Novi, MI - Nine new Heroes of Horsepower have been elected to join the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHF). The 2000 Class of inductees will be honored at the 12th Annual Motorsports Hall of Fame Dinner and Ceremony on June 8, 2000 at the...
Novi, MI - Nine new Heroes of Horsepower have been elected to join the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHF). The 2000 Class of inductees will be honored at the 12th Annual Motorsports Hall of Fame Dinner and Ceremony on June 8, 2000 at the State Theatre in Detroit.
"With such an impressive list of racers, each year there is a lot of excitement as every inductee is worthy of the hero title," said MSHF Chairman Tom Elliman, who noted that the nine new inductees will raise the total Hall of Fame membership to 113 in nine different categories. "Many of these names are familiar to people who don't follow our sport, which is a testament to their achievements."
The newest class of inductees is as follows (category in parentheses):
* Sam Hanks, the late winner of the 1953 AAA National Championship, 1957 Indy 500 winner, and multi-time midget champion. (Open Wheel Racing)
* The Wood Brothers, pioneer stock car racing family and the first in wins on tracks measuring one-mile or longer. (Stock Car Racing)
* Danny Ongais, champion drag racer who also excelled at Indy cars, and sports cars. (Drag Racing)
* Peter Gregg, the late six-time Camel IMSA GT series champion. (Sports Car Racing)
* Bob Hannah, America's first motorcross superstar, also know as "Hurricane Hannah". (Motorcycle Racing)
* Tom D'Eath, powerboat racer, builder, designer and historian. (Powerboat Racing)
* Cook Cleland, Post WWII race pilot of the 3,000+ hp Super Corsairs racer. (Air Racing)
* Smokey Yunick, one of the most innovative mechanics in history. (At-Large)
* Ray Harroun, the late winner of the first Indianapolis 500-mile race. (Historic Racing, Pre WW-II)
In addition, many returning inductees are also expected to be on hand at the Annual Motorsports Hall of Fame Dinner and Ceremony.
Eligibility for induction into the Hall of Fame is extended to any person who has driven, piloted, owned, designed, built, supported, maintained, prepared or promoted motorized vehicles in the pursuit of speed, distance or other records; or in racing, endurance or other competition. An inductee must have been retired for at least three years or must have engaged at the top level of his or her area of Motorsports for at least 20 years. A panel of historians, retired competitors, journalists and prior inductees vote for the final selection. Each inductee receives the Hall of Fame prestigious "Horsepower" award-an original bronze statuette created by Ann Arbor, Michigan sculptor Michael Curtis.
The Motorsports Hall of Fame is currently located inside the Novi Expo Center in Novi, Michigan. Its 10,000 square foot museum houses numerous racing and high performance vehicles. The continually changing collection showcases racers and vehicles from the world of Indy cars, stock cars, Can Am, Trans-Am, sprint cars, powerboats, airplanes, truck racing and motorcycles. Among the highlights is the last ever Novi Special Indy car, namesake of the city of Novi, Michigan.
The museum and gift shop are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by special arrangements for group tours, catered receptions and special events. Plans are underway to move the Museum and Hall of Fame to a permanent home at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit in the near future. For more information on the inductees or how to purchase tickets to the black-tie Induction Ceremony on Thursday, June 8, 2000, please call the Motorsports Hall of Fame at (800) 250-RACE, (800) 250-7223.
MOTORSPORTS HALL OF FAME OF AMERICA
CLASS OF 2000 BIOS
Sam Hanks Open Wheel Racing Born: July 13, 1914, Columbus, Ohio Died: June 27, 1994
Born in Ohio, but raised in California, Sam Hanks achieved fame as one of the nation's top midget drivers prior to World War II. During WWII he served as a First Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. After the war he went on to additional honors racing Indycars. He won the AAA National Championship in 1953, and captured the Indy 500 in 1957 driving the radical "lay-down" Belond Special designed by owners George Salih and Howard Gilbert. Non-Indy 500 career highlights included:
* Pacific Coast Midget Champion - 1937 & 1946. * Chicago Board Track Champion - 1939. * AAA National Midget Champion - 1941 & 1949. * Winner, 1946 Los Angeles Gold Cup before the largest crowd in history to view a midget race. * Winner of four AAA Champ Car races. * Set World Closed Course Speed record of 182.554mph in 1956. * Pacific Coast Stock Car Champion - 1956 & 1957.
