GLENDORA, Calif. (Jan. 12, 2001) - National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Founder Wally Parks has been selected as the winner of the second annual Eagle One-Shav Glick Award, which honors the venerable motorsports writer of the Los Angeles Times...
GLENDORA, Calif. (Jan. 12, 2001) - National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Founder Wally Parks has been selected as the winner of the second annual Eagle One-Shav Glick Award, which honors the venerable motorsports writer of the Los Angeles Times and is a symbol of extraordinary achievement in motor racing by a Californian.
Parks, 87, was selected for the prestigious honor over a distinguished list of nominees, including NHRA Funny Car driver John Force, retired Indy Car stars Parnelli Jones and Rick Mears, and longtime NASCAR official Les Richter.
Parks will accept the award on April 29 at California Speedway during trackside ceremonies prior to the NASCAR NAPA Auto Parts 500.
Parks founded the NHRA in 1951 and is widely acknowledged as the visionary who gave birth to hot rodding and the dynamic sport of drag racing, which in the last 50 years has grown into a major spectator sport in the U.S.
NHRA, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2001, has evolved into the world's largest motorsports sanctioning body, with a growing roster of 85,000 racers and members nationwide, and 142 member tracks. It's marquee NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series has developed into a $50 million tour, featuring 24 national events nationwide.
"Wally Parks, like Bill France with stock cars and Tony Hulman with the Indianapolis 500, is an icon in the history of motorsports in the United States," said Glick. "There may have been great drag racers through the years, but without the leadership Parks displayed from his hot-rodding days on the California dry lakes, there would not have been a National Hot Rod Association to display their talents. His contribution to the sport is immeasurable."
Born in Oklahoma and then living in Kansas until age 8, Parks' automotive interests didn't develop until his family moved to California. There, during his high school years, he became active in building stripped-down Model-T's for use on the street and in speed trials conducted on nearby Mojave Desert dry lakes.
In 1937 Parks helped form the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA), the oldest active organization for hot rod car clubs. In 1947, Parks helped establish Hot Rod magazine, one of the world's largest circulation auto enthusiast publications. As the first editor of Hot Rod magazine, Parks inspired the specialty performance industry in the '30s and '40s. Today the business is a significant part of the automotive parts and accessories industry, generating more than $20 billion in sales annually.
In 1949 he organized the campaign that opened Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats for hot rod speed trials. Two years later he founded the NHRA.
Other honors for Parks include "Man of the Year" awards from SEMA (1973) and the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (1988, 1994). He was named 'Man of the Decade' by Popular Hot Rodding magazine, 1962-'72.
He was named to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega, Ala. in 1992 and was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame at Novi, Mich. in 1993. In 2000, Parks was inducted into the prestigious Automotive Hall of Fame, based in Dearborn, Mich.
Parks remains an active member on the NHRA's board of directors and serves as the chairman of the NHRA Motorsports Museum.
Judges included Mike Harris, Associated Press; Bill Center, San Diego Union-Tribune; Jim Short, Riverside Press-Enterprise; John Zimmermann, Racer magazine; Doug Stokes, Irwindale Speedway; Mary Ellen-Wright Rana, Laguna Seca Raceway; and Dan Gurney, the 2000 Eagle One-Shav Glick award recipient.