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Lee Petty and Harry Gant to be honored: Lee Petty and Harry Gant will have N.C. Auto Racing Hall Of Fame in-ground plaques dedicated to the two NASCAR legends in an Oct. 8 ceremony in Mooresville, NC. The late Lee Petty, a Randleman, N.C. native, won 54 races in his 16-year career in what is now known as NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. He will be represented by his son, Richard Petty, at the ceremony. Lee Petty was known as a hard charger who had a "never-give-up" driving style and one who never backed down from a challenge.
Harry Gant, from Taylorsville, N.C. won over 300 races in the NASCAR Sportsman (Nationwide) series and three NASCAR National Sportsman titles before turning his sights on what was the Winston Cup Series in 1979. "Handsome" Harry won 18 races in his 15-year Cup career, including four races in a row in September 1991, plus two more in the then-Busch Series, to earn another nickname, "Mr. September." Gant holds the record as the oldest driver at age 52, to ever win a Cup race, in 1992 at the Michigan 400. He was also voted as one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers. Gant and his family will be in attendance.
Don Miller, the Chairman of the Board for the N.C. Auto Racing Hall of Fame is ecstatic about of the up and coming event. "I am very pleased to be able to resume our celebration of the rich racing history here in North Carolina and specifically in Mooresville. The N.C. Auto Racing Hall of Fame celebrates its 20th year, honoring the finest drivers in all of motorsports and the Walk of Fame expands its role for the fifth year." said Miller. "Mooresville, is the absolute center of the sport of auto racing and the home of many of its famous personalities. We need to preserve this heritage." Open to the public, the dedication of the Petty and Gants in-ground plaques will be held outside the Charles Mack Citizen Center on the Walk of Fame located at 215 N. Main St. in historic downtown Mooresville. from 4-5 pm/et.(NSSN)(9-26-2014)
Rusty Wallace inducted in Motorsports Hall of Fame of America: Former NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace was one of seven men inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America on Wednesday. Wallace made his debut on the top circuit in 1980 in a Roger Penske-owned car and joined the series full-time in 1984. His first victories came in 1986 with Raymond Beadle's Blue Max Racing team and he won the 1989 Sprint Cup championship after holding off Dale Earnhardt. Wallace moved to Penske's team in 1991 and ran the final 15 years of his career for the car owner, who presented him for induction Wednesday. Wallace finished his career with 55 wins - 37 with Penske - and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2013. Five of those victories came at Michigan International Speedway, once owned by Penske. Arie Luyendyk, who began racing on the IndyCar circuit in 1985 and won the Indianapolis 500 in 1990 and `97, also was inducted. The remaining members of the class - Ole Bardahl, founder of the Bardahl Oil Company that has sponsored entries in a variety of motorsports; IMSA founder John Bishop; three-time American Motorcyclist Association grand national champion Ricky Graham; and NASCAR pioneer Marshall Teague - are dead.(Associated Press)(8-7-2014)
Rusty Wallace to join Watkins Glen Walk of Fame: Auto racing legend Rusty Wallace will be inducted into the Watkins Glen Drivers Walk of Fame during a ceremony at 4:30pm Friday. The Rusty Wallace marker in the Drivers Walk of Fame is located in the sidewalk front of Unique Country Boutique, 212 N. Franklin St. in Watkins Glen. Wallace, who retired in 2005, had a career that included 55 NASCAR championship event victories, the 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup championship, the 1991 IROC Championship and the 1983 American Speed Association Championship. He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in February 2013. The Drivers Walk of Fame, located in the sidewalks of Watkins Glen, honors the drivers who have competed in Watkins Glen events since the first race in 1948.(Elmira Star-Gazette)(8-6-2014)
Jim France and Don Panoz to be honored: Two motorsport icons instrumental in the preservation and expansion of road racing in North America will be honored during the 26th Annual Motorsports Hall of Fame of America’s (MSHFA) Induction Ceremony on Aug. 6 at The Fillmore Detroit. Jim France and Don Panoz will receive the Bob Russo Heritage Award in recognition of their long-term support of sports car racing in North America and their effort to bring about the landmark merger of GRAND-AM Road Racing (GRAND-AM) and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). On Sept. 5, 2012 it was announced the two series would merge to form the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship for the 2014 season with the unified series sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). The award, named in honor of the long-time motorsports journalist and historian, is presented at the recommendation of the MSHFA Board of Directors in recognition of the recipient’s contributions to motorsports throughout their career.