His Indy 500 record, in addition to his victory, included second place in 1956 and a pair of thirds, in 1952/53. Sam retired at the end of the '57 season and then served with distinction as Director of Racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for more than ten years. Sam also worked for both Monroe and Raybestos as a corporate spokesman after his driving days were complete. Throughout his career and into retirement, Sam was highly respected by everyone, and his gentlemanly manner and personality helped bring special distinction to the sport. He died in June 1994 after a long illness, just short of his 80th birthday
Past inductees: A. J. Foyt 1989 Mario Andretti 1990 Jim Clark 1990 Al Unser 1991 Bill Vukovich Sr. 1992 Ted Horn 1993 Bobby Unser 1994 Rodger Ward 1995 Johnny Rutherford 1996 Tony Bettenhausen 1997 Rick Mears 1998 Jimmy Bryan 1999
WOOD BROTHERS Stock Car Racing
Glen Born July 18, 1925 Leonard Born September 22, 1934 Clay Born June 25, 1923, Died December 9, 1989 Delano Born July 5, 1932 Ray Lee Born December 14, 1927 Eddie Born April 8, 1952 Len Born April 17, 1956 Kim Born March 29, 1961
The original Wood Brothers -- Glen who was the owner, Leonard, the crew chief since age 15, Clay, a weekend crew member, Delano, the jack man, and Ray Lee, also a weekend team member were all born in Stuart, Virginia. Glen and Leonard are still active but the rest of their team now consists of Glen's son Eddie who is the team manager and his second son, Len who operates the engine room at the team's racing headquarters. All own 25 percent of the team including daughter Kim Wood Hall. As Jackie Stewart said years ago, the Wood Brothers are known in any country that knows even a little bit about racing. Although they are third behind Petty Enterprises and Junior Johnson on NASCAR car owner win list, they are first in wins on tracks measuring one-mile or longer. They have 80 wins on big tracks, 96 overall. And they didn't start running a full schedule until 1985 although the first joined NASCAR in 1953. They won at least one big race for a record 21 season in a row (1963-83). Among their drivers have been Hall of Famers David Pearson, A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Dan Gurney, and Cale Yarborough, and Neil Bonnett, Kyle Petty, Marvin Panch and Curtis Turner. The Wood Brothers "invented" the fast pit stop. Their innovative pit stops of 20 seconds in the 1960s were by far the best. They proved their mettle when they pitted for Jimmy Clark in the 1965 Indy 500. Their super-quick stops received considerable credit toward Clark's victory.
Lifetime team achievements (thru February 1, 2000): Races: 973 Wins: 96 Top Fives: 317 Top Tens: 471 Poles: 116 Prize: $14,879,727
Past inductees: Richard Petty 1989 William France, Sr. 1990 Junior Johnson 1991 Bobby Allison 1992 David Pearson 1993 Cale Yarborough 1994 Fireball Roberts 1995 Lee Petty 1996 Ned Jarrett 1997 Buck Baker 1998 Tim Flock 1999
DANNY ONGAIS Drag Racing Born: May 21, 1942, Hawaii Residence: Long Beach, California
By age 14, Ongais was already racing dirt motorcycles in his native Hawaii. By 17 he was an expert biker and began winning in sports car competition as well. In 1962 he came to the mainland with another Hawaiian, Roland Leong, and when their "Hawaiian" dragster won Best Appearing Car and Long Distance Awards at the NHRA Winternationals, veterans predicted it would be their last trophies. Ongais soon proved them wrong, however by winning the AHRA Top Gas title the following year. Teaming with Hall of Famer Mickey Thompson in 1964 Danny prevailed at NHRA, AHRA and UDRA events plus the Hot Rod Magazine Championships where he hand pushed his stalled dragster to an E.T. of one minute 35 seconds.
Ongais is still remembered for his near-perfect U.S. Nationals winning 1969 season driving Thompson's blue Mustang Funny Car. Moving to the Vel's Parnelli Jones camp he drove that team's Top Fueler and Funny Car until 1975 when he left drag racing to begin a successful Indy Car and sports car racing career. His Indycar career was highlighted by an amazing sophmore season in 1978 -- in 17 starts, Ongais let EVERY race he started, winning five times. He also raced F-5000, tried a few F-1 races and highlighted his sports car career with a win in the 24 Hours of Daytona. Whether they knew him as "The Flyin' Hawaiin", or as Danny "On-The-Gas" fans knew to expect a strong drive from Ongais in anything he drove. Ongais is the only driver in history to have achieved professional level victories in drag racing, oval racing, and road racing.
