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Thursday, May 31, 2012
Who belongs in NASCAR Hall of Fame?

By Eric Morse
ESPN The Magazine

So far the voting committee at the NASCAR Hall of Fame has done a great job of selecting a mix of the sports pioneers and recent favorites. Now that the fourth class of inductees—Buck Baker, Cotton Owens, Herb Thomas, Rusty Wallace and Leonard Wood—has been announced for 2013, voters for the fifth class have dilemma on their hands.

Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress
Rick Hendrick and Richard Childress are certain Hall of Famers. But how soon should they be inducted?
Racers eventually retire, but owners can keep going—providing their wallet can keep pace. So what to do about Rick Hendrick and Richard Childress? Their organizations have dominated NASCAR since the mid-80s and they are both no-brainers for the Hall of Fame, but the question is when?

The rub is that both are still in their prime, but it’s hard to imagine an active manager winning the World Series and getting the call from Cooperstown in the same season. With Hendrick notching his 200th Sprint Cup win last month in Darlington and Childress surpassing the century mark last October, it appears that neither owner is going to leave the sport any time in the near future.

It makes more sense to give these two the nod sooner rather than later. No one can dispute their credentials and it would mean more to do it now when they can enjoy it in good health and continue to represent the sport they love with the title “Hall of Fame owner” before their names.