Motorsports Hall of Fame inducts newest members

MANSELL, McGRIFF, KARAMESINES, FORBES-ROBINSON, WARD, TURNER AND CARNEGIE INDUCTED INTO MOTORSPORTS HALL OF FAME OF AMERICA NOVI, Mich., Aug. 18, 2006 - The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America celebrated its newest members last night during its...

MANSELL, McGRIFF, KARAMESINES, FORBES-ROBINSON, WARD, TURNER AND CARNEGIE INDUCTED INTO MOTORSPORTS HALL OF FAME OF AMERICA

NOVI, Mich., Aug. 18, 2006 - The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America celebrated its newest members last night during its 18th annual induction ceremony at the State Theatre in Detroit.

NASCAR West Coast icon Hershel McGriff, drag racing fan favorite Chris Karamesines, versatile sports car great Elliott Forbes-Robinson, seven-time Motocross champion Jeff Ward, Champ Car and Formula 1 World Champion Nigel Mansell, NASCAR pioneer Curtis Turner, and the legendary voice of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Tom Carnegie, joined the 153 honorees already enshrined in the Motorsports Hall of Fame.

"Diversity and versatility are the hallmarks of the class of 2006," said Ron Watson, president of the Motorsports Hall of Fame. "A simultaneous world and U.S. champion, NASCAR and drag racing winners from both coasts and Mid-America, a winning driver of all varieties of sports cars, a 7-time motorcycle champion turned Indy driver and the 'voice of God' from the Indy Speedway - this class has it all."

Hershel McGriff won the inaugural Mexican Road Race in 1950 and won four Grand National (now Nextel Cup) races in 1954 before taking a 17-year respite from the sport. He returned in 1971, won NASCAR's Winston West championship in 1986 and is tied for third on the all-time NASCAR West win list with 35.

"I got to see it all, and I was very fortunate," said McGriff. "I was lucky to race with some great individuals and watch the history of NASCAR from the very beginning."

Popular Chris Karamesines was called the "Golden Greek" and was Chicago's first professional drag racer. He has won half a dozen AHRA, one IHRA national event, and five World Series of Drag Racing titles along with innumerable match races during his crowd-pleasing career.

"There are an awful lot of people to thank after 55 years in the sport," said Karamesines. "I want to thank the board of directors and the selection committee for this award. It's a great honor to be named to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America."

Elliott Forbes-Robinson won races and championships in many types of cars and series. He won his first race in a Shelby Cobra and won championships in Bob Sharp Racing Nissans. He won races and titles in Super Vee, Trans-Am, Can-Am, IMSA GTU, the World Challenge Championship, the American LeMans Series and the 24 Hours of Daytona.

"I thank God for the talent and the opportunity," said Forbes-Robinson. "I was someone that absolutely loved to race, and looking back, I realize just how lucky I was. It was a fun time."

Jeff Ward was a dominant Motocross and Supercross racer in the 1980s. He won AMA season titles for Supercross in 1985 and 1987 and Motocross in 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989 and 1990. He was the AMA Athlete of the Year in 1989. After a successful stint in Indy cars, he returned to bikes and won the 2004 SuperMoto championship on a Honda.

It's been a dream come true for me to be able to do what I love, and that is race," said Ward. "I want to thank the Motorsports Hall of Fame for this induction, and I am humbled by their selection. I'm still racing trying to reach new goals, but this is certainly the biggest award a person in my field can achieve."

Tom Carnegie became the distinctive voice of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as its public address announcer in 1946. For three generations of fans, his baritone descriptions of track activities are synonymous with the "500."

"There have been so many people that have inspired my life," said Carnegie. "Remember the great times you've had, the friends you've made, and congratulations to all my colleagues here tonight for their induction."

Although Nigel Mansell won the 1992 Formula 1 world championship, he became eligible for America's Motorsports Hall of Fame the following year when he crossed the Atlantic to join the Champ Car World Series. In two years on the Champ Car circuit, Mansell won five races, 10 poles and the 1993 title, becoming the only driver in history to hold both the F1 world and Champ Car titles at the same time.

"I absolutely loved racing in America," said Mansell. "I remember winning at New Hampshire on my 40th birthday and the fans singing Happy Birthday. Thank you to the committee for my selection."

Colorful Curtis Turner, the only deceased member of the class of 2006, won 17 Grand National races in 180 starts from 1949 to 1968. He led the NASCAR Convertible Division during its four-year run (1956-1959) with 38 wins and 30 poles.

The Motorsports Museum & Hall of Fame is operated by the 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: motorsports hall of fame

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Series Automotive
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Chris Karamesines , Jeff Ward , Nigel Mansell , Elliott Forbes-Robinson , Hershel McGriff , Bob Sharp