Past inductees: Don Garlits 1989 Shirley Muldowney 1990 Don Prudhomme 1991 Connie Kalitta 1992 Wally Parks 1993 Bob Glidden 1994 Keith Black 1995 Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins 1996 Art Chrisman 1997 "Dyno" Don Nicholson 1998 C.J. "Pappy" Hart 1999
PETER GREGG Sports Car Racing Born: May 4, 1940, New York City, New York Died: December 15, 1980
"Peter Perfect" was a six-time IMSA Camel GT series champion (1971, 1973-74-75, 1978-79), completely dominating that circuit in the decade of the 1970's. He is still second in all-time IMSA career wins, 41 to 49 for the late Al Holbert. In 1973 and 1974, he also raced on the SCCA Trans-Am series and was equally dominant, winning the championship both seasons, and recording 20 major victories.
Gregg was a master of the endurance races winning the 24 Hours of Daytona three times and the 12 Hours of Sebring once.
Peter Gregg, #59, Porsche, and Brumos Racing are synonymous with sports car racing in the 1970's. The beautifully prepared red, white, and blue cars will forever be associated with Gregg. Today, his son Simon carries on the #59 tradition in SCCA Trans-Am racing.
Past Inductees: Phil Hill 1989 Mark Donohue 1990 Dan Gurney 1991 Carroll Shelby 1992 Al Holbert 1993 Jim Hall 1994 Bruce McLaren 1995 Peter Revson 1996 Briggs Cunningham 1997 Denis Hulme 1998 George Follmer 1999
BOB HANNAH Motorcycle Racing Born: September 26, 1956, Whittier, California Residence: Caldwell, Idaho
In less than a year, "the kid from Whittier" become "Hurricane Hannah" dominating the exciting new sport of Supercross like no one had before. An absolute master of the 250cc machine, Hannah also scored wins on 125cc and 500cc bikes. Had it not been for a water-skiing accident, his domination might have lasted even longer. Career Highlights:
* The first rider to win the AMA Camel Supercross championship three times in succession (77-78-79) * AMA 250cc Champion in 1978 and 1979. * AMA 125cc Champion in 1976. * Trans-AMA Champion in 1978 - First American to ever win the title. * 1978 AMA Pro Athlete of the Year * Was the all-time leader in Supercross victories with 27 until he was passed by Rick Johnson in 1988. * Was the all-time leader in combined Motocross/Supercross wins with 63 until he was passed by Jeremy McGrath. * Member of winning US Motocross des Nations championship team in 1987.
After retirement from motorcycles, Hannah took up racing 500mph airplanes for fun.
Past Inductees: Erwin "Cannonball" Baker 1989 Kenny Roberts 1990 Joe Leonard 1991 Joe Petrali 1992 Dick Mann 1993 Roger DeCoster 1994 Malcolm Smith 1996 Jim Davis 1997 Carroll Resweber 1998 Bart Markel 1999
TOM D'EATH Powerboat Racing Born: February 19, 1944, Detroit, Michigan Residence: Bradenton, Florida
Tom D'Eath has been a driver, builder, designer, and historian of powerboat racing. A second generation racer, D'Eath's father Al raced Unlimited Hydros and Midgets in the 40's and 50's. D'Eath started at age 14 in "A" Utility Stock Outboards. At age 16 he raced Inboard Hydroplanes in the 280 class and later the 150ci class, winning three National Championships. He set the kilo record in 1971 with his boat "Southern Style." The record stood until 1990. As a designer, he built a 2.5 liter Modified and became a four-time National Champion which held all competition records in it's class. D'Eath-built 5 liter stock engines won Eastern and Western divisional as well as National Championships in multiple years and held many records.
