The Class Of 2009

Now that the NASCAR Hall of Fame has found a home in Charlotte, who deserves to be included in the first group of historic inductees when the museum finally opens in hopefully 2009?

If NASCAR follows the path of other professional sports, and the Hall of Fame is completed ahead of schedule and opens in 2009 as officials hopes during Monday's press conference, we can expect a cross section of racing figures to be inducted.

While it's not a lock that the NEXTEL Challenge All-Star Race will stay at Lowe's Motor Speedway since NASCAR has always mandated each season's schedule is created a year at a time, keeping the race in Charlotte now seems like a no-brainer.

Each May, the Hall of Fame induction ceremony would be part of a week that would be capped with the annual All-Star extravaganza at LMS. With the added activities around the HOF inductions, the week in Charlotte could certainly rival what Major League Baseball and the NBA now enjoy with their annual all-star events.

But before we get ahead of things, lets take a look at some of the most deserving nominees to be considered for the inaugural induction ceremony.

SLAM DUNKS

  • Bill France, Sr.
    -NASCAR's founding father and the head of the family responsible for leading the sanctioning body since day one.

  • Richard Petty
    -Is there a name more synonymous with NASCAR and stock car racing than "The King?"

  • Junior Johnson
    -First brought NASCAR into the national spotlight and responsible for bringing R.J. Reynolds and its marketing power to the sport.

  • Chris Economamaki
    -The Dean of motorsports journalism and still an influential figure today.

    POSSIBLES

  • Red Byron
    -The man who won the first NASCAR title in 1949.

  • Lee Petty
    -The patriarch of NASCAR's most successful racing family.

  • T. Wayne Robertson
    -Brought R.J. Reynolds and the Winston brand together with NASCAR to create one of the most successful sports marketing partnerships in history.

  • Ken Squier
    -The man responsible for bringing NASCAR on network television to a whole generation of fans.

    We'll have at least three years to find out who indeed does make it to the Hall. Who do you think should be in the "Class of 2009?" Send your suggestions to Pete@Racingone.com, and we'll publish the nominees in a future story.

    
            
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