Who'll present Earnhardt in NASCAR HOF?

July, 9, 2009
07/09/09
10:03
PM ET
The start of Friday night's Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway was 20 minutes from the green flag when Jeffrey Earnhardt, his sister clinging to his neck, approached Dale Earnhardt Jr. on pit road.

Dale Jr. exchanged handshakes with his nephew and a high five with his niece, both the children of Kerry Earnhardt, who qualified on the same row with Junior.

Everybody seemed to get along well.

Then I started to wonder: Will they all be so cordial when it's time to decide who presents the late Dale Earnhardt when he, if the voting goes as expected, is inducted into NASCAR's first Hall of Fame class in May?

Everybody takes for granted that the seven-time champion will be among the five named later this year. Nobody should take for granted the presenter.

Some might argue it should be Earnhardt's wife, Teresa, the co-owner of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and owner of Dale Earnhardt Inc. She and Earnhardt started DEI together, so they were partners in business as well as life.

Some might argue it should be Dale Jr. His father took great pride in getting him into the Sprint Cup Series at DEI. But Teresa surely will have a say in the presenter and, based on the relationship between those two when Junior left DEI two years ago, it might be tough putting those issues aside.

My pick would be Richard Childress. Earnhardt won six of his seven titles in the No. 3 at Richard Childress Racing, and the man in black shared a bond with his owner like few others.

The hope would be that Teresa and her stepson show a united front and make this the special day it should be.

This, after all, won't be about them. It will be about the man they both loved and admired.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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