The Founding Father of American Vintage Racing is selected as Collector Car Hobby's Person of the Year.
IRVINE, Calif., (March 2003) - Steve Earle, founder of the Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA) and president of General Racing, the organizers of the internationally acclaimed Monterey Historic Automobile Races, has been chosen to receive the 2003 Meguiar's Award, which honors the Collector Car Hobby's Person of the Year. The selection was made by the Meguiar's Award Selection Committee, involving 21 leading automotive journalists from across the country.
"One of the founding fathers of the American vintage racing movement, Steve Earle has given tirelessly to the sport, remaining in the background as he brought to life such renowned events as the Monterey Historics and the annual Wine Country Classic," says Barry Meguiar, president and CEO of Meguiar's Inc. "His pioneering efforts have created world-class venues where collectors can relive the former glory of their historic racecars to the cheers of their fellow enthusiasts."
The Meguiar family created this award to pay tribute to individuals whose contributions have significantly impacted the rapidly expanding collector car hobby, which includes antique, classic and postwar 1950s, 1960s and 1970s models, as well as muscle cars, sports cars, exotics, hot rods and customs, tuners and low riders, vintage trucks and classic racing vehicles.
Selection committee members evaluate nominees on their contributions to the growth, quality, visibility and respectability of the hobby, their assistance with legislation affecting the hobby and their community involvement.
"Steve was the catalyst who transformed vintage racing from a very private, club event into a professionally organized, safe form of entertainment," says Ken Gross, chairman of the Meguiar's Award Selection Committee. "His passion for racing has continually encouraged the restoration and utilization of vintage race cars, to the benefit of all collector car hobbyists. Steve's unselfish dedication and efforts have elevated his original concept - the Monterey Historic Races - from its humble beginnings in 1974 to one of the top vintage racing weekends held in the world today."
Throughout the years, Earle has worked to encourage a variety of vintage racing entries, including classic 1930s Bentleys and Bugattis and pre- and post-war exotic racing cars from such prestigious makers as Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Maserati, and Mercedes-Benz. Recently he instituted special categories for Trans-Am cars, and he consistently groups vehicles appropriately in the races to ensure exciting competitions for participants and spectators. Over the years he has showcased truly exceptional vehicles, including Jaguar D-types, Blower Bentleys, Shelby Daytona Coupes, and the Gordon Murray-designed Brabham BT44 F1 car.
Earle is also responsible for creating the "honored marque" theme at the Monterey Historics. By highlighting a specific marque at each year's races, he has been able to involve clubs and manufacturers and showcase many historically significant racecars that deserve recognition. More than 40,000 visitors attend the Monterey
Historics each year at Laguna Seca Raceway, which generously supports the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) contribution to local charities. In 2002 SCRAMP donated more than $500,000 to 70 Central Coast charitable services and organizations.
In addition to the Monterey Historics and the Wine Country Classic, Earle founded the Chrysler Classic Speed Festival, now in its sixth year, held at the North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado, California. He also joined the creative team for the Lime Rock Vintage Festival in 2002, held at the historic Lime Rock Park, Connecticut. racing circuit.
A vintage car collector and racer, Earle regularly competes in either his 1959 ex-Bob Bondurant Corvette, or his open-wheel McLaren M23. He is also an enthusiastic collector of vintage racing literature and has amassed a huge collection that he has turned into a research library to benefit vintage racers, collectors and historians.
Earle will be honored at a gala event at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at The Music Center in Los Angeles on May 30, 2003. He will also receive a replica of the perpetual wood sculpture trophy created by famed automotive artist Dennis Hoyt.
Past winners of the Meguiar's Award include Chester "Chet" Krause, founder of Krause Publications; Bill Miller and Chip Miller, recognized internationally for their Carlisle collector car events; Tonight Show host Jay Leno; Jules Heumann and the late Lorin Tryon, co-chairmen of the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance; Bruce Meyer, renowned Beverly Hills car collector and hobby activist; Robert E. Petersen, founder of Hot Rod and Motor Trend magazines; J. B. Nethercutt, creator of one of the most comprehensive auto collections ever assembled; and last year's winner, Bill Warner, founder of the world-famous Amelia Island Concours.
The selection process is kept entirely separate from the business interests of Meguiar's, Inc., a privately held surface care products manufacturer based in Irvine, California. For more ticket information, please call Kim Milman or Sara Unrue at JMPR at (818) 992-1333.