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The Biggest 2023 NASCAR Hall of Fame Snubs

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NASCAR announced their Hall of Fame ballot today, and some incredibly deserving candidates were selected today including, Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus, Donnie Allison, and Landmark Award Winner Janet Guthrie. This is not an indictment on those who were elected today, as they were all incredibly deserving. Rather, it is to highlight those who deserve to be in, but there just is too little room.

Modern Era Ballot: Tim Brewer

Tim Brewer won 53 races and two Championships on top of the pit box. He was the crew chief for Cale Yarborough’s 1978 championship season, and Brewer stayed with Junior Johnson into 1981 as the duo of Brewer and Darrell Waltrip won 12 races and the Cup Series Championship. Brewer worked with and won races with other drivers such as Terry Labonte, Geoffrey Bodine, Bill Elliott, and Tim Richmond.

Everywhere Tim Brewer went, he won. He worked with some of the most respected organizations and drivers in the sports history. The reason, he was one of the best crew chiefs of his generation.

Pioneer Ballot: Banjo Matthews

Banjo Matthews was arguably the greatest car builder in NASCAR history. According to the Motorsports Hall of Fame, Matthews cars that he built won 262 of 362 between 1974 and 1985. He also was the car builder for Cale Yarborough’s three Championships winning seasons in 1976, 1977, and 1978.

He was the reason that many cars were able to get on the race track during this time period. It’s a true shame that there is only one spot on the Pioneer ballot for the NASCAR Hall of Fame because Banjo Matthews truly deserves that kind of recognition.

Modern Era Ballot: Harry Gant

“Handsome” Harry Gant is one of NASCAR’s most interesting stories. The driver of the iconic, green, number 33 Oldsmobile is the oldest race winner in NASCAR history. While many modern drivers would be thinking about retirement, Gant was just starting out.

He had a best career points finish of second in 1984, but his greatest accomplishment came in 1991. In 1991, he won four races in a row at Darlington, Richmond, Dover, and Martinsville. He also led 350 laps the next week at North Wilkesboro, but he finished second as he barely missed out on five in a row. His story alone is Hall of Fame worthy.

Pioneer Ballot: A.J. Foyt

Sure, A.J. Foyt spent most of his career in IndyCar, but, when he raced in NASCAR he was nothing short of spectacular. He won five of his seven races for one of NASCAR’s most iconic teams, The Wood Brothers. Not only did he win, he won in the sports biggest race, the 1972 Daytona 500.

One can only imagine what Foyt could have done had he run in NASCAR more consistently. He won on the sports biggest stage, and he won seven times in 128 starts for a 5.4% winning percentage. That is better than Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt Jr. (4.1%) and Bobby Labonte (2.9%).

Modern Era Ballot: Neil Bonnett

Neil Bonnett was not only a great driver, but he was also a great contributor to the sport. He won 18 career races in 362 starts for a 4.9% winning percentage, and he was a member of the famed “Alabama Gang”. After his driving career was done, he became a broadcaster for TNN.

Bonnett contributed to the sport in multiple different ways, and he was a great driver on top of that. If had run full-time earlier in his career, maybe he would have gotten a Championship. That Championship would have put him in easily, but, for now, he will have to wait.

It’s just sad that there are only a few spots available in the Hall of Fame every year. Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus, and Donnie Allison are merely the best of a great class. Maybe next year some of these deserving candidates will have their moment in the sun.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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