Monday, May 20, 2013

Put Lorenzen in the Hall – NOW

NASCAR will announce its next round of five Hall of Fame inductees Wednesday (May 22) evening after a day of "discussion and debate" in Charlotte by those privileged with a vote.  I don’t have a vote and since none of the five I urged the voters to choose last year made the final cut, it makes my job easy this year.

Last year Curtis Turner was my top choice, followed by Fireball Roberts, Joe Weatherly and Fred Lorenzen.  Smokey Yunick, not on the official ballot, was a write-in candidate.

Those are still my top five.  Only this year, for sentimental reasons, I’m moving Lorenzen, NASCAR’s original “Golden Boy,” to the top of the list. 

Lorenzen was my favorite driver when I first became a NASCAR fan in the early ‘60s.  He was the first driver ever to win more than $100,000 in a season.  In 1963 he finished third in points, despite running only 29 of 55 races.  He missed most of one season during a Ford boycott and then walked away from the sport near the peak of his career (although he made a brief comeback), finishing with 26 wins in just 158 starts.   Despite being a Yankee from Chicago, Lorenzen also was a favorite of southern fans.

But that’s not why he’s my sentimental favorite this year.  You see Lorenzen is suffering from dementia and now lives in a Chicago-area nursing home.  He reportedly has his good days and his bad.

Here’s an opportunity for the powers in NASCAR to make Wednesday a good day for Lorenzen – before it’s too late.

Those returning to the ballot again this year along with my picks are Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress, Raymond Parks, Tim Flock, Red Byron, Benny Parsons, Jerry Cook, H. Clay Earles, Anne B. France, Ray Fox, Jack Ingram, Bobby Isaac, Les Richter, T. Wayne Robertson, Ralph Seagraves and Wendell Scott.

New to the ballot are Dale Jarrett, two-time Daytona 500 winner and 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion; Maurice Petty, who built more than 200 race winning engines for Petty Enterprises; 1960 champ Rex White; O. Bruton Smith, owner of race tracks and Speedway Motorsports Inc.; and Larry Phillips, a dominate force on NASCAR’s short tracks.

All, I'm sure, belong in the HOF and will be voted in at some point. 

But notice someone not on the list?  Once again Yunick didn’t even receive a nomination.  The nominating committee is heavily dominated by the France family and NASCAR officials and Yunick was never a favorite of those groups.  

Oh well, there’s always next year for Yunick.

Just put Lorenzen in the HOF now.  Before it's too late.


  1. I am with you my friend with all your choices, Freddie and Fireball were my favorites in the 60s and it about killed me when we lost Fireball in Charlotte in 64. Freddie carried the load against the Petty freight train all thru the 60s, but lets not forget these same people voted Rusty Wallace in over all these people last year, that should tell you a lot about the vote for this hall!

  2. It's the France HOF because NASCAR belongs to them. I don't have to buy it, though. Until all the oldtimers, including Smokey, are in, I am not interested.

  3. I couldn't agree with you more! I also believe, as you, about your top five pick....they should have already been in!
    This same political BS of the France family has already started a train wreck that cant be fixed. it will require a new birth under different leadership!

  4. oddly bill france sr actually had smokey yunick build him 2 cars a1969 boss 302 mustang that was run in the grand American race @ talledga & a torino talledaga that he(france sr)had himself entered as driver in an attempt to join the drivers union.(the car was #53 and was driven in the scab race by tiny lund

  5. Like all your picks. Smoky should be in but it does seem like that probably might never happen. I am also on the side of not even thinking about visiting the Frances' hof until all mentioned are in and a few others.

  6. Virginia CoffeysMay 22, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    Lorenzen is why I'am a NASCAR fan today. All My bothers are lifelong fans. Put Fred in! He's paid the price.

  7. Fred Lorenzen is a 1st class person. He was my guy when I started following NASCAR back in the '60s. A few years ago I sent Fred a note with a hero card asking for his autograph. I received the signed card back the very next week. He really appreciates his fans. It would be special to recognize him as a ''Hall of Famer'' while he is still alive. Maybe next year ?