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Did Yarborough’s failure to attend when Johnson tied his record hurt his Hall bid?

By admin | October 20, 2010

By Richard Allen

NASCAR seems to best like those who play for the team. They realize that image does matter and they work very hard to see to it that their image is what they want it to be. So, could it be the case that those who buck the system the sanctioning body holds as ideal are punished in one way or another?

For years, there have been people who claim that if someone says something negative toward NASCAR one week their car will have trouble getting through technical inspection the next. And just earlier this year it was revealed that NASCAR had secretly fined a couple of drivers who had spoken their minds and thus done damage to the image of the sport.

For a week now there has been all sorts of debate regarding who made the HoF second class and why. So, knowing that there is proof that NASCAR can levy behind the scenes reprimands, is it possible that Cale Yarborough was left out of this year’s NASCAR Hall of Fame class because he did not attend when Jimmie Johnson tied his record of three consecutive championships?

Back in 2008 Johnson claimed his third consecutive title. Previously, Yarborough had been the only other driver in the modern era to have accomplished such a feat. Much was made of the fact that the retired driver did not make an appearance at the Miami-Homestead Speedway on that evening to be part of the ceremony.

Perhaps even more harmful to Yarborough’s Hall bid was the persistent rumor that he did not attend the Homestead race because he requested an appearance fee for doing so. A fee NASCAR and its partner, International Speedway Corp., refused to pay.

Now remember, Yarborough did show up for the end of season NASCAR banquet for Johnson’s official crowning and played the role of good sport in the process. But, had the damage to ‘the image’ already been done?

In a piece I wrote some time back, I did not select Yarborough as one of my choices for the second class to be inducted into the Hall of Fame but there are many who felt as though he should have been included this time around. His credentials are certainly impressive enough for inclusion. Timing seems to be the only point of debate.

For those who do believe that Yarborough should be making an acceptance speech this coming May the question is whether or not his absence when Johnson tied his mark might have been a deciding factor among the voters. As suggested before, NASCAR has long been suspected as an organization that gets even behind closed doors when it comes to someone harming its image.

As stated before, had I had a vote on the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s second class I would not have included Yarborough but there are many who would have. So in the minds of those who believe he should be in, was he left out because he did not attend Jimmie Johnson’s coronation?

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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

Topics: Articles |

6 Responses to “Did Yarborough’s failure to attend when Johnson tied his record hurt his Hall bid?”

  1. steve Says:
    October 21st, 2010 at 3:53 am

    nascar is a JOKE attendance and tv ratings are starting to prove it

  2. The Old Guy Says:
    October 21st, 2010 at 5:53 am

    Whatever the reason was that Cale was left out is simply wrong.

    Cale Yarborough is still the only Driver to win three legitimate championships in a row.

    As with so many things around NASCAR today, the HOF process is flawed.

    To have people on the selection/voting committee who are also on the nominee list is simply a farce.

    The exclusion of David Pearson from the first class of the HOF said more to me than anything.

  3. jim davis Says:
    October 21st, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Remember that Cale left NASCAR and raced Indy cars for 2 or 3 years.

    NASCAR always mistreats people who do not bow down to NASCAR and the Frances

  4. Bill Says:
    October 21st, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    The fact that you did not vote for Cale shows something in this system is not working. He has the numbers in wins, titles, poles, and winning percentage. If people want to point fingers at him for appearance fees and the like, perhaps many should look and see if Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, and David Perason ever collected fees for appearances. I think we know the answer to that! Cale has a good life, lives on his own terms and turned his life in NASCAR into a successful career as a business owner and entreuUprener when his driving days were over. I doubt that he is losing sleep over his exclusion, but I am sure he, like me, wishes you guys would get this right. Maybe even fans would visit the hall of Fame. to exlcude Darrell Waltrip was also a ridiculous error of judgement as well. All the inductees were successful and they do belong there. But Bud Moore in the second class shows the favortism and pettiness of the group selecting. Hec, you even excluded David Pearson from the first class!

  5. Jules Says:
    October 21st, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I don’t feel that any driver, once retired, is bound to NASCAR anymore.

    Expecting any retired driver to make appearances at NASCAR’s beckon call is and do so for free is profound to say the very least. There are expenses and time invested and its certainly worth something. NASCAR does not pay pensions nor do retired drivers get any cuts from sales of souvenirs.

    I don’t know what other sports do and I don’t care.

    Is NASCAR a cult or some type of mafia organization, that its retired drivers are indefinately bound to them?

    And how, exactly, does asking appearance money tarnish NASCAR’s image?

    If NASCAR’s HOF entries are based on a “What have you done for us lately” mentality then they are going to have a hard time getting patrons.

    If they wish to “snub” drivers from the HOF then us PAYING customers can “snub” the HOF.

  6. Larry Mofield Says:
    October 21st, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Let me see….Cale went from full time to part time to spend more time at home by doing so gave DW his three titles for he won them driving for Jr.Johnson like Cale.If he had stayed full time you probably could had added another 25 wins to his total.Look at today’s sponsor situation,multiple sponsors Cale did it the last year he was an owner,had an offer on the table to keep Trop Artic in the sport by offering them a deal as co sponsor with Hardee’s but they chose Ward Burton’s owner and then Trop Artic left because of they couldn’t afford to be the main sponsor.Now almost every team runs multiple sponsors.Imagine Cale was one of the first.He deserved to be in the Hall of Fame the first time as did David Pearson.