It's time for the final International Motorsports Hall of Fame vote of five inductees to go from the 20 who were voted on earlier.
And our job was made easier by the fact four of five of my candidates made the advance from the huge list down to the 20.
Now, the five largest vote-getters will be inducted at Talladega in 2010.
First, here are the twenty who advanced and then my five:
Zora Arkus-Duntov, Erwin "Cannonball" Baker, Gary Bettenhausen, Harold Brasington. Clint Brawner; Pete DePaolo, Rene Dreyfus, Gene Felton, Tommy Hinnershitz, John Holman; Ted Horn, Carl Kiekhafer, Joe Leonard, Tommy Milton, Jan Opperman; Maurice Petty, Brian Redman, Les Richter, Henry Seagrave, Ronnie Sox, Rex White
Now, to our five ballot picks:
Pete DePaolo. - DePaolo jumped into track board racing in 1922, the same year he competed in his first Indianapolis 500. He served as riding mechanic for his uncle, racing great Ralph DePalma. In 1925 he won both the Indianapolis 500 and the AAA championship. He won the AAA crown again in 1927. DePaolo's 101.13 mph average speed in 1925 was the first time the 500 averaged over 100 mph. DePaolo later headed up Ford Motor Company's NASCAR effort in 1955.
Jan Opperman. - In 1971, Opperman, considered one of the best sprint car drivers of all time, nearly won the "Triple Crown" of sprint cars, winning the Knoxville Nationals and the Western World Championships at Manzanita Speedway. In 1974 he won 26 feature events and clinched his only track championship at Selinsgrove. Known primarily as a sprint car driver, Opperman also drove in the USAC Championship Car series, racing in the 1974 and 1976 seasons. He had nine champ car starts, including the 1974 an d 1976 Indianapolis 500 with top five finishes. He also raced motorcycles and midgets. In 1971 he was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in its inaugeral class of 1990.
Brian Redman. - Redman is a driver who has won at some of the most famous races in sports car history, including Nurburgring, Monza and the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring. He won the 1974-1976 U.S Formula 5000 championships as well as the 1981 Camel GT championship. He continues to race and promote vintage/historic races today.
Henry Seagrave. - Seagrave, born in Baltimore, Maryland, but raised in England, was a three-time land speed record holder and a water speed record holder. He was the first person to hold both the land and water speed records simultaneously. He was the first person to travel over 200 mph in a land vehicle, setting the mark in 1927. He was the first Briton to win a Grand Prix in a British car. Seagrave was the first driver to wear a crash helmet. Cloth or leather coverings were used up until that time. The Seagrave Trophy was established in 1930 to commemorate the life of Sir Henry Seagrave and is awarded to the British national who accomplishes the most outstanding demonstration of the possibilities of transport by land, sea, air or water.
Ronnie Sox. - Sox is regarded as one of the greatest four-speed drivers in drag racing history. He was the winningest Pro Stock driver with nine victories in 23 events from 1970-1972. Sox went on to capture five NHRA championships, three consecutive and won more than 59 events. He continued to race in IHRA compeition into the 1990s before making a final return to NHRA ins 1998. Sox holds the No. 15 spot on NHRA's list of Top 50 drivers, 1951-2000.
And some of these names may be on that H of F ballot in coming years, because they figured in third quarter Driver of the Year voting.
You might say it was an upset, but prabably not, because Ron Hornaday won the first four of eight Craftstman Truck competitions in the third quarter to lead the field with 99 points among the voting panel of 20. Top drivers receive points on a 9-6-4-3-2-1 scale
And open wheel racer Ryan Brisco won two events and finished second with 82 points.
NHRA Top Fuel drag racer Antron Brown (63 points) was third in the top six for whom totals are kept
NASCAR's Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin were fourth and fifth with 54 and 46 points, respectively, while NASCAR's Tony Stewart was sixth with 23 points.
Jeff Gordon of NASCAR won the first quarter vote, while Helio Castroneves of IRL was the second quarter winner.
A fourth quarter vote follows, while after the season a separate secret vote is taken to determine the overall winner.
NHRA Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher is the 2009 Driver of the Year.