West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame celebrates induction of Class of 2019

Organization’s Award of the Decade conferred for second time

Ken Clapp, Chairman and CEO
208 Montair Drive, Danville CA 94526
P 925-552-9887 / F 925-552- 9814 ckcdeee@gmail.com

NAPA, Calif., June 24, 2019 – The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame staged its 16th induction ceremony, presented by World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, on June 20 before 500 guests at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif.

Eleven stalwarts from across the motorsport spectrum from 20th and 21st centuries were honored during the gala.

The 2019 class of enshrinees includes NASCAR team owners Gary Bechtel and Bob Bruncati; the late Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs and NASCAR champions Jeff Gordon, Doug McCoun and Eric Norris. Five Heritage inductees were feted: international racing star George Follmer; early west coast NASCAR strand-outs Rick Henderson and Marshall Sargent and Indianapolis 500 champions Bob Sweikert and Bill Vukovich.

Wayne Wells, retired NAPA Auto Parts western vice president, was honored with the Hall’s Award of the Decade marking the second time the award has been conferred. The Scottsdale, Ariz. executive guided his company’s sponsorship of events, drivers and teams both in the west and nationwide.

Presenters included NASCAR premier series champion Kurt Busch; Daytona 500 winner Ernie Irvan; Ford Performance Worldwide Director Mark Rushbrook; former ESPN television NASCAR reporter Dr. Jerry Punch; Weather Tech Laguna Seca Raceway CEO Tim McGrane and West Coast Stock Hall of Fame members John Bickford, Hershel McGriff, Richard Woodland and Kenny Takeuchi.

The Award of the Decade was jointly hosted by Brendan Gaughan and West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame member Bill McAnally. Bill McAnally Racing’s NAPA-sponsored NASCAR K&N Pro Series West team has won a record eight series titles and 95 races.

Ken Clapp, chairman and CEO of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, saluted the inductees by stating, “You all worked hard to build your careers. You all belong here.”

The annual induction ceremony is a cornerstone of the Hall’s charitable outreach. The 501(c) 3 organization has raised nearly $600,000 in giving since inception.

Motorsport industry figure Ralph Sheheen was master of ceremony, assisted by 51FIFTY hostess Teresa Fletchinger. 51FIFTY is the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s Official Lifestyle Brand. The Hall’s Official Wine, Eberle Vineyards, was served exclusively during dinner and the pre-event hospitality hour, sponsored by the South Point Hotel and Casino.

Highlights of the induction will be aired as a one-hour special on MAVTV. Two broadcasts are slated on the national cable channel, 3 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT on Aug. 27 and 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT Aug. 29.

The date of next year’s 17th West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame inductions will be announced in the near future. Voting on nominees for the Class of 2020 is to begin in November.

*****

WHAT THEY SAID:

Gary Bechtel, whose Diamond Ridge Racing team competed in both NASCAR’s West and premier series – “I’m a recovering NASCAR team owner. I relapsed twice. This sport is an addiction for me. I can’t say I won’t do it again.”

Dr. Jerry Punch in presenting to Gary Bechtel – He was a giver, preferring to remain in the shadows and let others back in glory. Some of those he helped went on to win Daytona 500s and NASCAR (premier series) championships.”

Jeff Gordon – “All the (sprint car) guys in California taught me how to be a real racer.”

John Bickford, on his stepson’s success – “The one thing as a parent I am most proud of is Jeff using this (racing) platform for giving back. (Like) the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation for pediatric cancer research.”

Wayne Wells – “I love everyone in this room. You are the reason why NASCAR sells lots of auto parts.”

George Follmer – “Running a stock car was a distinct challenge but it was a lot of fun.”

Joe Gibbs, who inducted his eldest son via video – “(J.D.’s) impact on a lot of people’s lives continues.” J.D. Gibbs passed away in January at age 47.

Mike Sargent, second generation racing star, on accepting for his father, Marshall Sargent – “He had a unique, hard-driving style. He had arms of steel and could outlast anyone.”

Doug McCoun, on an unsuccessful attempt to race on the east coast – “This guy flew me back and forth across the United States. The only problem was, he spent all of his money flying me back and forth, wining and dining me. We finally got a Busch (now Xfinity) car, got to go to Charlotte for testing and had the car repossessed.”

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.

