New NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductees

Pretty good group and I have to agree with those chosen… Just wish when they opened the HOF that they would have started off by inducting 25-30 rather than five, then add five per year…

David Pearson ? The Silver Fox is thought by many to be the greatest stock car driver ever, considered the lone lock for this class one year after many were shocked he lost out on the initial Hall of Fame ballot by one vote. He is second in all-time Cup Series wins with 105, following only Richard Petty, and has three series titles to his credit. Many feel Pearson would have won more championships than Petty if he had chosen to race full seasons in the Cup Series. The years that Pearson was the series champion predated the modern era (1972-present); in all but one year where he ran close to all of the races, he won it all. In 1974, he ran 19 of the 30 races on the schedule and still ended up third in points, part of a eight-year stretch with the Wood Brothers some view as the greatest NASCAR partnership of all time. In 144 starts together, the team won 43 times, including an astounding 11-for-18 effort in 1973 that included top-3 finishes in each of the 14 races the No. 21 Ford ran to completion. In all, Pearson?s wins were accumulated in 574 starts while it took Petty 1,184 to notch his 200 victories, an 18.3 winning percentage that will go down as one of the best of all-time. Pearson was always noted for his ability to ?be there at the end? when he ran races. He was notorious for taking care of his equipment and making the run to the front of the pack when the race wound down to its conclusion.

Bobby Allison ? One of the original members of the Alabama gang, Allison was the 1983 Cup Series champion. The patriarch won 85 races in the premier series of NASCAR competition, although he is technically only given credit for 84 because one of his victories (Bowman-Gray Stadium in 1971) was when he was asked to help fill a field for a Cup race by Bill France. Allison won the race in a Grand American-spec Ford Mustang, but France refused to give him credit because his car was not a ?Cup? legal machine. Allison is famous for driving in many different styles of cars all over the country, but his most infamous moment was his roll in the post-race altercation in the infield following the 1979 Daytona 500. His brother Donnie and Cale Yarborough had an accident on the backstretch during the last lap and on the cool-down lap, Bobby stopped to offer his brother a ride to the pits. Yarborough and Allison got into a discussion over who was at fault for the incident, and according to Allison ?Cale?s nose started beating on my fist.? The end of his career was marred by tragedy, nearly losing his life in a Pocono wreck in June, 1988 that resulted in severe head injuries which ended his time behind the wheel. He then endured the loss of two sons, Clifford and Davey, in 1992 and '93 before divorcing longtime wife Judy shortly thereafter. The two have since remarried.

Lee Petty ? The patriarch of the Petty family, Lee is the founding father of one of the greatest racing organizations in the history of the sport. Petty is a three-time Cup series champion and was the winner of the very first Daytona 500, beating Johnny Beauchamp in a 1959 photo finish so close, it took three days to determine the winner. From 1949 through 1959, Petty never finished worse than fourth in the season-long points battle. A fierce competitor, Petty actually protested his own son?s car when Richard beat him in a race. Richard Petty?s car was ultimately disqualified and Lee was awarded the victory. Petty has 54 Cup trophies to his credit, which has him ninth on the all-time wins list, and those numbers would be higher if his driving career wasn’t cut short after a horrific crash at Daytona in 1961. Petty?s car flew out of the track and landed in a parking lot. He spent several days in a coma, and it took well over a year for the wounds to fully heal. When he was healthy again, he attempted to race once more, but was not the same. After six total races after the wreck, he hung up his driving boots following a race at Watkins Glen because it just wasn?t fun anymore, turning his focus towards helping son Richard become the sport’s living legend he is today.

Ned Jarrett ? Gentleman Ned was the nickname of Ned Jarrett, and there hasn?t been a more fitting moniker in auto racing. Jarrett?s smooth driving style and respect for all of his fellow competitors resonated not only during his driving career but well after when he hung up his helmet and moved into the announcing booth. Jarrett won two Cup series titles in 1961 and '65 along with two sportsman titles in 1957 and '58. He scored 50 Cup series wins, which ties him for 11th all-time with Junior Johnson. But perhaps the greatest impact from Jarrett came as a broadcaster, starting out as a pit reporter for CBS before becoming a booth analyst in the mid-1980s, eventually teaming with Benny Parsons and Bob Jenkins to add ESPN to his resume by 1989. The trio would become the trailblazers for booth announcing in the 1990s, setting a stock car standard along with a special chemistry that has yet to be matched before or since. Many of the modern NASCAR fans know him best for the call of his son Dale Jarrett?s first Daytona 500 victory, as the elder Jarrett coached his son through the final turns in 1993 once he headed for home to take the victory ahead of Dale Earnhardt. Jarrett was voted one of NASCAR?s 50 greatest drivers in 1998.

Bud Moore ? A decorated World War II infantryman, Bud Moore considered himself a country mechanic. He was the crew chief for Buck Baker in 1957 when Baker won the Cup series championship. Moore then moved on to become a successful car owner from 1961 through 2000, fielding the Cup championship car of Joe Weatherly in 1962 and '63. He was the car owner for fellow inductee Bobby Allison from 1978 through '80 and fellow Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt in 1982 and '83. Totaling 63 victories, Moore also fielded cars for Cotton Owens, Fireball Roberts, David Pearson, Rex White, Cale Yarborough, Donnie Allison, Buddy Baker, Ricky Rudd and Morgan Shepherd, among others. His team was often the stepping stone for drivers to get experience in top-quality equipment before moving on to challenge for the championship elsewhere.

According to NASCAR’s official release, Pearson received 94 percent of the vote (50 of 53 possible votes). Bobby Allison and Lee Petty each received 62 percent, while Ned Jarrett received 58 percent of the vote. Bud Moore rounded out the inductees with 45 percent. ESPN’s Dr. Jerry Punch reported on Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR Now that eight-time Championship winning crew chief Dale Inman was sixth in the voting. Cale Yarborough was seventh, and Darrell Waltrip was eighth.