Starting this year, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame will begin allowing members of NASCAR and Formula 1 to be voted in if they “have made major contributions to auto racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
The ballots, which were submitted last month, can now include drivers who have never competed in the Indy 500. NASCAR analyst Robin Miller, of Racer.com, had some sharp words for IMS and said allowing them to be voted in is “spitting in the face of tradition.
“Digest that for a minute,” Miller wrote. “The most famous race track in the world, whose reputation was cemented by 100 years of blood, sweat and tears every May, is now sharing its heritage and place of honor with two groups that had nothing to do with the Speedway’s mystique, success or popularity.”
Miller pointed out that the NASCAR Hall of Fame doesn’t allow IndyCar drivers to be voted in — and that’s how it should be.
So why should IMS allow NASCAR and F1 drivers into its HOF?
“You want to honor Jeff Gordon for five Brickyard 400 wins or Michael Schumacher for his five F1 triumphs at IMS? Then build a couple statues inside the IMS museum,” Miller said. “But don’t mess with history.”
It’s easy to see where Miller is coming from here. When IMS hosts the Indy 500 every May, it’s one of the most popular racing events of the year throughout the world.
But it’s hard to justify not letting NASCAR or F1 drivers into the HOF if they made significant contributions at IMS.
Jeff Gordon should be in that Hall of Fame for his success at the track. So should Michael Schumacher. Miller makes a compelling argument, but some drivers are worthy of being inducted into that Hall of Fame. Maybe they deserve a separate wing, but they still belong if they made worthwhile contributions.