Darlington was a day all about time. A time when in 1950 the first Southern 500 was run. A time when some of the great names from the past were brought back to be saluted by their sport in the present. A time when 0.6 seconds can mean everything.
Jeff Gordon. Four-time NASCAR champion. Three-time Daytona 500 champion. Four-time Brickyard 400 winner. Six-time Southern 500 victor. Three-time World 600 champion. Three-time All-Star race winner. Winner of 93 Cup races. He probably was the most automatic inductee into the Hall of Fame since Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
When one of the legends in the sport leaves us, we remember. If a man is known simply by the company he keeps, Robert Yates did very well. As a team owner, he was the boss to such NASCAR luminaries as Davey Allison, Larry McReynolds, Ernie Irvan, Dale Jarrett, and Ricky Rudd.
Change. Sometimes change is good, like when you win a few million dollars. That is good. You get married to your sweetheart. Good. Your children start arriving. If you are a mature adult, and not some self-serving narcissist, that is very good. New talented drivers emerge on the scene. That is also a good thing.
Jimmie Johnson. Four wins in 2015. Ten wins at Dover. Seventy-four wins over the course of his career, just two shy of Dale Earnhardt’s total. Six championships. Gee, I wonder if he might ever make the Hall of Fame?
As the boys and girl venture on to Fort Worth, it seems apropos for some to seek a resurrection of their hopes on the season. For others, the off weekend did little to help matters from where we left off after Martinsville.
When we think of a Hall of Fame inductee, we usually think of outstanding performances and career achievements. There are champions, there are race winners, and there are legends. Few should be able to argue against the merits of one so honored, but we do.