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Yarborough tops 2012 Hall class

Congratulations to Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Inman, Richie Evans and Glen Wood.

They are in the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2012 that was announced Tuesday at the Hall in Charlotte.

Yarborough was the first driver to win three consecutive NASCAR premier series championships, and Waltrip has 84 series victories, tying him for third in the history of the sport. Inman was a top crew chief who won 193 races, Evans was a star on the modified cars circuit and Wood is the patriarch of the famous Wood Brothers team.

Waltrip, always an outgoing personality, bounced onto the stage and kissed NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France after his name was announced.

Yarborough captured 85 percent of the vote, followed by Waltrip (82 percent), Inman (78 percent), Evans (50 percent) and Wood (44 percent). Also receiving votes were Jerry Cook, Cotton Owens, Raymond Parks and Herb Thomas.

The five inductees came from a group of 25 nominees.

Gordon bounces back: Jeff Gordon off the radar? Well, yes. Stuff happens. Gordon began the Cup season with a winless streak of 66 starts.

But now he has two victories after finishing first at Pocono. He is 11th in the standings and in excellent position to qualify for the Chase and make a run at his fifth title. He hasn't been champion since 2001, thanks in large measure to the dominance of Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson.

"It happens," Gordon said after winning at Pocono. "It doesn't matter if it's your teammate, your friend, or another competitor. I think you go through cycles in life, just like you do in your workplace. To me, I don't want to say it has been a down cycle. It could be a whole lot worse.

"Life is pretty darn good for me. We were living at the peak of the mountain there for a number of years. When you're there, you know you're going to get knocked off eventually; you can't always stay on top. I think you work harder, you appreciate it more. It means more to you when you get back."

Bad spot for JJ: Who is going to win this week at Michigan? Probably not Johnson. He hasn't won at Michigan International Speedway in 18 Cup appearances. It is one of the four Sprint Cup tracks where he has failed to win. The others? Chicagoland, Homestead and Watkins Glen.

George Diaz

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