Opinionated: My 2014 NASCAR Hall Of Fame Picks

In years past I’ve had a pretty strong opinion about who I thought should be in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, this year however, I’ve really got to dig deep and do my research to come up with five people. Not because there aren’t five that are worthy, there are at least ten that deserve to go in now, that’s just the problem, its getting harder and harder to narrow it down to five. But after lots of thought I’ve gotten my list down to five. But first off, here are my top five that didn’t get in on my list. 6-10 I guess you could say.

10. Raymond Parks- While his time at the top level of NASCAR was short lived, he did pioneer the multicar team idea that is so popular and effective today. He is a piece of early NASCAR history that needs to be preserved in the Hall Of Fame.

9. Les Ritcher- College Football Hall Of Fame, NFL Hall Of Fame, why not add NASCAR Hall Of Fame to that. His roll behind the scenes of NASCAR in the 80’s was great and he played a big roll in getting the sport to where it is today.

8.Curtis Turner– A colorful character on the NASCAR circuit, Turner was very successful while only running a limited schedule.  Turned missed several years on the circuit while being banner for standing up to NASCAR and starting a driver’s union. I say Turner goes in for the history, but who knows if NASCAR will ever allow it because of the union.

7.Ralph Segraves- A key player at bringing R.J. Reynolds Tobacco to NASCAR and making this sport what it is today, he deserves a spot in the NASCAR Hall Of Fame for all his work.

6. Jack Ingram- A legend in the Busch Series and across the short tracks of the nation. His time will come in the haul of fame. But I think while it is the NASCAR Hall Of Fame, we need to keep a tight limit on the number of “non-cup” drivers on the list. But in 2015 I think there might just be a spot for another one.

And now my five picks for the 2014 NASCAR Hall Of Fame.

5. Benny Parsons 

Benny ParsonsBenny Parson’s character and personality behind the microphone is enough to earn him a spot in the NASCAR Hall Of Fame, not to mention his 21 wins and 1973 championship. Benny was well liked by all and is a character that both the older generation who watched him on track and the newer generation who listened to him on the television can relate to. It’s time to put him in the Hall of Fame.

4. Bobby Issac

Bobby IsaacIt could be said that Bobby Issac is one of the fastest race car drivers of all time. In 1969 he captured 19 poles, a record that still stands today. He also won 17 races that year. His 49 career poles has him tied for 9th all time. In September of 1971 he sat 28 world records in his Dodge at the Bonneville Salt Flats. But his most impressive year would come in 1970. 11 wins and 13 poles would be enough to carry him to the 1970 Championship and in my opinion earn him a spot in the NASCAR Hall Of Fame.

3.Anne B France

france_anne_nhof_headshotThe old saying goes behind every good man, there is a great woman. Never has that been more true than with Anne France. She played an important role in the financial side of both NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation. Without her handling the money and the books, Big Bill might not have had the clear head to bring NASCAR to where it is today. She has defiantly earned her spot in the NASCAR Hall Of Fame beside her husband and son.

2. Joe Weatherly

Joe Weatherly

A two time NASCAR Champion and a 25 race winner. Hall of fame statistics in their own. Not to mention his 1962 and 1963 titles were the only two years that he competed full time, making him 100% in championship tries. But more impressive than that may be Joe’s 101 NASCAR Modified race wins along with one championship in 1953. He also won twelve races in the short lived convertible series. Not only was Weatherly a winner, but he was one of the sports early personality’s, often called “The Clown Prince Of Stock Car Racing”. In my opinion Weatherly has all the credentials to sit in the NASCAR Hall Of Fame.

1. Fireball Robertsroberts_fireball_nhof_headshot

Nascar’s first superstar and often called the greatest driver to never win a championship, Fireball Roberts did however win his share of races. Including one Daytona 500 and two Southern 500’s along with 30 other races during his career. Roberts was killed in a fiery crash at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in the 1964 World 600, cutting his career short. I feel that with the on track record and off track personality, Roberts has earned his spot in the NASCAR Hall Of Fame.

There time will come….

11. Red Byron- The first winner, the first champion, he deserves a place in the Hall Of Fame

12. Dale Jarrett- While defiantly worthy of being a first ballot inductee, I believe Jarrett is still making his mark on the sport as a broadcaster, but as a Champion and multiple time Daytona 500 winner, his time will come in the Hall Of Fame.

13. Maurice Petty- Legendary engine builder, he was a key part in many wins, while not a first or second ballot inductee in my opinion, he does deserve a spot in the hall.

