novakThe first class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame was announced on Wednesday afternoon and I would have to say the class is impressive.

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Scott Novak: If only I had a vote

Published 9:24am Friday, October 16, 2009

But let’s face it, of the original 25 nominees, how could they go wrong?

Every one of those men deserve to be and will at some point be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

But picking a first class had to be a tough decision.

In case you have been under a rock, away from your television set, radio, computer or cell phone, here is the first class:

1. Bill France Sr.
2. Bill France Jr.
3. Junior Johnson
4. Richard Petty
5. Dale Earnhardt

That’s quite a crew.

But now that the names have been released let the bickering begin.

There will always be those who disagree with the selections.

I am of course one of those.

But to the surprise of many of you I am sure, I only want to change one pick.
I can have just one alternate can’t I?

Here is my class in no particular order:

1. Bill France Sr. – You had to have Big Bill because he founded NASCAR. It was his brainchild and without him there may have never been a NASCAR to begin with.

2. Junior Johnson – He was one of the drivers who transitioned into a car owner and had great success in both. He was also a transition from bootlegger to stock car driver.
Johnson won 50 races as a driver, 132 as a car owner and six series championships.

3. Richard Petty – The King was a no brainer with a series-high seven championships and his 200 career victories will never be touched.

4. Dale Earnhardt – The only other seven-time champion. Earnhardt was also one of the leaders of using merchandising and television to his advantage. He also became the face of the sport during the early years of television.

5. Cale Yarborough – Cale is my choice over Bill France Jr. because he was the first driver to ever win three consecutive championships and only one of two drivers to ever do so.

My other choices for that fifth spot would have been Lee Petty, the sports first real superstar; Buck Baker, the first two-time champion; David Pearson, who won 105 career races; and either Richard Childress or Rick Hendrick, both of whom have won 11 championships in the three series.

Scott Novak is sports editor of Leader Publications. He can be reached at or by phone at 687-7702.  Follow me on my daily blog:

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