For more information on the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame visit: www.WestCoastStockCarHallofFame.com.

Media Contacts:
Owen A. Kearns
okearns@bak.rr.com
661-342-2983

Sandra Vorse
sandravorse@gmail.com
704-264-9548

About World Wide Technology Raceway

World Wide Technology Raceway is the home of INDYCAR, NASCAR and NHRA racing in the St. Louis region. Located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis and covering more than 340 acres, Gateway Motorsports Park is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the area. World Wide Technology Raceway’s facilities include a 1/4-mile drag strip, 1.25-mile superspeedway, 1.6-mile road course, a state-of-the-art karting facility and a 14-acre, multi-purpose dirt off-road venue. World Wide Technology Raceway was the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Facility of the Year Award from the Race Track Business Conference and the 2017 Spirit of St. Louis Award from St. Louis Attractions Association. In 2018, owner and CEO Curtis Francois received the Innovator Award from the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission in recognition of his work for restoring World Wide Technology Raceway (known then as Gateway Motorsports Park) to prominence.

Contact: John Bisci
John.Bisci@wwtraceway.com
(618) 215-8888 ext. 119

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Eleven set for induction into West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame before record audience

Presenters include Daytona 500 winners Busch, Irvan and Indianapolis 500 champion Sullivan

Ken Clapp, Chairman and CEO
208 Montair Drive, Danville CA 94526
P 925-552-9887 / F 925-552- 9814 ckcdeee@gmail.com

NAPA, Calif., June 17, 2019 – A star-studded Class of 2019 will be inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame on Thursday, June 20, before the largest audience in the event’s 16 enshrinements.

The event, presented by World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, returns to the Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa, Calif. and serves as the kickoff to the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup and K&N Pro Series West weekend at nearby Sonoma Raceway.

For the first time, highlights of the induction will be aired as a one-hour special on MAVTV. Two broadcasts are slated on the national cable channel, 3 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT on Aug. 27 and 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT Aug. 29.

Elected for induction are NASCAR team owners Gary Bechtel and Bob Bruncati; the late Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs; four-time NASCAR premier series champion Jeff Gordon; 1985 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series national champion Doug McCoun; NASCAR K&N Pro Series champion Eric Norris.

Joining them are Heritage honorees – individuals from an earlier era of motorsport – NASCAR national and state of California champion Rick Henderson; multiple road racing champion George Follmer; hardtop and supermodified star Marshall Sargent and Indianapolis 500 winners Bob Sweikert and Bill Vukovich.

The roster of presenters includes several notable motorsports figures: West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame member and NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Hershel McGriff; Indianapolis 500 winner Danny Sullivan; NASCAR premier series champion and 2017 Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch; 1991 Daytona 500 winner and West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame member Ernie Irvin; and longtime NASCAR television journalist Dr. Jerry Punch.

Serving again as master of ceremonies is Ralph Sheheen, owner and publisher of National Speed Sport News and current television voice of Monster Energy AMA Supercross.

The annual affair serves as the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s major charity fundraiser. The Hall, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit, expects its giving since inception to reach $600,000 later this year.

“I see a huge upward trajectory for the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame,” said Chairman and CEO Ken Clapp. “This year’s event by far will see the largest number of guests – by quite a bit. We expect to be up at least 10 percent over last year’s audience, which was our previous largest.”

Clapp recognized the Hall’s roster of national sponsors that include Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Hoosier Tires and Sunoco.

The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame is supported by International Speedway Corp. and its west coast tracks Auto Club Speedway and ISM Raceway. Speedway Motorsports Inc. properties Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Sonoma Raceway also are participating sponsors.

Weekly and special events tracks from four western states are among sponsors: The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Evergreen (Wash.) Speedway, Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, Madera (Calif.) Speedway, Roseville (Calif.) Speedway, Stockton 99 (Calif.) Speedway and Tucson (Ariz.) Speedway.

Mike Curb and Curb Records, backers of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame since its inception in 2001, remains a major supporter. The event’s hospitality hour again will be hosted by the South Point Hotel & Casino.

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.

For more information on the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame visit: www.WestCoastStockCarHallofFame.com.

