Today the MSHFA revealed seven inductees for its 28th class, as Anne Proffitt reports.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona has become the place where new inductees to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA), soon to be fully relocated to Daytona Beach, are announced for the coming year.
Once the ceremonies are complete in the run-up to NASCAR’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, the MSHFA will have inducted 230 drivers/riders, team owners, broadcasters and outstanding industry members to its Hall. A 200-person voting panel decides the class each year, made up of industry insiders like Mario Andretti, Craig Breedlove, Don Emde, Don Garlits and Richard Petty, just to name a few.
This year the inductees come from a wide range of racing disciplines including motorcycles, stock cars, sports cars, land-speed record attempts, drag racing and open-wheel motorsports.
While Ganassi was the sole inductee on-site for this announcement, he was joined by previously-inducted members Tommy Kendall, David Hobbs and Hurley Haywood.
Chip Ganassi – “Something I will always cherish”
Chip Ganassi, whose racing endeavors span the Verizon IndyCar Series, NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series and the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, sounded very humble in his acceptance speech. He said: “I’m truly grateful and honored to be part of the 2016 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America class of inductees. This is truly a testament to all the hard work through the years by our drivers and teams. “Many of the hall’s inductees are my heroes. To have my name listed alongside theirs is something I will always cherish. And to be inducted June 29 at Daytona International Speedway, where our organization has achieved so much success, makes this even more special.”
Everett Brashear - He won a total of 15 AMA nationals between 1952 and ’60 and is a highly regarded dirt-track motorcycle racer. After his riding career ended, Brashear worked for Harley-Davidson, Triumph, Yamaha and Kawasaki, and entered the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1988.
Richard Childress - With 14 championships in NASCAR national series competition – second-best of all time – Childress currently holds 211 victories across all NASCAR touring series. Widely known as car owner of record for Dale Earnhardt, who entered the Hall of Fame in 2002.
Gary Gabelich – His chase of speed records on both land and water formed a brief, albeit mercurial career. A former test astronaut for the Apollo program, Gabelich established a quarter-mile Drag Boat record of 200.44mph in 1969. A year later, he drove the “Blue Flame” rocket-powered car to land speed records of 622.407mph over the flying mile and 630.388 over the flying kilometer at the Bonneville Salt Flats. These records would hold for 13 and 27 years respectively. Gabelich died in a motorcycle accident in 1984, aged 43.
Dave McClelland - The “Voice of the NHRA” is one of the most recognizable voices in all sports commentating. His many years of NHRA-related work on ESPN, SPEED and TNN enthralled watchers and listeners. McClelland has also been a track executive, NHRA publicity and media relations director. He owns many other awards, including the 2013 Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award, presented annually to pioneers in the hot rod and restoration industries.
Sam Posey - Former driver and a Renaissance man whose arts include writing and broadcasting, Sam is both recognized and respected in the motorsports industry. Posey raced in Can-Am, Trans-Am, Indy cars, sports cars, Formula 1 and NASCAR. He competed 10 times at the Le Mans 24 Hours, finishing in the top 10 five times, including third in 1971. After leaving the driver’s seat, Posey became an ABC broadcaster and now works with NBC Sports Network on Formula 1 coverage. He’s an author of books and articles on racing.
Bob Sweikert - The Los Angeles native enjoyed a 1955 season that made him a legend, winning the Indianapolis 500, the AAA “Big Car” National Championship and the Midwest Sprint Car Championship. He was the first driver to sweep all three honors in a single season. He was also the first driver to exceed 100mph on a one-mile oval track. Tragically, Sweikert was killed in a sprint car crash in ’56, at the age of 30. Sweikert entered the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame in 1994 and the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in ’95.