Reader Says BA Was Nearly Credited With 85th Victory
I just learned about your web site, Stock Care History Online. In a word, it’s great!!
With both considerable interest and consternation, I read your pieces on Bobby Allison’s confiscated 85th NASCAR Cup win. Back in 2002, I organized a little conclave between some NASCAR historians and NASCAR itself (Jim Hunter and his communication and public relations entourage) to correct the records of its premier series, of which the seized Allison race was one.
Some background information is clearly in order. In January of 2002, I provided Jim Hunter, at the EMPA’s (Eastern Motorsport Press Association) annual convention, a document that outlined some of the many inaccuracies associated with the win records of some of NASCAR’s greatest stars, such as Lee Petty, Tim Flock and Bobby Allison. I related to Mr. Hunter that NASCAR needed to correct its records before it would be really taken seriously by the main-stream sports industry. I offered to organize a meeting with two of NASCAR’s renowned historians, Bob Latford and Greg Fielden, and perhaps others, to establish once and for all an accurate record database for NASCAR’s premier series. Much to my pleasant surprise, Hunter accepted my offer!
On April 23, 2002, Bob Latford, Greg Fielden, Bob Moore, Len Thacher and yours truly met with Jim Hunter and his staff at NASCAR’s Charlotte office. During the meeting, which commenced at 11 a.m. and concluded at 3 p.m. (would you believe NASCAR provided a catered lunch for us?), we outlined the inaccurate race winners from 1949 thru 1971. Jim Hunter was very receptive with our recommendations and impressed with the manner in which we presented them. He even suggested that we reconvene at some future date to review other NASCAR record categories that he felt needed some scrutiny to ensure accuracy.
At the conclusion of this meeting, Bob Latford and Jim Hunter discussed, in jest, how they could arrange an on-camera encounter between Bobby Allison and Darrel Waltrip so that Bobby could tell Darrell, in person, that his Winston-Salem Cup win had been restored and now Allison officially had one more Cup win than Waltrip did.
When I asked Jim Hunter how long it would take before NASCAR’s record data base and the NASCAR Media Guide could be amended to reflect all of the changes, he advised me that after he reviewed them with Bill (France) within the next week, the changes would be reflected in the 2003 Media Guide.
I subsequently learned, one month later, that France had agreed with all of the proposed changes, until Hunter reviewed the final recommendation, which was the winner of the infamous 250-lap race at Winston-Salem’s Bowman Gray Stadium on August 6, 1971. When Hunter suggested that Allison should be credited with a Cup win for that race, France immediately and emphatically rejected the recommendation as well as all of the recommendations he had previously approved. End of story, period!
Since my motorsport journalism pursuits concluded at the end of the 2004 season, I no longer had access to NASCAR’s Media Guide and/or Web site to ascertain if any of our proposed corrections have ever been made.
Now back to your article. I was pleased to learn that Tiny Lund has now been credited with the two “mixed” Grand National/Grand American short-track events and that his career Cup win total is five, which is correct!
Sidebar - now Chevrolet’s manufacturer wins match the number of Cup wins. It’s interesting to note that while the manufacturer wins for Ford includes Allison’s ’70 Grand American Mustang, the driver behind the wheel of the No. 49 Mustang has never been given credit for his victory!
Obviously Kerry Tharp doesn’t have a clue! This repugnant error can be corrected but the only person in NASCAR that may have an interest in doing so is Mr. Jim Hunter.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Hunter declined to comment on this letter to the editor, adding only that “(i)t is what it is.” The commentary to which this letter refers can be found here ....
What About Bill?
Regarding your recent survey concerning the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s inaugural class, I agree with the inductions of Bill France Sr., Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Davis Pearson. But I think the choice for the fifth inductee for the founding class is equally a no-brainer: Bill France Jr.!
Let’s be honest, NASCAR became the global phenomenon it is today under his guidance. Without his contributions, it’s not likely there would be a hall of fame (at least at this time) at all.
Just an opinion.
Rev. Richard G. Hall
Battle Creek, Mich.
A Radical Idea To Bring The Nationwide Series Back To Glory Days Of Ard, Ingram, Houston
The Nationwide series in its current form is a complete failure. Cup owners and drivers dominate, leaving no room for Sam Ards, Tommy Houstons and Jack Ingrams to develop. It was drivers like this (and others) who made the old “second tier” series the strong, stand-alone series it once was.
I have what I think is a very plausible solution to the Nationwide disaster — bring back short-track late model chassis to the series.
Think about it ...
Late models should be a less expensive venture than the once-proposed Nationwide series COT, giving current and potential series owners the financial break they so desperately need.
Late model chassis, motors and other equipment would seemingly eliminate Cup owner participation in the series as the data gathered from the series would not translate to the CO’s they use.
Car counts would go up as you would find drivers from local short tracks trying to enter a Nationwide series show when there is a race date in their area. A late model car would also make it easier for local hotshoes to try and take their careers to the next level by following the series. Such a move could only strengthen the talent pool in NASCAR that has been diluted by marketing and corporate sponsorship.
