Hall of Fame Drivers

kkfan91

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Looking at the available drivers to put in the Hall Of Fame, by which I mean I included anyone who won a race which is 191 drivers as of today.

I'm going through this going off current 5 selections a year rule so the first person who says they should change that is getting slapped because it means you didn't read this part of the post and just spouted off your opinion. This is just drivers so no saying this crew chief or that car owner or anything else.

After removing the already inducted drivers from the list. These are the champions not enshrined yet.

Jimmie Johnson
Kyle Busch
Tony Stewart
Kevin Harvick
Matt Kenseth
Kurt Busch
Brad Keselowski
Bobby Labonte
Martin Truex Jr.

All of these are still active or recently retired. All are going to go in I would say.

The next highest driver on the all time wins list without a championship and not inducted is Denny Hamlin who is 25th all time. These are the drivers not in with at least 20 wins.

Denny Hamlin 31
Carl Edwards 28
Dale Earnhardt Jr 26
Jim Paschal 25
Ricky Rudd 23
Jeff Burton 21
Jack Smith 21
Speedy Thompson 20

This takes away the top 41 drivers on the all time wins list. You can make arguments for all of them, lets face it Jr is getting in no matter how much people might complain about it. Jack Smith is a questionable one because from what I have read he had a bit of a racism problem and that doesn't look good when you already put the guy he was racist towards in the Hall.

The other drivers that have at least 10 Cup wins are:

Buddy Baker 19
Greg Biffle 19
Fonty Flock 19
Joey Logano 19
Geoff Bodine 18
Neil Bonnett 18
Harry Gant 18
Kasey Kahne 18
Ryan Newman 18
Marvin Panch 17
Ernie Irvan 15
Dick Hutcherson 14
LeeRoy Yarbrough 14
Dick Rathman 13
Tim Richmond 13
Donnie Allison 10
Clint Bowyer 10
Sterling Marlin 10

This is where the real debates get going I think. You don't have championships, though Logano still has time, but you do have drivers who have won the big ones.

Daytona 500- Marvin Panch, LeeRoy Yarbrough, Buddy Baker, Geoff Bodine, Ernie Irvan, Sterling Marlin twice, Ryan Newman,and Joey Logano.

Brickyard 400- Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne.

Coke 600- Marvin Panch, LeeRoy Yarbrough, Donnie Allison, Buddy Baker, Neil Bonnett, Kasey Kahne 3 times.

Southern 500- LeeRoy Yarbrough, Buddy Baker, Neil Bonnett, Harry Gant, Tim Richmond.

Below the 10 win threshold you get a lot of drivers who won a few times back in the 50s or had a few wins scattered through their careers. You also have some who won a few big races or even just one (Ward Burton, Michael Waltrip, Derrick Cope, Trevor Bayne, Pete Hamilton) These seem like drivers who if they ever get in will be years and years down the road. This of course doesn't take into account drivers who are still early in their careers and it remains to be seen the numbers they put up over their driving careers.

In conclusion this is a long way for me to say Kasey Kahne will be in the Hall of Fame someday so get used to the idea.
 

NJJammer

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IMHO, nobody below 20 wins should be enshrined unless that driver did something incredible or revolutionary, like Alan Kulwicki, Wendell Scott or Red Byron. Just my $0.02.

NASCAR needs to stop devaluing the HOF.
 

LouieLouie

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That's funny, I was just thinking about this the other day, what are the minimum requirements to be considered for the HoF. Not necessarily get in, but at least on the ballet. I thought 20 cup wins was a good start. After that, I don't know what you could measure by. Probably number of top finishes in final season standings.
 

NJJammer

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That's funny, I was just thinking about this the other day, what are the minimum requirements to be considered for the HoF. Not necessarily get in, but at least on the ballet. I thought 20 cup wins was a good start. After that, I don't know what you could measure by. Probably number of top finishes in final season standings.
And let me say, if Danica gets in...it’s a travesty. To compare her situation to Mr. Scott’s is OUTRAGEOUS.
 

