The NASCAR Hall of Fame inducts Buddy Baker, Joe Gibbs, Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart and Waddell Wilson today. Notable stars of the sport comprise every class, but this class has something rare: An inductee recognized for his contributions as a crew chief.
That would be Wilson, in case you weren’t sure.
I’ve argued before that some really good crew chiefs with records comparable to (or better than) drivers are overdue for induction. The majority of these folks haven’t been nominated.
I know: Some aren’t yet eligible because they’re still active. And Jeff Hammond just hopped right back up on the pit box for 2020. Given that, for the last couple of decades at least, there’s been one crew chief for each driver, the number of crew chief nominations is sorely lacking.
I categorized the nominees according to the Hall of Fame’s website. I might quibble with a couple of them, but it’s a uniform way to do the analysis.
Despite everyone saying that ‘NASCAR is a team sport’, drivers overwhelmingly dominate the nominations. We’re still honoring many of the early participants, when there weren’t clear-cut lines between jobs, but after ten years, it’s time to try to even out the members.
Here’s my argument for worthy Crew Chiefs who deserve to be considered. Let’s hope some of them get a nod when the next round of nominations come out.