14. T. Wayne Robertson- Like Ralph Seagraves his work was very crucial in bringing in the Winston money and growing the sport to where it is today. He deserves a spot at some point in the Hall Of Fame.

15. Bruton Smith- While part of me feels like his legacy is still being written, he is deep into his 80’s and at some point it would be nice to see Bruton go in while he is still alive to really enjoy the honor. There is no doubt he deserves the spot, in fact I’m surprised it took him this long to find his way to the ballot.

NASCAR Picks: Kansas

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(Photo Credit: Kansas Speedway)

Pick-A-Winner

My pick last week at Texas Matt Kenseth ended up finishing 12th, I guess I should have looked across the Joe Gibbs Racing shops for another pick! His 12th did however slightly improve my average finish to 14.4, getting close to that top ten spot!

This week I’m going with Brad Keselowski. With all of the drama from Texas I think Bad Brad will be fired up and ready to finally put that Ford in victory lane this year.

To see all my picks for the year CLICK HERE

Yahoo Fantasy Picks

I got cold feet last week after I made my picks but I got busy and waited around too late Saturday to make any changes. But I ended up not having such a bad week. I got the pole points with Kyle Busch on my bench. My C driver Ricky Stenhouse finished 40th, my B drivers had me worried that I had made a mistake by having all my eggs in the Roush basket but they came through with Edwards finishing 3rd and Biffle finishing 4th. Like I mentioned above my A driver Matt Kenseth finished 12th. I stayed the same in my small league and remained in 4th place. In my big league I dropped 3 spots down to 19th place. But not to worry there is still six races left in the spring segment, still plenty of time to win my small league and get back into the top ten in my big league!

Here are my picks for Kansas.

A. Brad Keselowski- My pick to win the race, look out for Bad Brad this week!

B. Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers- Busch is on a roll and Vickers ran good in the 11 last week, I feel its as good of time as any to take advantage of one of his starts.

C. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.- I’m hot and cold on the Stenhouse card, I played it last week and it came back to haunt me. But I feel solid in starting him at Kansas, he won the Nationwide race here last fall, I think he can rebound from last week and get me a good finish.

On the bench: A. Johnson, B. Biffle and Truex Jr., C. Mears

NASCAR Picks: Martinsville

With the busy season coming on at my real job I’ve came to the realization that I don’t have the time each week to devote to writing a proper column. With that being said I’m going to discontinue the weekly writing of Restictor Plates Are Off, I will however continue to share my Yahoo Fantasy Pick ‘Em Picks and my pick for the race each week. I will from time to time be writing a NASCAR column just not on a weekly basis.

So on to the picks!

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(Photo Credit: Speedway Media)

Pick Of The Week

Last week I picked Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win at California, thanks in part to the last lap mayhem I almost came out with a winner, but I’ll settle for second place any day! That moves my average finish to 15.8 for the year. To track all my picks for 2013 CLICK HERE. This week in Martinsville I’m going with you guessed it, Mark Martin. Mark is going to be in a strong car driving the #11 Fedex Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in place of injured Denny Hamlin. In fact this could be Mark’s last chance at a top tier cup seat, not downing MWR’s equipment, but I think most would agree a Gibbs ride is still a level above MWR. Not to mention Mark has two wins at Martinsville, both coming in the spring race.

Yahoo Pick ‘Em

Last week was a win for me in one league and a top five in the other. Three of my four picks finished top ten, the other top fifteen, not too bad!

Matt Kenseth-7th, Dale Jr.-2nd, Joey Logano-3rd, Casey Mears-15th.

But this is another week and at a track where anything can and probably will happen! Wish me luck!

A. Jeff Gordon- How can you not start him here?

B. Mark Martin & Dale Earnhardt Jr.- Mark is my pick to win the race, as I said above, and Dale Jr. has been solid thus far, Martinsville should be no different.

C. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.- I know alot of people have probably been burning their Ricky Stenhouse picks up early this year, I mean lets face it there isn’t much other option in the C level. I’m a little leery any time you start a rookie at a short track, but I think Ricky can stay calm enough to pull out a solid finish if he can avoid any major wrecks.

On the Bench:(I normally don’t share these, but they do effect qualifying and there is a minor chance I could panic if someone has a horrible qualifying and practice and swap them in, so I figure I’ll start sharing them)

A-Jimmie Johnson- Again, always solid at Martinsville, I would have probably started him over Gordon, but I figured I could use his starts later in the season.