Formerjackman

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Just because I'm a glutton for punishment, I'll give my criteria again. 20 wins and a title or 30 wins and no title. I am willing to give some wiggle room with the addition of championships scored in the Xfimity and Truck Series, or for some other extraordinary contribution to the sport. You can honor the hell out of somebody without making them a HoF inductee, and I think THAT is the course that should be and should HAVE been taken in many of these cases. Now that I've said it again, let the character assassination begin. :bigfight:
 

NJJammer

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Just because I'm a glutton for punishment, I'll give my criteria again. 20 wins and a title or 30 wins and no title. I am willing to give some wiggle room with the addition of championships scored in the Xfimity and Truck Series, or for some other extraordinary contribution to the sport. You can honor the hell out of somebody without making them a HoF inductee, and I think THAT is the course that should be and should HAVE been taken in many of these cases. Now that I've said it again, let the character assassination begin. :bigfight:
I agree with your criteria. I wonder what NASCAR will do once all the guys meeting that level are in?
 

kkfan91

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Just because I'm a glutton for punishment, I'll give my criteria again. 20 wins and a title or 30 wins and no title. I am willing to give some wiggle room with the addition of championships scored in the Xfimity and Truck Series, or for some other extraordinary contribution to the sport. You can honor the hell out of somebody without making them a HoF inductee, and I think THAT is the course that should be and should HAVE been taken in many of these cases. Now that I've said it again, let the character assassination begin. :bigfight:
So you knock out a champion in Truex, though I think he gets 20 wins probably by the end of the year, and everyone else but Hamlin due to his 31 wins.
 

NJJammer

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So you knock out a champion in Truex, though I think he gets 20 wins probably by the end of the year, and everyone else but Hamlin due to his 31 wins.
Martin will get there. No guarantees in life but he most likely will. I’d probably make an exception for Richmond as well.
 

kkfan91

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Martin will get there. No guarantees in life but he most likely will. I’d probably make an exception for Richmond as well.
How do you argue making an exception for Richmond. Other then winning races while dying?
 

NJJammer

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How do you argue making an exception for Richmond. Other then winning races while dying?
Just my opinion but sometimes a streaking meteor deserves as much consideration as a compiler. Damn, Hollywood basically made a film about him. Sometimes, it’s impact rather than longevity. Again, just my opinion.
 

LewTheShoe

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I'm going through this going off current 5 selections a year rule so the first person who says they should change that is getting slapped because it means you didn't read this part of the post and just spouted off your opinion. This is just drivers so no saying this crew chief or that car owner or anything else.
OK, I guess I get slapped, because your "rule" of 5 cup winners per year is bogus. There have never been 5 in any year, and the average has been about half that many. So the conclusions are a bit shaky, IMO. In addition, the rule of 5 inductions per year from all corners of the Nascar world is not likely to go on forever... so slap me again..:idunno:
 

kkfan91

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OK, I guess I get slapped, because your "rule" of 5 cup winners per year is bogus. There have never been 5 in any year, and the average has been about half that many. So the conclusions are a bit shaky, IMO. In addition, the rule of 5 inductions per year from all corners of the Nascar world is not likely to go on forever... so slap me again..:idunno:
I meant as in not changing from the current 5 people a year. Not start picking 5 drivers a year.
 

Greg

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Based on the current stats without projected future accomplishments I would be okay with some exceptions.

LeeRoy Yarbrough, Geoff Bodine, Danny Hamlin, Tim Richmond, Truax and Edward's.

I would also add RFs @Rick a two time RFYFL champion.

As for drivers with the stats I would have the most reservations about Kurt Busch.
 

Hawaii808

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It's the Hall of FAME, not the hall of champions. So with that in mind, Junior is a lock.
 

