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