Some things matter. Some do not. Every weekend, no more than 30 entries matter to some degree. The rest do not. Most weekends NASCAR features a race and while some matter to race fans, most do not. Bristol, Charlotte, Darlington, Daytona, Sonoma, and Talladega races matter due to what they deliver and a long history of tradition.
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.
Stars. Many are called, but few are worthy. Each week, NASCAR provides somewhere between 34 and 40 entries out on the track, but fewer than 25 have any legitimate shot at making a difference. We know the names of those who have succeeded, those who have made and earned, a place in the spotlight.
36. Damn, and I was so looking forward to saying nothing but positive things this season. 36. That is the number of entries slated to run at Atlanta on Sunday. 36. The last time we had that small a field, it was 1996 in Martinsville. Rusty Wallace and Jeff Gordon were the race winners at that venue. 36.
Nose to tail, side by side, just inches apart, ripping around a 2.66-mile tri-oval that is 48 feet wide with 33-degree banking in the corners at speeds of over 190 miles per hour. It is obvious to anyone watching what could happen. It is amazing when it does not.
We all have waited for the moment that the iconic number 24 rolls back into victory lane with rising star Elliott aboard. With 40 laps remaining we all thought this would finally be the moment that he scores his first victory in the Monster Energy Cup Series.
With the Southern 500 coming our way from Darlington this weekend, it seems like a good time to talk about tradition. The first one in the books was back in 1950, making it the oldest of the sport’s iconic events. Most of the time, it goes to someone who is in or will be in, the Hall of Fame. That number will only grow once Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson get in, along with a few other contenders I can think of.