Formerjackman

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Just my opinion but sometimes a streaking meteor deserves as much consideration as a compiler. Damn, Hollywood basically made a film about him. Sometimes, it’s impact rather than longevity. Again, just my opinion.
See, I have a problem with that. I was a big Richmond fan going back to his rookie run at Indy, but let's be honest. As far as NASCAR goes, he was spectacular for a little over one half of one season. Other than that, he made more heat than light. A LOT of potential and VERY entertaining, but not a lot of results, and he had but one marquee win (86' Southern 500). If he had just quit instead of having a tragic death, I don't think ANYBODY would consider him a Hall of Famer.
 

Formerjackman

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So you knock out a champion in Truex, though I think he gets 20 wins probably by the end of the year, and everyone else but Hamlin due to his 31 wins.
I wouldn't have any problem leaving out Truex, especially since his era of excellence is so small compared to his era of mediocrity, but I think he'll meet my criteria soon enough anyway. It would pain me to put Hamlin in, because I think his failures come to mind faster than his successes, but I set my standards long ago, and I'll stick with them. I'm inclined to cut Edwards some slack, because of his large number of wins and championship in Xfinity, and his multiple Cup championship near misses.
 

joe h

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2 Daytona 500 wins, 2 season championships, or 1 of each, then you can enter the discussion.
 

NJJammer

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See, I have a problem with that. I was a big Richmond fan going back to his rookie run at Indy, but let's be honest. As far as NASCAR goes, he was spectacular for a little over one half of one season. Other than that, he made more heat than light. A LOT of potential and VERY entertaining, but not a lot of results, and he had but one marquee win (86' Southern 500). If he had just quit instead of having a tragic death, I don't think ANYBODY would consider him a Hall of Famer.
Fair points.
 

NJJammer

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2 Daytona 500 wins, 2 season championships, or 1 of each, then you can enter the discussion.
The Daytona and Talledega races are the biggest crapshoot races there are. Such a luck lottery that I personally believe they don’t carry much weight anymore in the post-plate era.

That’s from someone who’s very first live race attended was the “Pothole 500” won by McMurray in February 2010 at Daytona.
 

BradBlaney

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I wouldn't have any problem leaving out Truex, especially since his era of excellence is so small compared to his era of mediocrity, but I think he'll meet my criteria soon enough anyway. It would pain me to put Hamlin in, because I think his failures come to mind faster than his successes, but I set my standards long ago, and I'll stick with them. I'm inclined to cut Edwards some slack, because of his large number of wins and championship in Xfinity, and his multiple Cup championship near misses.
I think Truex is in. Yeah he's gone from bust to a great three years, but he has back to back Busch titles and a cup championship. It's a good story that he went from hotshoe that didn't live up to expectations to top three driver late in his career.

I think they'll also consider the fact his first two organizations DEI and MWR ended up failing.
 
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NJJammer

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I think Truex is in. Yeah he's gone from bust to a great three years, but he has back to back Busch titles and a cup championship. It's a good story that he went from hotshoe that didn't live up to expectations to top three driver late in his career.

I think they'll also consider the fact his first two organizations DEI and MWR ended up failing.
Two Busch Championships and a Cup title gets him in. He’s not done yet.
 

Formerjackman

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I think Truex is in. Yeah he's gone from bust to a great three years, but he has back to back Busch titles and a cup championship. It's a good story that he went from hotshoe that didn't live up to expectations to top three driver late in his career.

I think they'll also consider the fact his first two organizations DEI and MWR ended up failing.
Yeah, I'll adjust my comments a little bit. The two Busch titles would pretty much put him over the top now, I am just wary of assigning HoF status to people who's body of excellence is over such a short period of time. There were those that argued that Sandy Koufax shouldn't be in the Baseball Hall of fame because while he had a twelve year career, only six of them were any good, and those that argued that Terrell Davis shouldn't be in the Football Hall of Fame because while his career was so good, it was also VERY short. Overall, I just think we are TOO eager to throw around HoF status, which only serves to diminish the value.
 

