There is a constant concern from those who operate and cover the short tracks across North America that NASCAR really doesn’t focus a lot on those small tracks that race each week near your home, especially with their NASCAR Home Tracks.
Yes, NASCAR Home Tracks gets a nice television ad here or there and yes, they have their own website. But a good amount of the top space is more dedicated to K&N and Modifieds. Which gives those who say that NASCAR doesn’t help the promotion of short track racing more ammunition to their argument.
The focus tends to lead to more towards the top three series. Yes, it is understandable because that is where most of the money flows into the NASCAR office with high dollar sponsors.
With the exception of the induction of Richie Evans, the voting panel has been consistent to vote in drivers, car owners, and crew chiefs from the top three series. Heck, they are inducting car owners that are still active in the sport and still have teams winning races. At this point, why not just induct Jimmie Johnson in as well if that is going to be the norm with them.
The 2019 nomination & voting panel consisted of 60 members. Four of those members fall under the heading of “Historic Short Track Operators.” The remaining 56 is a mix of NASCAR officials, media, larger track operators, drivers, crew chiefs, current Cup champion, and community leaders.
Two names stood out on the balloting results, Larry Phillips and Mike Stefanik. Two drivers who are pure grass root short track drivers. Both have Hall of Fame records and should be in with any class.
It is appearing that what we are seeing with the voting process is the same thing that many are stating, grass root racing continues to get overlooked by those who could help the process of inclusion.
All five inductees are very worthy of being in the Hall of Fame, but some may question if some of the candidates should be inducted now since they are still technically active in the sport.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame could be a greater value to all of stock car auto racing by doing more for the grass root racing community. It could be a great vehicle (pun intended) to help show fans who are very familiar with the top three series that there is something local and regional in their area. Entertainment that is family affordable, fun and most of all participating as future stars can see where they can start and learn to improve their skills and go from a weekend warrior to a big time star.
As the voting panel represents a great voice to the history of stock car auto racing, they need to be more aware as to who they vote for and place a person into the Hall of Fame from the grass root level will have more value and impact as those grass root fans will have a bigger reason to visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Someone they saw racing in their backyard is in the NASCAR Hall of Fame for the success they had at their track.
Look at the attention received when Richie Evans was inducted into the Hall of Fame. There are five seats, and personally one of those seats should looked at very closely from someone at the grass root level, especially since the Hall of Fame has already established a great list of honorees.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame could be that connection that many see missing in our sport today. Fix that disconnection from the top of our sport to the weekend warriors battling at our local tracks each weekend.