Finally, if NASCAR is so concerned about “name” driver participation in the series, owning a late model is a relatively easy venture for any multi-millionaire. Many Cup drivers already have their own asphalt late models. You would find Cup drivers entering the series for actual fun instead of running for championships or for R&D purposes.
We all can agree that the glory days of the Nationwide series were in the 80s when the competition was like what I’ve described. So I say let’s learn from history and bring back a true late model sportsman series to NASCAR. Lord knows the fans deserve to see what real racing looks like.
Reader Says That Inaugural HOF Class Should Include
Greats Of Modified, Late Model Sportsman Series, Too
As a person who first purchased my NASCAR License when Big Bill was still running things, I think you and the rest of your voters missed the name of the Hall. It is the NASCAR Hall of Fame, not the Cup Hall of Fame. NASCAR, the sanctioning body, was not built by the Cup Series. It was built by its original two series, the Modified and the Sportsman. Cup was the third series of NASCAR and could not pay the bills until the 1980s.
For that reason, it is not a NASCAR Hall of Fame if the men with the most win and most championships in each of the first three series of NASCAR are not included.
The first class should be:
Modified: Richie Evans The only nine-time champion in NASCAR History and the best driver. He beat them all wherever he went, including DW and other Cup drivers at Daytona The modifieds were the founding division of NASCAR. In fact without the people who started in the modified division, Cup would not be what it is today.
Sportsman: Jack Ingram He beat all of the Cup drivers of his day and many people are where they are at because of the Iron Man.
Cup: Richard Petty, only because of 200 wins and seven championships. David Pearson is the best Cup driver and seecond-best driver in NASCAR history. All you need to know is he drove only three complete seasons and he was champion each time.
Bill France Sr.: He organized everyone, but he was not the only founder of NASCAR. Many people invested in the beginning, but he did pull it all together.
Roger Bear: Without Roger, there is no RJ Reynolds and NASCAR never get to where it is at today.
There is one other person that needs to be included, but you did say five, so I will just leave you with this little bit of information. It was Big Bob O’Rourke who had the connection to keep RJR in the sport when they were taken over by KKR. If O’Rourke was not able to accomplish this, NASCAR is out of business and gone. Without the RJR money back in those years they were bankrupt. O’Rourke saved them from that.
Robert A. Wilson
Riverhead, N.Y. i
He’s Baaaaaaaack … Reader Brandon Reed
Says This Site’s Hall Of Fame Survey Results
Didn’t Go Far Enough In Honoring Sport’s Past
We were given something very interesting to mull over this week, with Rick Houston’s article showing what many people in the sport feel should be the first class into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
It should come to no surprise that Richard Petty is the only unanimous choice of those polled. The lone exception might be those pundits 25 years or younger who don’t seem to understand that there was, in fact, racing before Dale Earnhardt.
What it proves to me, however, is the need to step beyond the norm for the first class. With so many deserving drivers over a 60 year span, if you only do four inductees per year, that could leave some drivers who have been away from racing for decades never getting in, as the NASCAR PR machine continues to focus only on what occurred after 1979.
Actually, let me rectify that. The inductees should go back more than NASCAR’s 60 years, and honor those who drove before there was a NASCAR for Bill France, Sr., such as the late Lloyd Seay. Seay was one of the top draws for France’s stock car circuit before World War II, and likely would have been a major force to be reckoned with after the war. Unfortunately, Seay was killed in September of 1941, murdered by a cousin in a dispute over sugar for the family moonshine still.
At Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s memorial service in 2001, Bill France Jr. was asked who was the greatest driver of all time, and he immediately answered “Lloyd Seay.” That’s high praise, and it’s something that should be looked into for the Hall.
Regardless, Buz McKim and the folks at the Hall will have a tough chore to do when it comes to figuring out the induction process. I’d like to offer a suggestion.
Why not take a look at the inductees at various racing and sports hall of fames around the country, such as the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Hall of Fame and the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame (whom, in the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit I do volunteer work for). Look at who they have honored, and put together a larger “inaugural class” of drivers whose merits go above and beyond the question of “are they hall of fame material?”
One of the criteria for this could be to set a date that the inaugural class would have had to participated prior to. For example, to be considered in the inaugural class, you would have had to have driven prior to 1972. That would give a good range for those who deserve to be recognized from the beginning.
Otherwise, as I said, it may be another 50 years before men like Herb Thomas, Red Byron, Marshall Teague or even Fireball Roberts are recognized, because there would be too much focus on the last 20 years, which gets far more exposure.
Let’s be honest here, folks. I could walk up to a pretty girl at a race track and ask “Would you like to meet 1960 Sprint Cup champ Rex White,” and would probably be stared at like I was from another planet. If I replaced Rex’s name with that of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. or Kasey Kahne, the reaction would probably be more of a squealing sound, followed by the young lady jumping up and down with what can only be described as a religious fervor. How fair could voting be with that kind of atmosphere?
Along with that first “expanded class”, you could also do a vote-in, such as Rick Houston showed in his polling this week. That way, every era has an honest chance of being represented.