Charlie Spencer

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"Hey, honey? Would you put my 10-foot pole back in the attic, please? I won't be needing it for this one. Thanks, you're the best!"
 

Formerjackman

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Carl Edwards is basically the cut off point. He's right on the edge. He should either be the last driver in or the last one left out.
I'd give him the benefit of the doubt. He's a heartbeat away from being a three time Cup champion.
 

Bowman The Showman

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You have to leave a mark inside the sport. Dale jr being as popular as he was in my opinion stands out more than a great driver like Hamlin, Edwards, etc who was/is no doubt great and won many races.

I think in most cases I think of a driver winning a cup championship is a starting point for the majority.

Guys like Hamlin and all they will be relevant to us for sure, but as time goes on... what else did they really do to keep people talking about them? Those “almost” championship seasons only matter for so long.
 

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Dale Jr is borderline, probably in in my mind because of the two Busch titles and the Daytona 500 wins. I don't put a lot a stock in the Most Popular Driver thing. I think he probably WAS for some parts of his career, but certainly not all. His Dad clearly WAS for many years and Didn't win it, Elliott wasn't and did, and Jeff Gordon would have been for some years but didn't win either. The whole process is/was flawed enough to make it pointless. Elliott and Dale Jr. won so many because they were the only ones with an organized fan base that made it their MISSION to get that title for their driver.
 

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They've put in so many people so fast that some fringe people will have to be put in to have a full class.
 

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See, I have a problem with that. I was a big Richmond fan going back to his rookie run at Indy, but let's be honest. As far as NASCAR goes, he was spectacular for a little over one half of one season. Other than that, he made more heat than light. A LOT of potential and VERY entertaining, but not a lot of results, and he had but one marquee win (86' Southern 500). If he had just quit instead of having a tragic death, I don't think ANYBODY would consider him a Hall of Famer.
Of Allison, Irvan, Kulwicki and Richmond who was the "better" driver? IMO, Allison or Irvan would have had the better careers had fate not changed things. Allison was forever set with Yates it seemed while Irvan had a little of the Earnhardt/Kyle Busch gene in him. I think Kulwicki's tough to get along with personality would have cost him as the sport grew more corporate. Irvan was bit prickly too but not in a way Kulwicki was. Richmond was an unbelievable talent but he never won a 500 or championship like the others.
 

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Allison had youth on his side, and had what we can reasonably assume would have been a very stable team situation going forward, but already the 1993 season up until his death had been a HUGE disappointment. Was it championship loss hangover, or the effects of a brutal couple seasons behind the wheel catching up with the driver? Irvan definitely matured a LOT by the time he was named as Davey's replacement, and the sample we got of the RYR/Irvan/McReynolds combination up until Ernie's near fatal crash certainly hinted at coming greatness, but there again, less than one full season is a pretty small sample. We'll never know just how much the accident took out of Ernie. He was amazingly good afterwards considering the circumstances, but never really the same. Was it the accident, or just Ernie returning to a more realistic career arc? As impressive as Kulwicki's 1992 championship was, I look at it as a real anomaly that should not have happened then, and would never have happened again. 1992 was a freak season that saw two of the sports biggest stars (Earnhardt and Wallace) have their worst seasons of the whole decade. The 11 team just flat out choked, and the 28 team was besieged with violent crashes, and the death of the Davey's brother, which left them with a physically and mentally beat up driver, and yet only a freak accident not of their own making cost them the title. Within two more years, no single car team would ever win another title, and only one driver owned car would win a Cup race. When you look at the rapid expansion of NASCAR, multi-car teams and the exponential growth of sponsor budgets that would take place the rest of the decade, it's hard to see how Kulwicki's preferred method of operation could succeed much longer. Perhaps he could have transitioned into a modern Cup team, but it seems likely it would have had to been as solely a car owner, not a driver. Would Richmond's run of success have continued? We know that Harry Hyde was already growing weary of first the two car, and then three car operation at Hendrick, and would soon transition himself right out of the company. We also know that other than Waltrip's VERY strong 1989 season, and Ricky Rudd's successful but unspectacular 1992 season, HMS wouldn't produce another truly great season for ANY of it's drivers and teams until Jeff Gordon's 1995 championship season, a decade after Richmond took the world by storm. Hyde had a way of getting and keeping Richmond focused on the race car, but with Tim's quirky personality and varied interests, for how much longer, and would any other crew chief have been able to duplicate that? Richmond's record would tend to indicate early success in a new situation, and then a tapering off, and that combined with Hendrick's struggle to perfect the multi-car team, and an aging Harry Hyde would seem to point to a future that would have been a whole LOT less great than everybody wants to assume. Thoughts?
 

