Jimmie Johnson. Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch. Kevin Harvick. Martin Truex, Jr. Denny Hamlin. Brad Keselowski. Kyle Larson. Chase Elliott. These men are NASCAR. These men, a few women, and so many others made the sport. Were the sport. Are the sport. Brian France is not NASCAR. There is a reason 97 percent of all family businesses do not survive as such into the fourth generation.
NASCAR announced today the inductees who will comprise the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2019. The five-person group – the 10th since the inception of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010 – consists of Davey Allison, Alan Kulwicki, Jeff Gordon, Roger Penske and Jack Roush.
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.
So, let us talk about Talladega. We had Ricky Stenhouse Jr. start on the pole. Then we had a race full of excitement with a host of “oh, my God, did you see that?” moments. That pretty much covers the highlights from the opening 168 laps. It was as thrilling as I had hoped, but this one came down to the final 30 circuits on that big track.
With more than a month left in the old year, talk about the new is already starting to dominate. Tony Stewart is now retired, with Clint Bowyer no doubt thrilled at the chance to get back into quality equipment as his replacement.
On Sunday, we will have one of those races, on one of those tracks, that provides must-see action. While we have no announcers covering NASCAR today who you might tune in just to hear their description of the action, to hear them enhance the excitement, even those we got can not detract from the spectacle we shall witness on Sunday.
As NASCAR swings into Chicago and begins the Chase, I can not help but notice that Denny Hamlin, and now Danica Patrick, have made mention that the season is too long. Reduce some races in length, reduce some altogether, run some mid-week are among their suggestions.