He began Unlimited Racing with George Simon's Miss U.S. in 1973. He is the only three-time winner of both the APBA Gold Cup (1976, 1989, and 1990) and the Prince Edward Canadian Gold Cup (1974, 1976, and 1980). His dual Gold Cup win (American & Canadian) in 1976 is the only time the feat has ever been accomplished. His APBA Gold Cup wins in three different decades was duplicated only by Hall of Famer Bill Muncey. He was seven-time world champion in Unlimited, Grand Prix, and other Inboard Hydroplane classes. He was honored multiple times by the APBA Hall of Champions for both Unlimited and Inboard Hydroplane categories and inducted into the Unlimited Hydroplane Hall of Fame in 1997. Also in 19997 hye was inducted into the APBA Honor Squadron. Auto Racing lured D'Eath into Super Vees, midgets, and stock cars starting in 1977. His driving career in all forms of racing ended in 1991 due to injuries from a stock car racing accident. He currently heads the Vintage and Historic Division of APBA, overseeing preservation and restoration of vintage racing craft.
Past Inductees: Bill Muncey 1989 Gar Wood 1990 Dean Chenoweth 1991 Bill Cantrell 1992 Ron Musson 1993 Bernie Little 1994 Chip Hanauer 1995 Betty Cook 1996 Bob Nordskog 1997 Carl Kiekhaefer 1998 Bill Seebold 1999
COOK CLELAND Air Racing Born: December 24, 1916 Cleveland, Ohio
Cook Cleland dominated the postwar Thompson Trophy Races with his 3,000+ hp Super Corsairs, winning in 1947 and 1949. Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1916, he learned to fly at Pensacola, Fla., after joining the Navy a month before Pearl Harbor. Assigned to the Aircraft Carrier Wasp, he was the first of its pilots to shoot down an enemy plane. When the Wasp went down he swam for hours before being rescued. Later assigned to the carrier Lexington he was credited with sinking an enemy carrier by dive bombing, earning him the Navy Cross, the Air Medal with three stars, Purple Heart and Navy Commendation. Became interested in air racing after the war when he flew an FG-ID Corsair and finished sixth in the 1946 Thompson. This prompted him to sink his life savings into three modified-for-racing F2G-1 Navy fighters and won the Thompson in '47 and '49, setting new records both times. He is the only pilot other than Hall of Famer Roscoe Turner to win the coveted Thompson Trophy more than once.
Past inductees: Jimmy Doolittle 1989 Glenn Curtiss 1990 Roscoe Turner 1991 Amelia Earhart 1992 Jacqueline Cochran 1993 Bill Falck 1994 Darryl Greenamyer 1997 Steve Wittman 1998 Lyle Shelton 1999
SMOKEY YUNICK At-Large Born: May 25, 1923, Maryville, Tennessee Residence: Daytona Beach, Florida
One of the most infamous crew chiefs in motorsports history, Smokey Yunick was always an innovator. Propieter of the "Best Damn Garage in Town" in Daytona Beach, Florida, Smokey has influenced countless NASCAR crew chiefs over the past 40 years. Herb Thomas drove Yunik prepared cars to his three Southern 500 triumphs in 1951 and 1954 in Hudson Hornets, and in 1955 in a Chevrolet. The 1951 and 1953 NASCAR national driving championships were also won by Thomas for Yunik. Yunik cars also won the 1961 and 1962 Daytona 500's. He retired as a mechanic in 1975. He was the chief mechanic for the car driven by Jim Rathmann, that won the 1960 Indianapolis 500.
Past Inductees: Barney Oldfield 1989 Art Arfons 1991 J. C. Agajanian 1992 George Bignotti 1993 Sir Malcolm Campbell 1994 Roger Penske 1995 Mickey Thompson 1990 Tony Hulman 1991 Parnelli Jones 1992 Craig Breedlove 1993 Chris Economaki 1994 A.J. Watson 1996 Colin Chapman 1997 Clint Brawner 1998 Frank Kurtis 1999 Harry Miller 1999
RAY HARROUN Historic Racing (Pre WW-II) Born: January 12, 1879 Spartanburg, Pennsylvania Died: January 19, 1968 Anderson, Indiana
Best remembered as the winner of the first Indianapolis 500-mile race in 1911, when he was also first to utilize a rear view mirror for watching traffic behind him, Harroun was also the National Champion in 1910, and won four other major races between 1909 and his retirement in 1911. He was also an accomplished engineer and helped develop both the Marmon passenger and race cars.
Past Inductees: Wilbur Shaw 1991 Ralph DePalma 1992 Louis Meyer 1993 Eddie Rickenbacker 1994 Louis Chevrolet 1995 Peter DePaolo 1995 Rex Mays 1995 Henry Ford 1996 Mauri Rose 1996 Fred Duesenberg 1997 Tommy Milton 1998 Jimmy Murphy 1998 Frank Lockhart 1999