Veteran sports writer Jim Utter covers NASCAR for The Charlotte Observer and its racing site, ThatsRacin.com. In this space, Jim writes about all things NASCAR and other forms of racing which may also be relevant ... or not.
There has been much discussion about next year’s NASCAR Hall of Fame class, but I couldn't disagree more with the theory that it doesn’t matter when anyone is inducted, just that they are.
If that were really true, why are five inducted at a time? If it doesn’t matter who is first and who is last, then why not induct everyone considered worthy in the very first class?
The reason is simple: It does matter. It matters to those who do and who do not get in, and it matters to the folks who run the place, whether it’s to sell tickets or get more exposure.
There's an old addage in journalism: If you aren't first, you're last. Why? Because people remember who is first; people remember who found out first, got in first, did the first of something. There's a similar phrase used in racing: Second is the first loser.
While in a perfect world it would nice to believe over the course of history of the NASCAR Hall everyone will be held in the same high regard as the first group inducted, the truth is that isn't so.
Argue about why one nominee got in before another, argue over the process, argue over whether some have been left off the list entirely. But please, don't tell me it doesn't matter when someone gets in.
I’m still waiting for any of those who believe that to volunteer to be the last one inducted.