NASCAR's Hall Of Fame To Open In 2010

Nate PowersCorrespondent ISeptember 12, 2008

When you hear "Hall of Fame," you probably think of Canton or Cooperstown, not Charlotte.

With construction underway for NASCAR's Hall of Fame, to be located in Charlotte, North Carolina, I take a look at who should be inducted into the Inaugural class.

Charlotte was chosen because of the rich NASCAR history in the area. Many teams have their shops based there and it is the site of the Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Let's just say, for argument's sake, that NASCAR will induct ten people in the first year and have a yearly vote to induct more.

I looked at the stats of the best drivers, best crew chiefs, and best owners.

This is what I came up with as the ten original inductees.

1-Bill France.  Without France, NASCAR wouldn't exist. France took the racing off the streets and built an empire that has the fastest rising fan base in all of sports. So, those who follow Bill owe their allegiance to the man,literally, behind the wheel.

2-Richard Petty. This was a no brainer. The King won 200 races in a career that lasted four decades. He has seven NASCAR Cup championships, tying him for the most in stock car history. His team, Petty Enterprises, has a NASCAR record 268 wins. There is no doubt that he gets 100 percent of the votes.

3-Dale Earnhardt.  The Intimidator was a force to be reckoned with. His seven NASCAR championships tie him with Richard Petty for the most all time. He ranks seventh on the all time wins list, with 76 victories. Earnhardt was always known for his aggression and his claim that he could actually see the wind going over the car. You may not haved liked the way he drove, but you have got to respect the man.

4-David Pearson.  Pearson has always been known as the man who could beat Petty.  A fact that most people don't know is that he is ranked second on the all time wins list with 105 career victories. He is only the second person to break the century mark in their career. Pearson racked up three championships, all of which in the 1960's.

5-Darrell Waltrip. Waltrip collected 84 career victories, which ties him for fourth all time. He also has three championships under his belt. Waltrip was always known as the man who stood up to Earnhardt, and the two created a great rivalry. Waltrip recently became famous for his work in the broadcast booth and his famous catch phrase "Boogity, Boogity, Boogity."

6-Cale Yarborough.  Yarborough has 83 career victories, fifth all time. He also has three championships. He won the from 1976-78, making him the only driver to record back-to-back-to-back championships. Yarborough will always be remember as starting a fight on the track with Donnie brother Bobbie Alison during the first televised running of the Daytona 500.

7-Bobby Allison.  Bobby grew up in a racing family, with both his father and brother racing at NASCAR's highest level.  Bobby won 84 races, tied for third all time with Darrell Waltrip. He also recorded a championship in 1983.

8-Junior Johnson. Johnson recorded 50 career victories in his racing days. However, Johnson is more known for his success as an owner. As an owner he has 140 victories and won championships with Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip.  His 140 victories is third all time behind Petty Enterprises and Hendrick Motorsports.

9-Rick Hendrick. His team has recorded 172 career victories, second only to Petty Enterprises.  Hendrick Motorsports has also recorded seven championships. He has fielded such drivers as Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Benny Parsons, Darrell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

10-Lee Petty. The elder Petty won the first ever Daytona 500. He has 54 career victories, and three championships. He created Lee Petty Engineering, which is now known as Petty Enterprises. He is the first generation of NASCAR's oldest racing family.

Other Notables:

Rusty Wallace (55W, 1C), Ned Jarrett (50W, 2C), Fireball Roberts (33W), Jack Roush (108 team wins), Wood Brothers Racing (96 team wins), Tim Brewer (Crew Chief, 53 wins), Kirk Shelmerdine (Crew Chief, four Championships).

Active Drivers:

Jeff Gordon (81W, 4C), Jimmie Johnson (37W, 2C),Tony Stewart (32W, 2C)