NASCAR announced the 25 nominees for its first Hall of Fame class on Thursday. The nominees were selected by a 21-person nominating committee. The nominees will then be voted on by a 50-person voting panel, as well as the fans. The 5 people that receive the highest number of votes will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
However, regardless of which 5 are voted in, one very deserving fan-favorite will not be among the first inductees.
Here is a list of the nominees:
See anyone missing? Look right there between Earnhardt and Evans. Now do you see who’s missing?
That’s right. Bill Elliott is not even among the 25 nominees.
First off, how the heck does a guy with 9 Modified championships, a guy with 33 wins, and NASCAR’s first champion car owner, get on the list instead of a guy with 44 wins, including 2 in the Daytona 500(that’s the Great American Race), and a championship?
Second, seeing as Elliott was the most popular driver ever to walk the earth(A record 16 Most Popular Driver awards), how in the world was there not a ginormous uproar when Elliott’s name did not appear on the list?
Clearly, the good people of NASCAR, both the fans and the brain trusts on the nominating committee, have forgotten what kind of a driver, and person, Elliott really was, and is. So allow me to remind everybody.
Bill Elliott was the 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup champion. Yes, I said Winston Cup. That is to signify that Elliott won his championship when racing was still racing, and not follow-the-leader. It is to signify that he raced against the best of the best… and beat them. And, although it may only be one championship, it is still more than what some of our nominees have.
Elliott also won 44 races. But more important is which races he won. Elliott won 2 Daytona 500s(1985, 1987), one more than the Intimidater. He took the checkers at the Brickyard, something even the King can’t say he did. Elliott tamed The Track Too Tough To Tame 5 times. 5 times he tamed it! Elliott also won the 1986 All-Star race, as well as the 1987 Bud Shootout.
Something that was and is still unmatched by most, if not all the drivers on this list, and on the track today is the respect level and popularity amongst his fellow competitors, and his fans, that Elliott had. Elliott rarely, if ever, made any enemies, and those that he may have made were everybody’s enemy. Every driver respected him. Every fan loved him. You never came across a fan who absolutely couldn’t stand him. How many guys on the list can you say that about? How many guys racing today can you say that about? And to symbolize his popularity, he won a record 16 Most Popular Driver awards, until he finally told everyone that he did not wish to be eligible for the award anymore, in order to let somebody else win. How many people would do something like that?
And one more thing that is still unmatched, and will never be matched(barring a drastic rule change) is Elliott’s NASCAR speed record. Elliott turned a lap at Talladega back in 1987 that averaged 212.809 miles per hour. It is a record that is expected to remain unbroken, and it belongs to a man who isn’t on the list.
Sure, you may find guys with lots of wins on the list like David Pearson. You may find guys with lots of championships like Dale Earnhardt. You may find guys with lots of popularity like Bobby Allison. But you will not find anyone(besides Petty) who was the complete package like Elliott was.
Bill Elliott deserves to be in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. And he deserves to be one of the first ones there.
One final note on Elliott’s behalf: It has been revealed to me that NASCAR’s Hall of Fame requires its nominees to be retired, and that is why Elliott is not listed. However, there are two people on this list who are not retired from the category they were nominated in: Car owners Rick Hendrick and Richard Childress. If they can be in, why not the semi-retired Elliott?
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