8 new heroes of horsepower inducted to Motorsports Hall of Fame
DETROIT, June 13 -- Three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Darrell Waltrip, along with seven other motorsports legends, was inducted Thursday June 12, 2003 into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. The 15th annual ceremony took place at the State Theatre in Detroit, Michigan.
The evening also paid tribute to successful road racer Bob Bondurant, founder and operator of the Bob Bondurant High Performance School of Driving. Representing drag racing was inductee Ed Donovan; Tommy Hinnershitz was recognized for his early history of sprint racing. Others enshrined included motorcyclist Gary Nixon, driver safety pioneer Bill Simpson, hydroplane racer and designer Ted Jones, and seven-time midget car champion Mel Kenyon.
The theatre's stage was adorned with vehicles representing the new inductees, including the 1988 #17 Tide NASCAR stock car, driven by Darrell Waltrip and inductee Mel Kenyon's current midget race car.
Former NASCAR Champion and current NBC broadcaster Benny Parsons acted as Master of Ceremonies, and Darryl Jackson, Vice President, Dodge Marketing, DaimlerChrysler, served as Honorary Chairman.
Many other great names in motorsports were on hand to take part in the evening's festivities, including 12-time NHRA champion John Force, former open wheel champ Bobby Unser, "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, and sports car legends Carroll Shelby and Dan Gurney.
"We are truly privileged to tell the story of these amazing human beings," said Hall of Fame President Ron Watson. "I think Ken Squier described it best when he said, 'Common men doing uncommon things.'"
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 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.