B- Kurt Busch & Ryan Newman- Both are winners here, Kurt has been strong the last two weeks, I would have felt confident starting him. I don’t think Newman is a threat to win, but he is always a solid pole contender.

C- David Reutimann- Might get a good qualifying run in, if they are running the whole race he could have a decent finish.

Restrictor Plates Are Off: Bristol Version 6.0 Excites

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Restrictor Plates Are Off: Bristol Version 6.0 Excites

By: Jeff Southard

Bristol Baby

I don’t know about you, but I thought the Bristol race on Sunday was one of the most exciting I’ve seen in a while. I think last summers grinding of the top groove along with the Gen-6 race car has really made for some good racing. It wasn’t the Bristol of old, but it was still exciting, plenty of passing, a little bumping, it was a good race. Defiantly the best race of the season thus far.

I’m running a little late this week on my column so I’m going to skip the meat of it and go straight to my Yahoo Fantasy Picks and Pick-A-Winner for the week.

Pick-A-Winner

Martin Truex Jr. really let me down last week with a 12th place finish, but hey it could have been worse! It does improve my average finish to 19.25, top twenty baby! We are moving on up! To see all my picks thus far CLICK HERE. This week I am going with Dale Earnhardt Jr. He’s off to a strong start in 2013 and needs a win. He is always good at California and Michigan, I think he’s got this one in the bag!

Yahoo Fantasy Picks

I had a mixed week last week, With Keselowski and Kyle Busch coming home 3rd and 2nd I was feeling good, but mix that in with Truex Jr’s 12th place run and Reutimann’s 39th place finish and it wasn’t a winning week for me in either one of my leagues. But anyway on to California!

A. Matt Kenseth- I went back and fourth between him and Jimmy Johnson on this one but I settled on Kenseth, he’s hot and on a roll right now, if he can avoid trouble he might just find victory lane!

B. Dale Earnhardt Jr. & Joey Logano- Junior is my race winner pick and Logano has a lot of fire after last week so look for him to run good as well.

C. Casey Mears- What better time than to pick Mears? Home track and he had an awesome qualifying run. Originally I had Stenhouse penciled in but he looked off in qualifying so I figured the veteran Mears was the safer bet. Hopefully he can at least bring home a 20th or so place run for me!

 

Restrictor Plates Are Off: NASCAR Fines Steal The Show In Vegas

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Restrictor Plates Are Off: NASCAR Fines Steal The Show In Vegas

By: Jeff Southard

(Photo Credit: AP Photo)

There should have been a lot of story lines that came out of the Las Vegas race. Like the record number of passes, Matt Kenseth’s first win for Joe Gibbs, etc, etc. But thanks to NASCAR’s bone head move(more on it in a minute) to fine Denny Hamlin for expressing his thoughts on the Gen-6 race car all the above mentioned headlines took a back seat. But lets talk about it for a minute, congrats to Matt Kenseth and the #20 team for getting their first win of 2013. The last laps of the Las Vegas race were very exciting. The cars were loose and the drivers were up on the wheel. Kenseth stayed out on older tires for track position and it payed off big with a race win. It appears that the Gen-6 put just a little bit of control back in the drivers hands and it made for some great racing. I for once am actually excited about the next mile and a half race!

Bone Head Move Of The Week:

Maybe even bone head move of the century on the part of NASCAR! I know its been beaten into a pulp over the past week and a half so I won’t go into it very much but NASCAR’s move to penalize Denny Hamlin over comments he made about the Gen 6 race car are absurd! Had they not fined him the comments would have died down and went away. Now they have been played back thousands of times and will be over the remainder of they ear. At a time in our sport when the drivers are finally starting to have some character again NASCAR has castrated their voice. A driver would be insane to say how he feels now if its bad or negative. Heck what Hamlin said wasn’t even out of line! And it was the truth! But in the end NASCAR will always get their way, they always do, just ask Curtis Turner.

The Flat Tire Award

I’m giving this one to NASCAR too, for officially letting the air out of the Gen-6 race cars momentum!

The Hard Charger Award

Brad Keselowski, quietly off to about as good of start as you can get without winning a race. 3 races, 3 top fives, all with a new manufacture and a new race car. I guess its safe to say Bad Brad isn’t a flash in the pan after all!

Pick-A-Winner

Well at least my pick last week with Carl Edwards made me look I had some sort of a clue, his 5th place finish has improved my season average to 21.6. To see all my picks for the year thus far CLICK HERE.

