History proves the best shine at Bristol
My how time has ways of changing history. That applies in all phases of life, but especially sports I think.
Pardon me if in the next few paragraphs I sound like an old man sitting on the porch watching the world go by saying there hasn’t been a hitter the likes of Ted Williams, since … well, Ted Williams.
Sports have a way of doing that to us. Very rarely, at least in my experience, do we harbor the same feelings WHILE we are watching a sporting event as we do many years later when recalling that event. Seldom do we realize, or even acknowledge when we do, that we are witnessing history.
And as a result, our feelings and view about it change over time.
“What is that old man sitting on the porch mumbling about,” you may be asking yourself. Well, allow this old man to explain.
Sports are an immediate, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately venture that becomes more debatable as time passes. Racing is that way and with three classes now in the NASCAR Hall of Fame the debate just gets hotter.
First class included three drivers (Richard Petty – excuse me while I digress here at tip the brim of a big-feathered cowboy hat to the ONLY man to star as himself in a feature-length Hollywood movie – 43: The Richard Petty Story AND voice a character in the movie Cars topped only by his lovely wife Lynda who was Mrs. The King - Dale Earnhardt, Junior Johnson) with more than 320 wins as drivers and 20 Cup championships as drivers and owners. But while being tied for most championships, Earnhardt was seventh on the all-time win list.
The debate was just starting.
Allison remains in the top-five in all-time wins, but has one title. Jarrett claims two championships but is outside the top 10 in wins (50). Pearson, second all-time in wins (105) and three season-titles as does Lee Petty, who also had 54 wins.
The third class was anything but third class with Darrell Waltrip (84 wins, three championships), Cale Yarborough (83 wins, three championships), Dale Inman, Glen Wood and modified giant Richie Evans.
As time has passed, opinions on all of these Hall of Famers have changed, for better or worse. I have mine as well.
However, one thing that cannot be argued and that is the impact this group has had on Bristol Motor Speedway.
We have said for years a competitor does not luck into a win at Bristol. It has to be earned. Paid for in sweat equity. Because of the difficult, the cream tends to rise to the top. The best show why they are, indeed, the best.
But in 101 Cup races at BMS, nearly 70 wins are represented by the remaining 12 as driver, owner or crew chief. Obviously, some of those overlap – Lee Petty winning as a car owner while Richard wins as a driver and Inman wins as crew chief. Those duplications do not count in that near 70 total. Once a win gets counted, it does not get re-counted.
Nearly 70 of 101. Wow, what a group.
Say what you want about opinions shape, or reshaped, by history; it certainly is hard to argue those numbers.
The stars shine here. Don’t miss it.