Greg

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Allison had youth on his side, and had what we can reasonably assume would have been a very stable team situation going forward, but already the 1993 season up until his death had been a HUGE disappointment. Was it championship loss hangover, or the effects of a brutal couple seasons behind the wheel catching up with the driver? Irvan definitely matured a LOT by the time he was named as Davey's replacement, and the sample we got of the RYR/Irvan/McReynolds combination up until Ernie's near fatal crash certainly hinted at coming greatness, but there again, less than one full season is a pretty small sample. We'll never know just how much the accident took out of Ernie. He was amazingly good afterwards considering the circumstances, but never really the same. Was it the accident, or just Ernie returning to a more realistic career arc? As impressive as Kulwicki's 1992 championship was, I look at it as a real anomaly that should not have happened then, and would never have happened again. 1992 was a freak season that saw two of the sports biggest stars (Earnhardt and Wallace) have their worst seasons of the whole decade. The 11 team just flat out choked, and the 28 team was besieged with violent crashes, and the death of the Davey's brother, which left them with a physically and mentally beat up driver, and yet only a freak accident not of their own making cost them the title. Within two more years, no single car team would ever win another title, and only one driver owned car would win a Cup race. When you look at the rapid expansion of NASCAR, multi-car teams and the exponential growth of sponsor budgets that would take place the rest of the decade, it's hard to see how Kulwicki's preferred method of operation could succeed much longer. Perhaps he could have transitioned into a modern Cup team, but it seems likely it would have had to been as solely a car owner, not a driver. Would Richmond's run of success have continued? We know that Harry Hyde was already growing weary of first the two car, and then three car operation at Hendrick, and would soon transition himself right out of the company. We also know that other than Waltrip's VERY strong 1989 season, and Ricky Rudd's successful but unspectacular 1992 season, HMS wouldn't produce another truly great season for ANY of it's drivers and teams until Jeff Gordon's 1995 championship season, a decade after Richmond took the world by storm. Hyde had a way of getting and keeping Richmond focused on the race car, but with Tim's quirky personality and varied interests, for how much longer, and would any other crew chief have been able to duplicate that? Richmond's record would tend to indicate early success in a new situation, and then a tapering off, and that combined with Hendrick's struggle to perfect the multi-car team, and an aging Harry Hyde would seem to point to a future that would have been a whole LOT less great than everybody wants to assume. Thoughts?
I agree with your assessment of 1992. But that makes me respect Kulwicki more. I can't think of a more accomplished moment than getting every thing out of his more limited resources and options.
I could simply say he made the most of opportunities, but that just doesn't do justice to the magnitude. It transcended a Hall of Fame accomplishment in my opinion.

Just for contrast we could say Earnhardt Jr will get in with stats that are debatable. He only becomes a sure thing when one considers all of the other value he represents to Nascar. I realize Kulwicki and Dale Jr are very different I am just adding that thought to demonstrate some context matters.