“To recognize two sports car racing icons with the Bob Russo Heritage Award is a tremendous honor,” said Ron Watson, president of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. “Their names are synonymous with sports car racing in North America. Through GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series they established a firm foundation and have assured the future with the merger into the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.”
France launched the Grand American Road Racing Association as the sanctioning body for various forms of road racing in North America. The announcement was made in 1999 with the first race in 2000. It served as the governing entity for five series including the Rolex Sports Car Series and its premier event, the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Panoz founded the American Le Mans Series with the objective of bringing European-style endurance sports car racing to North America. A partnership with the Automobile Club de I’Ouest (ACO) allowed ALMS teams to earn automatic entries in the Le Mans 24 Hours. The announcement was made in 1998 and got its official start with the 1999 season. Both France and Panoz serve on the board for IMSA.
The 2014 class that will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 6 include Ole Bardahl, Raymond Beadle, John Bishop, Ricky Graham, Arie Luyendyk, Marshall Teague and Rusty Wallace. In January, it was announced that the Hall of Fame will be relocating to the grounds of Daytona International Speedway, the World Center of Racing, by 2016. Tickets for the induction ceremony can be purchased by calling 1-248-349-RACE (7223).(MSHFA)(7-10-2014)
Ganassi, McElreath, Mehl, Rahal, Simpson to be inducted into Auto Racing Hall of Fame: The five 2014 Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductees who will be honored on Thursday night, May 22, as part of the annual Indianapolis 500 Oldtimers dinner at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Indianapolis are as diverse as any class in recent history. And with A.J. Foyt being recognized for not only his four Indianapolis 500 wins but his win 50 years ago in the 1964 Indy 500, it is sure to be an exciting and memorable evening. The five 2014 Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductees are Chip Ganassi, Jimmy McElreath, Leo Mehl, Bobby Rahal and Bill Simpson. The first induction class was recognized in 1952, and there are now 148 members in this elite fraternity. The Auto Racing Hall of Fame is located at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. A very limited number of tickets for the event are still available. If interested, contact Ellen Bireley (317) 492-6784.(IMS)(5-20-2104)
Roush Leads Kentucky HoF Inductees: One of the most successful team owners in all of motorsports, a legendary car show promoter and some of Louisville ‘s most successful short track oval racers will be part of the 2014 class of the Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame.
The seventh annual induction ceremony will be held in October at the SpeedZeum inside the Owensboro Museum of Science and History in downtown Owensboro. Topping the class of 2014 is Covington native Jack Roush, whose motorsports career has spanned the upper echelon of NASCAR, drag racing, sports car racing and automotive aftermarket engineering and development.
