SBD/Issue 24/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Bill France Sr. And Jr. Among NASCAR HOF's First-Ever Inductees

Richard Petty One Of Five Inaugural
Inductees Into NASCAR HOF
NASCAR Founder Bill France Sr., former NASCAR President Bill France Jr., former drivers Junior Johnson, Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty yesterday were inducted as the first members of the NASCAR HOF (Mult., 10/14). ESPN.com's David Newton noted the "biggest debate" during yesterday's two-and-a-half hour "nominee discussion among the 50 voters was whether both Frances should be a part of the first class," as there was "some discussion about whether Bill Jr. should go in before his father." Newton wrote though he felt former driver David Pearson should have made the inaugural class, the selection process "worked as it was supposed to." The discussions "never got heated or ugly," and most voters said that the word "'debate' was too strong to describe even the most intense moments." But former SMI President & CEO Humpy Wheeler yesterday said, "There was a good deal of emotion and some smashing of teeth this morning." Wheeler: "It was a meeting like I've never been in with NASCAR. Everybody was a little uncomfortable at first" (ESPN.com, 10/14). Toyota Racing Development President & GM Lee White said that NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France, ISC Vice Chair & CEO Lesa France Kennedy and ISC Chair Jim France "remained quiet through the discussion about their relatives." Brian France: "There was a lot of discussion about two France family members in the same year so I was surprised but very, very proud" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/15).

RIGHT TIME? In Charlotte, Scott Fowler wrote Bill France Jr. "made some great contributions to the sport, steering it expertly through a period of explosive growth, and there's no doubt he should be in the Hall of Fame." Fowler: "At some point. Like in Class No.2, in 2011." Fowler wrote the first class "should have contained four drivers, not three" (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 10/14). In Daytona Beach, Ken Willis notes the Baseball HOF's first class included all players, and it was "Year 3 before they inducted Albert Spalding, the man regarded as the inventor of the game." Inducting Bill France Jr. "sure seems like a nod toward the front office" and a "bit of posthumous sucking up." Willis: "Oh what the hell, they own the building, after all" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 10/15).

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