OFF-ROAD MOTORSPORTS HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES 2005 INDUCTEES RENO, NV (May 6, 2005) - The Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame located in Reno, Nevada will induct six new members from the sport of off-road motorsports at its annual induction ...
OFF-ROAD MOTORSPORTS HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES 2005 INDUCTEES
RENO, NV (May 6, 2005) - The Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame located in Reno, Nevada will induct six new members from the sport of off-road motorsports at its annual induction ceremony at the National Automobile Museum (The Harrah Collection) in Reno on Saturday, June 25, 2005. The nominations, which were submitted through a variety of groups, associations, sanctioning bodies, and event promoters from the off-road community throughout the U.S., were reviewed by a voting committee, which included members from off-road racing, four-wheeling, rally and sand sports. The six new inductees into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame for 2005 include:
Rodney A. Hall of Reno, Nevada: Off-Road Racing. In a sport where a few major event wins can define a successful racing career, no one even comes close to Rod Hall. Ten-time winner of the Mint 400, ten-time winner of the Parker 400, twelve-time winner of the Fireworks 250, twelve-time winner of the Baja 500 and the only 17-time winner of the internationally recognized Baja 1000. Over the course of his racing career, Hall has won 14 major class points championships in production 4-Wheel Drive vehicles. In 1969, Hall was hired as a driver for Bill Stroppe. After winning numerous races for Stroppe and Ford, Hall switched to Dodge in 1975 when Stroppe entered into an agreement to manage their off-road program. The team had moderate success in the production 4WD Dodge during the first year, but in 1977, Hall, along with his long-time friend and co-rider, Jim Fricker began a winning streak that lasted into the next decade driving the Class 4 Dodge to an unbroken string of 37 consecutive SCORE and HDRA victories, a record that remains in tact to this day. With more than 160 major off-roading racing victories, spanning five decades, across four continents, Rod Hall is the most successful driver in off-road racing history.
Scott McKenzie of Agua Dulce, Calif: Industry Pioneer. Among many things, Scott McKenzie was one of the finest fabricators, team owners and innovators in off-road and sand drag racing history. Driving Sandmaster vehicles which he designed and fabricated, he won 108 sand drag hill climbs during the 60's before retiring as a driver and turning his attention to the design and construction of successful racecars. Some of McKenzie's early innovations were the first rear engined VW powered sand buggy, the first single seat buggy and the first use of turning brakes on a buggy. He built his own engines, as well as producing the first large displacement VW motors for performance use in the early 60's. The evolution from sand racing to desert racing was a natural one and off-road racing is where McKenzie set a standard for others to follow. With the cars he designed and built, first with his Sandmaster brand and later, as McKenzie Automotive, his drivers dominated the sport. Five Mint 400 overall wins in a row and nine Baja 1000 overall wins are just some of his many racing victories. The cars that McKenzie produced all had one thing that set them apart: reliability. Having a good car is only part of the combination and Scott had some of the best drivers on his teams to back up his technical work. Rick James, Gene Hurst, Johnny Johnson, Rich and Roger Mears, Ivan Stewart, Malcolm Smith, Bud Feldkamp and even Parnelli Jones drove Scott's cars to numerous victories.
Akton (Ak) Miller of Whittier, Calif.: Off-Road Racing. Ak Miller is a legend among racers. Ak's accomplished about everything a racer wants to do. He has set records on the dry lakes, Bonneville Salt Flats, Pikes Peak Hill Climb and road races in Italy and Mexico. He was a member of the Roadrunners, one of the original car clubs that absorbed the remnants of the Muroc Timing Association and formed it into the fabled SCTA (Southern California Timing Association). He was elected president of the SCTA and served as Vice President of the newly formed NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) with close friend and fellow Roadrunner, Wally Parks. When turbocharging was ready for mass production, Ak was pioneering its attributes. An early pioneer, innovator and proponent of propane fuel, he held patents on turbocharging designs and propane carburetion. He built several trucks which he entered in the NORRA Mexican 1000 during 1967-1969, winning his class in 1967 in a 2-WD Ford Ranchero. He also designed and built hot rod sports cars that dominated Pikes Peak during the 60's, winning the storied hill climb nine times with Ray Brock as his crew member.