It isn't just 1992, it is all that led up to it, and what he built in the Winston Cup series almost from scratch. If that story had been scripted for a movie, it would have been more of a good fantasy story than a serious realistic plot. Because anybody that knows racing knew that it just couldn't be done.

How many dreamers are there that have lived through the week hoping they would have gas and tire money to race on Saturday night, not to mention all of the other unplanned costly setbacks. Anyone who has ever done it knows the insanity, and the personal cost.
Kulwicki didn't have to race that way in old ASA days. But he went into the Winston Cup Series with those struggles.

Then there is leaving Dover 278 points behind Elliott with only six races remaining. Basically 2+ points races behind Elliot and an entire race behind Allison. The story still amazes me, I am thankful I got to see two of those last six races. I think it is one of the best racing stories ever, maybe the best.
I am glad I got see to him in ASA cars too, the build up and finale exceeds my writing.
 

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I think if wins or championships were the deciding factors on who gets in, then why have some of the inductees never won a race or Championship in the Cup series? But I think most were inducted because of the impact they have had on the sport. Even though I wasn't impressed with Danica's driving skills, I think she should be among the members, and possibly Bubba Wallace. Not totally because of their driving skills, but for their encouragement of diversity in the sport. I'd even like to see more areas opened up in the HOF for those other than drivers who have made an impact on the sport like pit crew members, announcers, sponsors, and all who have contributed to making this sport great. I personally would like to see Barney Hall inducted, I always considered him the voice of NASCAR for years before racing became televised. But I do feel like in order to keep the integrity of the HOF you have to set limits and some who have made impacts are going to be left out. But I'm just thankful that instead of having to rely on the HOF, I have the net that I can find many stories and videos of drivers who have made NASCAR the no.1 sport in my opinion.
 

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Some people have a lot of spare time on their hands to be able to post booklets of their thoughts on here. :confused::confused: :rolleyes:
 

TexasRaceLady

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Within two more years, no single car team would ever win another title, and only one driver owned car would win a Cup race. When you look at the rapid expansion of NASCAR, multi-car teams and the exponential growth of sponsor budgets that would take place the rest of the decade, it's hard to see how Kulwicki's preferred method of operation could succeed much longer. Perhaps he could have transitioned into a modern Cup team, but it seems likely it would have had to been as solely a car owner, not a driver. Thoughts?
I agree with your assessment of 1992. But that makes me respect Kulwicki more. I can't think of a more accomplished moment than getting every thing out of his more limited resources and options.
I could simply say he made the most of opportunities, but that just doesn't do justice to the magnitude. It transcended a Hall of Fame accomplishment in my opinion.

Then there is leaving Dover 278 points behind Elliott with only six races remaining. Basically 2+ points races behind Elliot and an entire race behind Allison. The story still amazes me, I am thankful I got to see two of those last six races. I think it is one of the best racing stories ever, maybe the best.
I am glad I got see to him in ASA cars too, the build up and finale exceeds my writing.
Enjoyed reading both of you.
Formerjackman --- your question about Alan's ability to transition to the multiple car team made me stop and think. I don't think I realized how quickly the owner/driver combination came to an end. I don't know that he would have wanted to give up driving, but then again, who knows.
Greg --- I agree that what Alan did with just 6 races remaining was almost super-human. Had it not been for the troubles the other 2 had, who knows what would have been the outcome.
 

DaBiff1618

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You guys have to remember it’s the NASCAR hall of fame, not just the sprint cup hall of fame. So Greg Biffle will be in with 19 Cup wins, runner up points finish in 2005, and Xfinity and Trucks titles. To me, the cutoff point is Kahne and Newman. I’d put them in, albeit barely and nothing below that should warrant consideration if we’re looking at the Cup side. Newman and Kahne were very competitive guys just below the elite level for many years, and the former won the Brickyard and the Daytona 500, and is one of the best qualifiers in Cup history. Newman also has a runner up points finish albeit a fluke in 2014 lol
 
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