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Opinion: Call to the Hall – 2019 Class

MRN’s Pete Pistone names the five people he’d vote for to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

The list of 20 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2019 has been released and as is usually the case every name deserves accolades and attention.

Related: NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2019 Nominees Announced

I am not on the voting committee but like everyone in the sport, I have an opinion about who I’d like to see inducted every year. Last year I had four of the five inductees as Red Byron, Robert Yates, Ray Evernham and Ron Hornaday Jr. all were voted in by the panel.

As this process goes on, it becomes harder and harder. However, in the aftermath of the exodus of veteran superstars there will be more slam dunk first ballot inductees in the coming years. Jeff Gordon is a shining example this year.

So without further delay, here are the five names I’d place on my ballot for the Class of 2019:

Jeff Gordon
Talk about just going through the motions, not only should Gordon be a first ballot Hall of Famer in my opinion it should be a unanimous vote. The numbers speak for themselves with Gordon’s four championships and 93 career Cup wins. But that just scratches the surface of what Gordon has meant to NASCAR and how he still contributes today as a FOX broadcaster. Gordon changed how the sport was viewed by the mainstream and single-handedly took NASCAR to places it had only dreamed of going. He transcended the sport and his legacy might be unparalleled in its levels of impact.

Buddy Baker
Baker was on my ballot a year ago and here’s hoping he’s not overlooked this time around. The numbers are there for Baker with 19 wins in NASCAR’s top series including the Daytona 500 and Southern 500. But like one of last year’s inductees, Benny Parsons, Baker’s contributions to the sport go well beyond behind the wheel. His work on television, notably with CBS and TNN as well as hosting on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, touched millions more fans and added to an already impressive body of work.

Davey Allison
Like Baker, Allison also won 19 times at NASCAR’s highest level including victory in the 1992 Daytona 500 ahead of his Hall of Fame father Bobby. Allison’s life was tragically cut short in a helicopter accident at Talladega Superspeedway and the lingering thought of “what might have been” sadly permeates his story. In a very limited time Allison became a fan favorite and he backed up that popularity with his on track performance.

Ricky Rudd
A 23-time Cup Series winner and the 1997 Brickyard 400 champion had a quiet yet successful career. That’s not surprising given Rudd’s low key personality and demeanor. But make no mistake, he was a fierce competitor who also evolved into a favorite of many fans. “The Rooster” should go into the Hall this year and make the great state of Virginia proud.

Ray Fox
A true triple three, Fox excelled in NASCAR as an engine builder, crew chief and car owner. His cars won fourteen NASCAR Cup events and sixteen pole positions. Drivers who raced in Fox machines read like a “Who’s Who” of NASCAR including Buck Baker, Buddy Baker, Darel Dieringer, Junior Johnson, Fred Lorenzen, Fireball Roberts, Cale Yarborough and LeeRoy Yarbrough.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Motor Racing Network.