Larry Minor of San Jacinto, Calif.: Sand Sports. As a member of the Hemet Jeep Club since 1961, Larry Minor became interested in competitive San Drag racing and in 1963 he won the Butter Cup Meet driving a Chevy 409 powered Jeep. In the year that followed, Minor won numerous top eliminator titles at Pismo Dunes; Bakersfield; Fallon, Nevada; Glamis Dunes and San Jacinto, Calif. In 1965, the California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs, which made the rules for four-wheel racing, introduced a new set of rules that restricted engine sizes. Working with Harry Buchert, a CA4WDC board member, Minor succeeded in gaining approval for an unlimited 4WD class and in 1966 he built the first fiberglass four-wheel drive competition Jeep. Named "Flower Power," the new Jeep was powered by a 350 cubic inch small block Chevy powerplant with a 6-71 blower to help it breath. Using a nitro methane fuel mixture for the first time in 4WD competition, Minor went on to win numerous competition events with this famous Jeep. He had Sand Drag legend, Herman Bouy, build rear engined dragster and funny car frames and using top fuel 500 cubic inch aluminum Hemis in the sand diggers, dominated unlimited sand racing well into the 1970's. In 1967 Minor teamed with Rod Hall to win the first NORRA Mexican 1000. This remains the only 4WD vehicle to ever win the race, overall.
Roy Spuhler of Georgetown, Calif.: Recreational Four-Wheeling. Roy Spuhler's involvement with off-roading began in 1959 with the purchase of his first beach buggy. This began a period of almost weekly trips out to the Oso Flaco Dunes on the central California coast with his family. In 1963, he bought his first Jeep, a CJ2-A and in the spring of 1964 he became one of the founding members of the Santa Maria 4-Wheelers. In 1964, Spuhler bought a blue Jeep CJ-6 that became his trademark for many years. Following a fatal crash in the dunes in the early 60's, Spuhler spearheaded the efforts to form the Sand Dunes Safety Committee. In addition to organizing a program whereby all vehicles would be required to have a flag so a vehicle could be seen coming over a hill, he also spend weekends marking and flagging routes in the dunes so that off-road enthusiasts would not get lost. With so many people using the dunes in the late 60's and on into the 70's, Spuhler began hauling port-a-poties out to the dunes for the events and then he hauled them out afterwards. The crowds at the dunes continued to swell and Spuhler began spending days and nights attending meetings to help develop guidelines for the proper usage of the dunes and determining just how the local Pismo State Park was going to manage the dunes. Spuhler joined the California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs when the Santa Maria 4-Wheelers club was created in 1964 and worked on many events and committees until his age simply would not permit him to keep going.
Edward Waldheim of California City, Calif.: Off-Road Recreation. Waldheim has been riding and racing motorcycles since the early 70's. He formed the Clean Sweep Racing Team in 1976 and was the 1977 Desert Open Senior champion. He won over 30 trophies racing with D.R.A., C.R.C., and AMA District 37. He has raced the Check Chase, The California City Gran Prix, and at Adelanto, Riverside and other events. He is a former member of the California Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission and because of his vast background on OHV issues, he was recently appointed to the Commission again. In this recent difficult time, he has forged working relationships with all commissioners and is working to return the commission to a position of advocacy. Waldheim attends more than 200 meetings each year and has a close working relationship with land management teams for the BLM and the National Forests in California. Virtually all of his activist activities are funded out of his own pocket. Waldheim has been president of the California Off Road Vehicle Association since 1992, during which time membership has tripled and the association has maintained a leading position in the advocacy and education about off- roading sport.
The Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame is located in Reno, Nevada in Bldg. 4 at the National Automobile Museum (The Harrah Collection). ORMHOF has 27 members; 16 inducted in 1976, five more in 1980 and an additional six inductees in 2005. For more information on the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame, visit their website at www.ormhof.com.