Hall of Fame induction ceremonies a celebration for entire sport

A look at the 2016 class of NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees.

Well, just like some of our races in 2015, Mother Nature is playing a role in our 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.

Unfortunately, due to the winter storm that hit the Charlotte, North Carolina area, Friday night’s scheduled festivities had to be postponed until today.

As always, though, it will be well worth the wait. When it comes to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, I get giddy when I am walking amongst the displays and looking at those already in the Hall and those five who will be added this afternoon.

I say that because I personally have known the majority of these folks, either through working for them or racing against them. 

I get excited for our sport and our fans. You literally can come here to the Hall of Fame and talk to history. Think about the Wood Brothers or Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Junior Johnson and all the other icons who are here at the Hall. It’s the fan’s chance to learn about the history of our sport literally from those who made it. 

For these guys, this is the ultimate payoff for what your career and life’s passion is all about. When these guys got into the sport, it was their love of racing that propelled them. When it became their life’s work, many of them raced simply to put food on the table.

They weren’t thinking about or worrying about trying to be one day recognized as the greatest of all time. For them it was about winning and putting food on the table, plus hopefully paying a few bills along the way. 

Their passion, dedication and sacrifice has earned them the right to be in our NASCAR Hall of Fame. This afternoon five more legends — Bruton Smith, Terry Labonte, Jerry Cook, Curtis Turner and Bobby Issac, take their place in NASCAR history. 

If you ever want to fully understand our sport, you have to make the trip to Charlotte to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. You will find yourself surrounded by the sights, sounds and characters that make our sport of NASCAR what it is. Remember, our sport isn’t that old and we haven’t had our own Hall of Fame for very long, but I promise you there is so much inside that building that you can learn about. 

NASCAR is a tough business to be in. In some ways it’s an individual sport like golf, where there’s only one guy behind the wheel. With that said, we all know it’s also like the National Football League and truly a team sport with everyone busting their butts in the shop, as well as the crew that travels to all the races from February through November.

It’s a grueling grind, but you’ll find our sport isn’t about the paycheck. It’s about the passion of racing and being first to the checkers. 

I’m so very proud to say that I played a small role in a number of the Hall members’ careers. I’m excited for this new class to join them this afternoon. They have earned the right and again, it truly is the pinnacle of their career.