THIRD ANNUAL NEBRASKA AUTO RACING HALL OF FAME INDUCTIONS.
by Bob Mays
LINCOLN, NE-August 30, 2000-The third annual Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame Induction Reception took place Wednesday afternoon at the Nebraska State Fair Park Clubhouse before 350-plus race enthusiasts. On hand to accept their honors in person were, Bob Burdick, Omaha, Jim Gessford, Hastings, and Bobby Parker, Omaha. Deceased inductees this year were, Noel Bullock, Joe Kosiske, Gordon Smiley and Les Vaughn. Burdick won the 1961 Atlanta 500 as well as many short track stock car races in the 1950s and '60s. He also finished in the top four in IMCA stock car points during the seasons 1955 through 1959. Gessford, whose nickname is "The Crankshaft Kid," built race engines and complete cars during a career that spanned the years of 1948-82. His cars won in every division they competed in, from track roadsters, modifieds, supemodifieds, stock cars and sprint cars. Some of Gessford's drivers over the years, included 1999 Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Famers, Gordie Shuck and Lloyd Beckman, as well as, Cliff Sealock, Chuck Sears, Dick Sutcliffe, Ken McCarty and Roger Rager. Bobby Parker was an outstanding midget racer, whose career went from 1949 through the mid-1960s. He won countless features driving for, fellow 2000 inductee, Les Vaughn and others including, Roy Thomas, Art Jacobson and 1999 inductee, Otto Ramer. Linda Gobble was on hand to accept for her father Noel Bullock, North Platte, who built his own fliver out of Motel T parts and then took it to Pike's Peak where he blew away the best factory jobs, to win the 1922 Pike's Peak Hill Climb. Bullock also won over 80 races on the dusty county fair circuits of the late teens and early 1920s. 1998 Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductee, Bob Kosiski, accepted for his father, Joe Kosiske (yes, his last name is spelled with an "e"), Omaha, who built stock cars throughout the 1950s for drivers such as his on son, Bob, Stan Williams and Tiny Lund. Accepting for Gordon Smiley, Omaha, was his sister, Sally Kettle. Smiley was an accomplished road racer, who won in sports cars and open wheel formula cars. At one time Gordon held 25 track records in SCCA competition, and in 1979 won the Aurora Formula 1 race at Silverstone, England. He qualified for two Indy 500s, 1980 and 1981, and was killed while trying qualify for a third in 1982. Les Vaughn's award was accepted by his daughter, Dorothy Hurt. Vaughn owned midgets, sprints, stock cars and Three-quarter midgets from 1948 to 1960. His cars were always very well kept, and always front runners. In 1956 Vaughn gave A. J. Foyt his big break in IMCA when he put the young Texan in his Offy sprint car. Foyt won his first sprint car race at Minot, N.D. that year in the Les Vaughn Offy. Other drivers in Les' sprint cars were, Cotton Farmer, Bill Chenault, Jack Rounds, Herschel Wagner and Leroy Nuemayer. Midgets pilots of Vaughn machines included fellow inductee, Bobby Parker, as well as Jud Larson, Bob Slater, Larry Wheeler and Der Merkley. Some of the men who raced in Vaughn's stock cars were, Parker, Wheeler, Tiny Lund, Porky Rachwitz and Carl Lillenthal. Former Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductees on hand were, Andy Anderson (1998), Bud Burdick(1999), Woody Brinkman(1999), Bob Kosiski(1998), Bill Smith(1998) and Gordie Shuck(1999). Nebraska Governor, Mike Johanns was also on hand. Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame Board of Directors who were on hand included: President, Tony Glenn, Vice-President, Bob Mays, Secretary, Ray Valasek, Treasurer, Lee Ackerman, Bob Burdick, Stan Cisar, Jr., Wayne Dake, Bob Kosiski, Bob Nickolite, Darrin Racek and Bill Smith. A silent auction was held which raised nearly $500 for the Hall of Fame. The top selling item was a pair of Texas Motor Speedway IRL tickets, which brought $150. The purpose of the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame is to perpetuate the memory of individuals who have brought lasting fame and positive recognition to the state of Nebraska through their achievements in the sport of auto racing. Candidates must have been retired from the field for which they are being considered for a period of four years, and they must have been a resident of the state of Nebraska for a period of at least two year. Anyone who wishes to nominate a person for the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame by submitting the person's name, and a list of their accomplishments to: Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame, Inc., 821 Driftwood Dr., Lincoln, NE. 68510,