PHOENIX (October 18, 2017) – Racing historian Melissa Bleier and digital development pioneer Michael Verlatti Jr. have been named to the board of directors of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.
Bleier, who resides in Port Costa, Calif., explored the heritage of short tracks and speedways and their impact on America’s cultural landscape in her 2009 master’s thesis, “Don’t They Just Turn Left?”
She has published numerous articles, is author of her blog and was a speaker at the 2010 annual conference of the North American Society for Sport History.
Bleier currently has two book projects underway: a biography of Harold Brasington, builder of Darlington Raceway in South Carolina and a history of west coast racing as defined by the career of Ken Clapp, a retired NASCAR senior executive who oversaw 19 race tracks and presented in excess of 5,000 single-day events in a 50-year career and chair of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.
Employed by the National Park Service’s Business Management Division, Bleier manages the Historic Leasing program and related project management for San Francisco’s Fort Mason, the equestrian leases for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, as well as land use and permitting.
Verlatti Jr. is a native of San Francisco now residing in Charlotte, N.C. His father, Mike Verlatti, served for many years as a NASCAR official and holds membership on the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s board.
Following a hands-on career as a NASCAR official, Verlatti Jr. founded Traction Event Labs, which delivers event technology and activation to partners and consumers in the racing industry
Verlatti Jr. worked with partners to design the nation’s largest mobile screen with tailored video content, a widget wall and interactive games for The Sprint Unlimited Experience that accompanied NASCAR’s premier racing series.
Traction has provided digital services to NASCAR, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Sprint and created a custom app that streamlined presentation of NASCAR’s business-to-business events.
The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s next event is the 2018 NASCAR K&N Series West season finale on Saturday, Nov. 4, at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, Calif. The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame 150 presented by NAPA will crown this year’s champion. Current standings leader Todd Gilliland, who drives a Toyota for Bill McAnally Racing, won March’s race at the half-mile paved oval as well as the track’s 2016 event.
Voting for the hall’s 2018 class of inductees is set to begin in November with announcement of the new members in March. The 15th Annual induction ceremonies will be held June 21, 2018 at the Meritage Hotel and Spa in Napa, Calif., kicking off the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series and K&N Pro Series West weekend at nearby Sonoma Raceway.
About the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame:
The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame was conceived in 2001 as a means of recognizing significant contributors and contributions to the sport of stock car racing. The mission of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame is founded to preserve history and heritage of the important role west coast stock car competitors have played in the sport’s development and continuation and to recognize, through annual enshrinement, of outstanding individuals and groups within the sport such as, but not limited to, designers, engineers, mechanics, drivers, race track owners, promoters, publicists and members of the motorsports media.
Owen A. Kearns