That’s my greatest fear with this Hall of Fame, folks. I don’t want to see the people upon whose backs this sport was built from the ground up ignored so that the latest and greatest can be plastered on a few more corn flakes boxes. The purpose of this hall of fame should be to honor those who gave everything they had so that the fans could be entertained on Sunday afternoon. For far too long, people like Fonty Flock, Raymond Parks, Joe Weatherly, Banjo Matthews and Darel Dieringer have been pushed to the back, or to the ground so that NASCAR could promote it’s newest stars.
Enough already. Give these men and women their due. It’s long past time to do so. One last thing – Rick didn’t ask my opinion, but I figure as long as I’m giving it anyway, here are my five picks, in no particular order: Richard Petty, Tim Flock, Curtis Turner, Fireball Roberts and Raymond Parks.
Just remember it’s not supposed to be a popularity contest. It’s supposed to be a way to honor those who got you where you are.
Harry Hyde Remembered ...
I befriended Harry Hyde in the late 1970s, when I bought a Chrysler Kit Car from him, that I raced out here as a late model. I was with him and the crew at the Richmond race a week after Daytona in about 1977. As they pushed the car towards the scales during the inspection process, Harry told Tommy Johnson and Buddy Parrot, “When we get on the scales, I’ll distract the inspector and I need you guys to lean on the left rear quarter, otherwise, we aren’t gonna be legal!”
Those were the days!
Thanks again Rick, I’ll be reading!
Reader Agrees … Kinda … That BA Should Have 85 Wins
Hey Rick, great article on Bobby’s 85th win. But the possibility of getting them to admit that Bobby won the race is as likely as getting them to finally recognize Fonty Flock as the 1947 NASCAR champion (which Big Bill did in all the 1948 NASCAR publicity), or admit that if it wasn’t for Raymond Parks, Big Bill would have been broke and working back at that filling station in Daytona Beach.
But … and this is a BIG BUT … there is precedence, in my opinion, for NASCAR’s call on the win.
I’m not saying they’re right. I haven’t said NASCAR was right on anything in a long, long time. I’m just saying there is precedence.
Over the years, especially back in the late 50’s, NASCAR ran several "sweepstakes" races, which included cars from two divisions. It seemed to have started with the Grand National (now Sprint Cup) and the very popular Convertible series.
The best example I can find to show is the very first Daytona 500 back in 1959. Both divisions ran in that race, with the hardtops having what is now seen as a clear advantage, while the pop-tops had no aerodynamics at all — a concept that was not fully recognized in that first event.
Richard Petty ran that first race in a pop-top Oldsmobile. As I’ve always understood it, had Richard won that race, he would have been credited with a Convertible series win, and given points for the Convertible series. While he would have got the trophy and the prize money, it would not have been credited as a Grand National win.
The latest examples I can find were in the late 80’s and early 90’s, when the Cup tour would go out to Riverside or Phoenix. Always, we would hear about three or four Winston West drivers who were in the race, who were "contending for the Winston West title". In other words, the points they were earning went towards their standing in the Winston West series, not the Cup series. A win, as I understand it, would have been a Winston West win, not a Cup win.
Now, with that in mind, it makes sense how the win would not be credited. Bobby was driving a Grand American (or GN East, depending on what you want to call it) car. With the rules implied as I showed above, he should have been credited with a G.A. win and given G.A. points.
But that goes out the window when you see the results for Lund. They’ve not applied the same rules to Tiny as they did to Bobby. Therefore, NASCAR should remedy it by simply crediting Bobby with the win. But that will never happen, just as Wendell Scott’s family will never get a real trophy for his win at Jacksonville. All it would take is a simple ceremony before a race, and present a REAL trophy to the family, as opposed to that stick they gave him at Savannah. But NASCAR doesn’t admit mistakes — they’re never wrong, and they’re certainly not greedy.
Only one complaint — the thing about mentioning Richard’s win at Ona. I know you were only pointing out that Allison was credited with finishing second, but I’ve gotten really peeved with certain members of the media doing anything they can to belittle Petty’s win count — which I know you weren’t doing, but that’s one of my pet peeves right now, so I might as well get it out while I have the chance!!!!
Petty won 200 races, plain and simple. It doesn’t matter how many races there were in a year — you actually were taking more chances running all the races in a year to chase the championship than you did just running the big races. You risked injury, damaged equipment and even death by running smaller tracks that weren’t as well maintained, driving with drivers who were in over their heads, and hoping for the best. I’m tired of the idiots at ESPN trying to blow off the fact that Petty won more races than anybody else based on the fact that he ran more races in certain years. That’s about as stupid as it gets.
Back in October, I had the pleasure of being a "chauffeur" for Buddy Baker at the annual Dawsonville Mountain Moonshine Festival in Dawsonville, GA. I asked him point blank about Richard’s wins.
He said "Let me put it this way. Yeah, he just lucked into 200 wins. Yeah, right. Dream on, pal."
That’s good enough for me!
Take care, and thanks!!!