This week I’m going some what on a limb but with someone I have a good feeling about, I’m picking Martin Truex Jr.. He along with all the MWR cars ran strong at Bristol last season, I think this might be his chance to break out and put the Napa Toyota in victory lane.

Yahoo Fantasy Sports Picks

This was a rebound week for me on Yahoo as well, with Carl finishing 5th, Jimmie 6th and Mark Martin and Austin Dillon 14th and 21st respectively I at least stopped the bleeding. I’m 8th out of 11 in one league and 16th out of 48 in my other league.

This week is a bit of a wild card, you just never know what is going to happen at Bristol, but I feel pretty confident in my picks!

A. Brad Keselowski- He’s been golden at Bristol and before him Kurt Busch and Rusty Wallace had no problems taking the #2 car to victory lane for Roger Penske. Brad has been strong thus far this season, I think he’s a no brainer to start on Sunday.

B. Martin Truex Jr.- I picked him to win earlier, so I gotta pick him hear. There aren’t a ton of tracks I plan on using him at this year so I have no problem getting a start out of the way.

B. Kyle Busch- I hate to give away two Kyle Busch starts this early in the season but he’s good at Bristol, he’s been on a roll this year, and with Toyota’s engine problems seemingly out of the way he should be a thread on Sunday.

C. David Reutimann- David has always ran decent at Bristol, including  a second place finish back in 2010. He finished 21st for Tommy Baldwin last year in the spring race. He’s also a strong qualifier with 4 top ten starts in his career at Bristol.

Restrictor Plates Are Off: Phoenix Review

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Restrictor Plates Are Off: Phoenix Review

By: Jeff Southard

Edwards Back To His Winning Ways

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(Photo Credit: Jeff Wackerlin)

Well it didn’t take Jimmy Fenning long to bring Carl Edwards back to victory lane. After a rough Daytona Fenning, Edwards, and crew had the #99 Ford Fusion set on kill on Sunday. A big turn around from last week when I gave him the “Flat Tire Award” and I have to admit, I was ready to write the #99 team off for the season. But as of now it looks like there is plenty of fight left in Edwards! But the question is can he keep up the momentum throughout 2013? My guess is yes, Fenning is a good crew chief, if they continue to mesh together look out for them to be a dangerous duo.

Bone Head Move Of The Week

I think the hands down winner this week has to be Jeremy Clements for his used of the “n-word” at Daytona. I mean, come one, really? I don’t care what kind of context he used it in, its still uncalled for. He is representing NASCAR at one of its top three levels, this wasn’t a Saturday night short track interview, he should know better.

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(Photo Credit: NASCAR.com)

The Flat Tire Award

I’m going to give this weeks shout out to Stewart Haas Racing. Last week both Danica and Ryan Newman were in the top ten, this week they both had DNF’s. Newman wrecked twice on Sunday before finally giving it up. Danica made it most of the race but was holding down a 30th place position for most of those laps. A big step backwards from the solid run she had going last fall at Phoenix.

The Hard Charger Award

This week’s hard charger shout out has to go to A.J. Allmendinger. He returned to the #51 Guy Roofing Chevrolet for James Finch’s Phoenix Racing and quietly brought the car home in a solid 11th place finish. Very strong run for the equipment especially considering A.J. hasn’t been in a cup car in four months or so and hasn’t been in one full time for almost nine months.

Pick-A-Winner

Well I’m 0-2 so far this year in picking a winner. In fact my driver’s have an average finish of 30th, not good. But I plan on turning that around this week! In an effort to seek a bit of redemption and eat a little crow for casting Carl Edwards‘ entire season under the bus after week one I’m picking him to go back to back and win at Las Vegas.

For my results by week, CLICK HERE

Yahoo Fantasy Sports Picks

As with my pick-a-winner, my fantasy sports picks suffered last week as well. Kurt and Kyle were both in the 20’s, Danica was 39th, and Harvick failed to get a top ten. I scored 175 points which was just bad enough to put me in 8th place in one league and 17th in the other. But its early, no need to panic, I have a strategy in place! I think…….

Here are my winning picks for Vegas!

A. Jimmy Johnson- Normally I save five-time for the chase but I need a little early season momentum so I’m going to use up a start here.

B. Carl Edwards and Mark Martin- Mark is mister consistency at Las Vegas and Edwards is my pick to win the race. I feel like both will earn me a top ten.

C. Austin Dillon- I really wanted to go with Stenhouse here, Vegas is a strong track for him. But there are so few C level drivers that actually have a chance at a good finish I felt like I needed to save Stenhouse and take advantage of Dillon when I could.