Other members of this year’s class include: Carl Casper and Chub Lorah of Louisville, promoters of the annual Carl Casper custom car show in Louisville; V.V. Cooke race team, a Louisville-based oval racing team; Hal Miller, of Owensboro , who built and promoted the first oval race track and drag strip in Owensboro; Bob Taylor of Louisville , a nationally recognized show car builder, painter and pin-stripe artist; Chuck Winders of Louisville, the most successful driver in the history of the former Louisville Motor Speedway. In addition, this year the Hall of Fame will present only its third Pioneer Award to Tony Schiller of Frankfort.(National Speed Sport News)(5-17-2014)
Eli Gold to be inducted in Alabama Sports Hall of Fame: Veteran Motor Racing Network broadcaster Eli Gold will be honored later this month with induction into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. In addition to being one of the most recognizable announcers in MRN's award-winning lineup of motor sports professionals, Gold has been the play-by-play voice of University of Alabama football since 1988. Gold - a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. - started in the sports broadcasting field in 1972. In a career now spanning five decades, he's done play-by-play for a number of hockey teams including the Birmingham Bulls, St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators; as well as a four-year stint as the play-by-play announcer for the Birmingham Barons baseball team. He joined the Motor Racing Network in 1976 and began his current tenure as the voice of Crimson Tide football 12 years later. In that role, Gold has been named Alabama Sportscaster of the year four times. The induction ceremony for the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2014 will take place on Saturday, May 17, in Birmingham.(Motor Racing Network)(5-8-2014)
Joie Chitwood III to be Honorary Chairman of the 2014 MSHFA Induction Ceremony: Joie Chitwood III, president of Daytona International Speedway, will be the honorary chairman of the 26th Annual Motorsports Hall of Fame of America's Induction Ceremony to take place August 6 at The Fillmore Theater in Detroit. His grandfather, historic open-wheel race car driver and legendary showman Joie Chitwood, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. In January, it was announced that the Hall of Fame will be relocating to the grounds of the Daytona International Speedway by 2016.(MSHFA)(5-1-2014)
Richard Petty Museum completes move back to Level Cross: Richard Petty is going back home to Level Cross, N.C. - the Richard Petty Museum, that is. Ribbon cutting ceremonies and an open house will take place Wednesday evening at the Petty compound in Level Cross. The relocated museum holds much of what NASCAR's winningest driver has ever won or achieved in his legendary career. It will now be housed in the site of the original Petty Enterprises and Petty Engineering facilities, the same facility where The King developed many of the cars that led him to a record seven Grand National and Winston Cup championships and 200 career wins. The Petty museum has been housed in nearby Randleman, N.C. since 2003. But a few years ago, it was decided to bring it back within the Petty family compound in Level Cross, where it began in 1988 by Richard's wife Lynda. The team's performance headquarters, Richard Petty Motorsports, will remain in Concord, N.C.(NBC Sports)(3-10-2014)
NMPA inducts Hall of Fame members: Mario Andretti, the only driver to win the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500 and the Formula One world championship, headlines this year's class of inductees for the National Motorsports Press Association NASCAR Hall of Fame. Joining Andretti are Ray Evernham, a championship-winning crew chief and former NASCAR team owner, and award-winning journalist Steve Waid. The three were officially inducted into the Hall on Saturday evening.
Andretti was named on 80 percent of the ballots cast by the NMPA membership, Evernham 75 percent and Waid 67 percent. Receiving votes but not named on the required 65 percent minimum for induction were team owner Joe Gibbs and former Busch Series competitor L.D. Ottinger. The NMPA Hall of Fame is located on the grounds of Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The first class was inducted in 1965, and this year's group brings its membership total to 94.(NASCAR.com)(1-27-2014)
