bud Moore and Ned Jarrett. The inaugural class was Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr., and Junior Johnson.

Check back here tonight for some memorable moments from the induction speeches (SPOILER ALERT: Speed is not broadcasting the ceremony until Sunday at 6 p.m. due to its coverage of the Barrett-Jackson car auction).

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Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip Among 2012 NASCAR Hall Of Fame Class

The wait for three-time NASCAR champions Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip is over.

Yarborough and Waltrip, who each won three championships but were left out of the 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame class, made the cut on Tuesday when the five inductees for the 2012 class were announced.

NASCAR's first three-time consecutive champion, Yarborough received the most votes, followed by Waltrip.

They were joined by Dale Inman – Richard Petty's former crew chief who many believe is the greatest of all time; Richie Evans – a Modified champion whose inclusion makes it clear voters believe the NASCAR Hall of Fame is not just the Sprint Cup Series Hall of Fame; and Glen Wood, who is half of the famed Wood Brothers Racing team.

Waltrip, upon hearing the news, jumped up on stage to hug and nearly kiss NASCAR Chairman Brian France. Both he and Yarborough had been slighted in 2011, many believe, because they've rubbed people the wrong way over the years.

The induction ceremony for the new class will be held in January 2012.

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NASCAR Hall Of Fame Set To Announce Third Class Of Inductees Thursday: Will Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough Make The Cut?

Let's be honest: While the first two classes of NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees have contained some very worthy names, it's silly that Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough aren't in the Hall yet.

Many people were certain Waltrip and Yarborough would make the cut for the second class; because of politics in the voting process – both drivers have rubbed people the wrong way over the years – they didn't make it.

When the third class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame is announced Tuesday in Charlotte (4 p.m. Eastern, live on SPEED), Waltrip and Yarborough will be in it this time.

We think. ... Maybe. ... Right?

If they don't, NASCAR needs to look at the makeup of the voting panels and ask why a pair of three-time champions is being left out.

Who else aside from Waltrip and Yarborough should make the cut? Here are the picks of SB Nation Motorsports Editor Jeff Gluck and SB Nation contributor Jay Pennell.

Gluck's picks

  • Darrell Waltrip
  • Cale Yarborough
  • Dale Inman
  • Buck Baker
  • Herb Thomas
Pennell's picks
  • Darrell Waltrip
  • Cale Yarborough
  • Dale Inman
  • Raymond Parks
  • Red Byron
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