Motorsports Hall of Fame of America announces eight new enshrinees for 2003.
NOVI, MI February 5, 2003- Three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Darrell Waltrip, sports car driver and teacher Bob Bondurant, master of midget car racing Mel Kenyon, motorcycle ace Gary Nixon and driver safety pioneer Bill Simpson will lead a class of eight racing legends into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America on June 12, 2003. The annual Induction Ceremony will be staged at the historic State Theatre in Detroit.
Rounding out the tribute to the class of 2003 will be posthumous induction honors for drag racing engine builder Ed Donovan, hydroplane racer and designer Ted Jones and dirt track sprint car king Tommy Hinnershitz.
"The Hall of Fame celebrates outstanding achievement along with motorsports' contributions to American culture," says Hall of Fame President Ron Watson. "The inductee class of 2003 represents innovative thinking, concern for education and safety, plus the ultimate in racing skills. What a great group!"
Waltrip captured the coveted Winston Cup in 1981, 1982 and 1985. He won the Daytona 500 in 1989 and his 84 NASCAR wins place him third on the all-time list. Since his retirement from racing, he has gained popularity as a FOX Network color commentator on NASCAR broadcasts.
Bondurant, known world-wide as founder and operator of the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, began his career as a successful road racer driving a variety of sports cars including Shelby Cobras and Ferraris.
Kenyon has won an amazing 380 races and owns the record for most United States Auto Club midget wins with 111 victories. He is still an active driver as he approaches age 70.
Nixon displayed versatile skills on a motorcycle with multiple wins on dirt tracks and paved road courses. He was AMA Grand National Champion in 1967 and 1968.
Concerns for safety grew in Simpson during his career as a driver. Soon, he dedicated his life to developing ever-improving helmets, fire retardant uniforms and other equipment now commonplace in all forms of racing.
Donovan-built engines ruled Top Fuel drag racing in the early 1960s. He began designing and manufacturing high performance components in the 1950s and the engineering company bearing his name still carries on his legacy today.
Jones co-designed the first successful prop-riding three point Unlimited Hydroplane. Jones-designed crafts dominated powerboat racing from 1950 to 1965.
Known as the "Flying Dutchman," Hinnershitz was arguably the best dirt track driver of all time. He won a total of seven national sprint car championships.
Tickets for the enshrinement ceremony can be purchased by calling 1-800-250-RACE (7223).
The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is operated by the Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame of America Foundation Inc., a non-profit corporation. The Hall of Fame is located in the Novi Expo Center, I-96 at Novi Road (Exit 162), in the Detroit suburb of Novi. The museum <http://www.mshf.com/museum/museumhp.htm> spotlights more than 40 racing and high performance vehicles. The constantly changing collection features racers from the world of Indy cars, stock cars, Can Am, TransAm, sprint cars, powerboats, truck racing, drag racing, motorcycles, air racing and even snowmobiles. Among the highlights are the last-ever Novi Special Indy car, Art Arfons' Green Monster jet car, and Winston Cup cars driven by Dale Jarrett, Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough.