The fan voting is now open for the first class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The hall will open in uptown Charlotte in 2010 and induct an inaugural class of five hall-o'-famers.
Which five would you select? The 25 nominees (plus fan voting details) can be found here.
Here are my picks for the first five:
There are three 'no-brainers' that should likely be unanimous selections:
2.) Richard Petty - He still holds most of the statistical records and his 200 wins will never be duplicated.
3.) Dale Earnhardt - Tied with Petty as the only seven-time Cup champions. His life and death still hovers over the sport almost a decade later.
After the first three, the choices become less clear. The 25 nominees are all deserving, and will likely be inducted in future years, but here are my votes for the remaining inductees:
4.) Bill France Jr. - Led the sport through what is known as 'the Modern Era.' His tenure included the most extensive national growth period in the sport's history (late 90s - early 00s).
5.) Junior Johnson - This final spot was a tough choice because an argument could be made for many of the nominees. But, Johnson gets my vote for his 50 victories as a driver, his numerous championships as a team owner, and his influence in bringing major sponsors into the sport. For example, Johnson chose not to sign Winston as a team sponsor but instead pointed them toward sponsoring the entire series. It turned out to be a successful 30-year relationship for Winston and was essential for the growth of the sport.
Disagree? Leave your selections in the "Comments" section.