Finalists Named for 2014 International Motorsports Hall of Fame: The renowned International Motorsports Hall of Fame, located in Talladega, AL, announced its 22 finalists for the 2014 induction class. The list of finalists reads like a “Who’s Who” across numerous forms of motorsports which include open wheel, sports car, drag and stock car racing. The top 20 and ties (as is the case this year) will be on the second ballot to an esteemed motorsports media voting panel. The panel will select the final individuals who receive 51 percent of the total number of votes to be the 2014 induction class. Those names will be announced in December. The 2014 International Motorsports Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, May 1. To be eligible for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, an individual must be retired in his or her line of work in motorsports for at least five years. However, that person may still be active in the sport in a different capacity. The 22 individuals eligible for the 2104 International Motorsports Hall of Fame are listed alphabetically, along with a quick description:
• Michael Andretti – Winningest driver in CART with 42 triumphs & the 1991 CART Championship
• Raymond Beadle – 3-time NHRA Funny Car Champion (1979-81) & 3-time IHRA Funny Car Titlist (1975-76, ’81); NASCAR Championship team owner with driver Rusty Wallace in 1989
• Keith Black – Winning engine builder/engineer in drag and boat racing, setting several world speed records
• Harold Brasington – Creator/builder of NASCAR’s original superspeedway – Darlington Raceway – as well as Rockingham Speedway
• Clint Brawner – Chief mechanic for Mario Andretti’s USAC National titles in 1965, ’66 & ‘69
• Joie Chitwood – 1939-40 AAA East Coast Sprint Car Champion; Noted safety advocate
• Harvey Firestone – Founder of Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
• Tommy Hinnershitz – Seven AAA National Sprint Car Championships
• David Hobbs – Sports Car racer who set four all-time Continental Formula records
• Ted Horn – Three consecutive AAA National titles (1946-48) with 12 wins
• Connie Kalitta – 10-time NHRA National event winner. First driver over 200 mph in Hot Rod race
• Joe Leonard – Won titles in both motorcycle (AMA) in 1956-57 and car series (Indy Car) in 1971-72
• Roger McCluskey – Won titles in three divisions of USAC – Sprints (1963, ’66), Stocks (1969-70) and Champ Cars (1973)
• Tom “Mongoose” McEwen – A 5-time winner in NHRA, who was an incredible promotional showman
• Danny Ongais – “Flyin’ Hawaiian” had success in motorcycle, drag, Formula 1 and Indy car racing
• Marvin Panch – 17-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner; 1961 Daytona 500 winner
• Les Richter – Former manager of Riverside Raceway; co-founder of IROC; former NASCAR VP
• Troy Ruttman – 1952 Indy 500 champ; three-time AAA Sprint Car champion
• Sir Henry Segrave – Set three land speed records, water speed record; 1923 French Grand Prix winner
• Lee Shepherd – 4-straight NHRA Pro Stock titles (1981-84); Won both Pro Stock NHRA and IHRA titles in 1983
• Leonard Wood – Innovator of modern pit stop; Crew Chief for Wood Brothers Racing, formed in 1950 and still racing today – having 98 triumphs
• Chuck Yeager – Noted Air Force Test Pilot; In 1947, first pilot to travel faster than sound
Opened in April of 1983, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the history of motorsports. Each year the annual International Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is held on the grounds of the Museum to honor those men and women chosen for induction from among the greatest names in all of motorsports.(TSS)(11-8-2013)
NMPA Announces Nominees For 2014 Hall of Fame: The National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) announced that there are five new candidates for its Hall of Fame. Those elected by the membership will be inducted in ceremonies in January 2014 in Charlotte, NC.
The nominees for 2104 are:
L.D. Ottinger - Two-time Sportsman champion ('74 & '75), perennial top 10 points finisher in Sportsman/Nationwide Series.
Ray Evernham - Three-time Sprint Cup Series champion crew chief for Jeff Gordon, helped bring Dodge back to NASCAR competition as a team owner in 2001, often described as greatest crew chief of all time.
Mario Andretti - A four-time INDY champion, 1978 F-1 champion, 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner, 1967 Daytona 500 winner; one of two people to win in Formula 1, Indy racing, NASCAR, and World SportscarChampionship. Only driver to win Indy 500, Daytona 500 and F-1 championship.
Joe Gibbs - As a NASCAR car owner, has won three Sprint Cup championships. His drivers have won 105 Sprint Cup and 82 Nationwide Series races (as of 5/23/2013). JGR also has two NNS owner's championships to its credit.
Steve Waid - Four-decade career included stints with daily newspapers before joining staff of Grand National Scene. Rose to position of publisher for the weekly trade paper. Former winner of the NMPA's George Cunningham Award and a recipient of the Henry T. McLemore Award for outstanding lifetime achievement in motorsports journalism.(NMPA)(7-2-2013)