Crunching numbers: Hall of Fame

April, 20, 2011

The criticism has been thrown around like a hot potato (assuming people still throw those around); Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn't win and he's overrated.

Well, to those people who ignore his two Nationwide Series championships, I counter with this fact: Junior has been crowned your 2011 NASCAR Bracket of Massive Significance champion!

Yes, he joins such champions as Tony Stewart in 2009 and Mark Martin in 2010. Before that I didn't run the bracket, but I guess it wouldn't be impossible to find out. I will demand money to reveal the results though.

So bow down to your champ and chug a can of Amp, because Junior is officially in fictitious Victory Lane.

But for a little off-week blog entry, I wanted to touch base on the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2012 nominees that were released earlier this week.

As the great Frank Costanza would say, "I got a lot of problems with you people! And now, you're gonna hear about it."

But, for now, let's focus on two.

Exhibit A

Let's take a look at four drivers, and not a single one more.

• Driver A: Ran one full season and parts of two others. Two wins in 15 career starts. • Driver B: Ran four full seasons and parts of 11 others. 37 wins in 308 races. • Driver C: Ran 14 full seasons and parts of seven others. 21 wins in 526 races. • Driver D: Ran 22 full seasons and parts of three others. 55 wins in 706 races.

Only one of these drivers was left off the list of nominees. That's, of course, Driver D, he of the 55 career wins, eighth-most all-time.

Driver D is Rusty Wallace.

The other three are up for election. Driver A is Red Byron, Driver B is Bobby Isaac and Driver C is Benny Parsons.

I guess wins and longevity don't count for what they used to.

Exhibit B

I'm up for recognizing the achievements of the early Nationwide Series drivers. Granted, I can't reference stats from before 1982, since they're not recognized by NASCAR due to being incomplete and often missing altogether.

However, Jack Ingram returned to the ballot for a second straight year, which I'm fine with. He won a pair of Nationwide Series titles and 31 races over nine full seasons and 275 starts.

But where is Sam Ard? Ard and Ingram only ran three full Nationwide Series seasons head-to-head, and Ard won the title in two of those seasons, his final two in the series, 1983 and 1984.

Ard also won 22 of his 92 career starts, meaning he won nearly a quarter of his starts. Ingram's mark of 11.3 percent is very impressive and slightly weighed down by his lack of success in later seasons, but it's time to recognize and enshrine Sam Ard before it's too late.

Let the debating begin! Enjoy the off week.



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