Hello again, race fans! This is Atlanta Motor Speedway President and General Manager Ed Clark!
Each May, I am honored to be on the voting committee for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Those of us within this group have the tough task of deciding who the next five members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame will be. If you want to talk about a challenge, this would be it!
The committee meets in a large room where we discuss the merits of 25 the nominees. By the end of the day, we all have selected five new NASCAR Hall of Famers.
This year, three out of the five individuals on my ballot were voted into the Hall of Fame. The 2013 Hall of Fame class brings a nice cross-section. Dale Jarrett gives you a modern driver, Jack Ingram represents the Nationwide Series, Tim Flock had the most wins of any driver not yet voted in, Maurice Petty built engines for a lot of winning cars and Fireball Roberts was the sport's first superstar. When he raced, a lot of people would ask something like, 'who won and how did Fireball do?'
One of the biggest challenges with the voting process is the age of both the voters and some of the nominees. There are committee members evaluating someone's Hall of Fame merits who were not even born when some of these nominees had their careers. It is tough to compare nominees from different time periods. So because of that, it's so hard to compare nominees from different eras. How do you compare, for example, a guy like Dale Jarrett to someone like Fred Lorenzen who raced in the 1960s?
It's questions like these that make determining Hall of Famers such a challenge, especially now. This isn't like it was the first year of the Hall of Fame when you voted in guys like Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. Now, it's so much harder to determine who is among the top-five of all the Hall of Fame nominees, and this a group of people that most all of them will one day be Hall of Famers, it's just a question of when.
It is very challenging to help select the next NASCAR Hall of Famers but a high honor at the same time. I'm lucky to be in the same room with a who's who of those who have helped shaped NASCAR through the years, and it is flattering just to be able to play a part in selecting NASCAR's Hall of Famers.