Motorsports HoF America announces class of 2008

Andretti, Baker, Force, Ginther, Rainey, Goldsmith and Skelton Elected To The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America NOVI, Mich., Feb. 13, 2008 - Open-wheel racing champion Michael Andretti, NASCAR legend Buddy Baker and perennial drag-racing king...

Andretti, Baker, Force, Ginther, Rainey, Goldsmith and Skelton Elected To The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America

NOVI, Mich., Feb. 13, 2008 - Open-wheel racing champion Michael Andretti, NASCAR legend Buddy Baker and perennial drag-racing king John Force will lead a class of seven racing greats into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America when the organization stages its annual induction ceremony on Wednesday, August 13, 2008, at the Fillmore Detroit.

These three, along with sports-car ace Richie Ginther, motorcycle hero Wayne Rainey, versatile competitor Paul Goldsmith and pioneering aerobatic pilot Betty Skelton will join 167 racers already enshrined in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.

"On land and in the sky, the Class of 2008 represents race wins and championships in every series in America and beyond," says Ron Watson, president of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.

Michael Andretti, the oldest son of Hall of Famer Mario Andretti, is one of the first second-generation open-wheel race drivers. He was the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in 1984 and won the CART championship in 1991. During his driving career, he won more races, more poles and led more laps than any other active Champ Car driver. Andretti is third on the all-time Champ Car win list with 42, behind only A.J. Foyt and his father. As a car owner, he has won three IRL titles and two Indy 500s.

Buddy Baker, another second-generation driver, won 19 races on the NASCAR circuit including the 1980 Daytona 500 and back-to-back Coca-Cola 600s in 1972 and 1973. On March 24, 1970, Baker was the first NASCAR driver to break the 200 mph barrier at the Talladega Speedway. He is the son of Hall of Famer Buck Baker.

John Force is one of the most dominant drag racers in the history of the sport with 14 Funny Car championships, and his 125 career victories and 200 career final rounds are the most by any driver in the history of the National Hot Rod Association. As an owner, between 1990 and 2006, John Force Racing won 15 of 17 Funny Car championships. In 1996, Force was named Driver of the Year for all of American Motorsports, and in 2001, he was listed as No. 2 on the list of top-50 drivers of NHRA's first 50 years.

Richie Ginther started his driving career in 1951 and competed in Mexican Road Races, LeMans and in Formula 1. He was a factory driver for Ferrari and BRM, and in 1965 he took Honda to the winner's circle for the first time in F1 at the Mexican Grand Prix. Ginther retired from driving in 1967 and passed away in 1989.

Wayne Rainey won the 1983 and 1987 AMA Superbike Championship (including the 1987 Daytona 200), and the 1990, 1991 and 1992 500cc FIM World Road Racing Championship before his riding career was prematurely ended by spinal injuries suffered in a racing accident. Rainey remained in the sport as a team manager. Today he stays active racing hand-controlled karts.

Paul Goldsmith was one of American motor racing's most versatile competitors. Between 1952 and 1966, he won four major motorcycle races, nine NASCAR national events, two USAC stock car season titles and ran with distinction in six Indy 500s.

Betty Skelton learned to fly an airplane before she could drive and ultimately won the Feminine International Aerobatic Championships from 1948-1950. Her Pitts biplane, "Little Stinker," is in the National Air and Space Museum. She went on to become the first woman to drive more than 300 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats, to establish transcontinental auto records across the U.S. and South America and to break records driving a Corvette on Daytona Beach. Skelton also was among the first women to take astronaut testing in 1959.

Tickets for the Induction Ceremony can be purchased by calling 1-800-250-RACE (7223).

The Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame is operated by the nonprofit Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame of America Foundation Inc. The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is a museum housing 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 Art Arfons' Green Monster jet car and championship NASCAR stock cars driven by Darrell Waltrip and Dale Jarrett.

-credit: mhofa

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Series Automotive
Drivers Dale Jarrett , John Force , Michael Andretti , Mario Andretti , Wayne Rainey , Buddy Baker , A.J. Foyt