CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR champion Dale Jarrett headlined the 25 nominees announced Wednesday for next year’s Hall of Fame class – a list that finally includes track magnate Bruton Smith.
Only five nominees are new to the list, with the other 20 carrying over from last year. Joining Jarrett and Smith as the new nominees were engine builder Maurice Petty, five-time NASCAR weekly series national champion Larry Phillips and 1960 NASCAR champion Rex White. Five people will be selected for induction into the fifth Hall of Fame Class in May 22 voting by a 54-member panel.
The panel will finally get to consider Smith, who many believed had been snubbed by not being among the nominees the past four years.
JOHNSON FEELS WRATH: Jimmie Johnson felt the wrath of the legions of Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans after he won last Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway. They were upset Johnson didn’t slow down and allow Earnhardt to stay on the lead lap after he spun in the fourth turn.
Earnhardt managed to get his car turned in the right direction as Johnson approached the fourth turn, but Johnson didn’t allow Earnhardt to pull away without going a lap behind.
Many fans lashed out at Johnson on Twitter on Monday, prompting a sarcastic response: “You haters have it right. I’m a bad teammate, I have a cheated up car, I’m lucky and the race was fixed.”
COKE AND SMILES: Anyone watching last Sunday’s race had to be amused by the Coca-Cola commercial featuring Tony Stewart, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Danica Patrick, Ryan Newman and Greg Biffle.
Logano, of course, has had issues with Stewart and Hamlin.
Coke posted a new version of the six riding around Charlotte Motor Speedway on YouTube. In the new video, the group is listening to the closing laps of the heated race at Fontana. The soft drink company then said a Coke would help everyone get along.
The drivers didn’t do any new taping for the commercial. Instead they used leftover footage and dubbed in new sound.