Media Contacts:
Owen A. Kearns
okearns@bak.rr.com
661-342-2983

Sandra Vorse
sandravorse@gmail.com
704-264-9548

About World Wide Technology Raceway

World Wide Technology Raceway is the home of INDYCAR, NASCAR and NHRA racing in the St. Louis region. Located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis and covering more than 340 acres, Gateway Motorsports Park is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the area. World Wide Technology Raceway’s facilities include a 1/4-mile drag strip, 1.25-mile superspeedway, 1.6-mile road course, a state-of-the-art karting facility and a 14-acre, multi-purpose dirt off-road venue. World Wide Technology Raceway was the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Facility of the Year Award from the Race Track Business Conference and the 2017 Spirit of St. Louis Award from St. Louis Attractions Association. In 2018, owner and CEO Curtis Francois received the Innovator Award from the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission in recognition of his work for restoring World Wide Technology Raceway (known then as Gateway Motorsports Park) to prominence.

Contact: John Bisci
John.Bisci@wwtraceway.com
(618) 215-8888 ext. 119

Posted in Blog, News | Comments Off on Eleven set for induction into West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame before record audience

51FIFTY named Official Lifestyle Brand of West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

BAKERSFIELD, Calif., May 28, 2019 – Central California Lifestyle Brand, 51FIFTY, has been named the Official Lifestyle Brand of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.

The Livingston, California brand becomes a major sponsor of the Hall’s June 20 Induction Ceremony presented by World Wide Technology Raceway at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif.

As the Official Lifestyle Brand, 51FIFTY will participate in the induction ceremonies and related West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame multimedia events.

The 2019 ceremony will induct Gary Bechtel, Bob Bruncati, J.D. Gibbs, Jeff Gordon, Doug McCoun and Eric Norris; as well as Heritage enshrinees George Follmer, Rick Henderson, Marshall Sargent, Bob Sweikert and Bill Vukovich.

“We are pleased that 51FIFTY and Carlos Vieira have elected to add the Hall to their portfolio,” said Ken Clapp, chairman and CEO of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. “The company long has used motorsports to build its brand. We believe our two organizations will mutually increase their visibility through this relationship.”

Vieira, founder and president of 51FIFTY, said, “I am proud to be part of an event that recognizes the accomplishments of racers, race teams and team owners from around the West Coast. We all take pride in what we do and make the necessary sacrifices because of our passion we have for this sport. A huge thank you to Ken Clapp for being behind this wonderful event and for helping shine a light on all those who will be inducted this year.” 

The 51FIFTY brand was founded in 2007. 51FIFTY is directly involved and sponsors sports such as car racing, motocross, BMX, skateboarding and MMA. It sponsors the Supercross Team, Rocky Mountain ATV/MC, as well as its own late model race team. It continues to grow its presence in the sporting and entertainment world and supports anyone who is passionate about pursuing their goals.

To be 51FIFTY, you are someone that does not quit, you are always pushing the limit, you have no fear, and you are always up to any challenge. 51FIFTY is for those who are crazy enough to go after their dreams and have the determination to make it happen. We call it “living the madness.”

The 51FIFTY brand also is a Platinum Sponsor of the Carlos Vieira Foundation, which is a 501 (c)(3) organization in California. (Non-Profit Organization) The foundation has multiple campaigns, Race for Autism, Race 2B Drug Free and Race To End The Stigma. 51FIFTY has supported these campaigns by donating a percentage of the products they sell and arranging events and fundraisers within the community. For more information on the foundation and its efforts, please visit carlosvieirafoundation.org

CONNECT WITH 51FIFTY
You can find 51FIFTY in stores across our territories and purchase our drinks and apparel online on our website 51fiftyltm.com. Social Media: Snapchat: livethemadness, Facebook.com/51FiftyEnergy, Twitter @51FiftyEnergy, and Instagram@51FiftyEnergy. Our toll-free number is 855-51-FIFTY.

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 an

nual 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.

For more information on the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame visit: www.WestCoastStockCarHallofFame.com

Media Contacts:
Owen A. Kearns
okearns@bak.rr.com

661-342-2983

Sandra Vorse
sandravorse@gmail.com

704-264-9548

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West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Members Hershel McGriff and Ken Clapp Joined Kyle Petty Charity Ride

‘92-year-old and 80-year-old NASCAR Greats Ride for Victory Junction Charities’

Ken Clapp, Chairman and CEO
208 Montair Drive, Danville CA 94526
P 925-552-9887 / F 925-552- 9814 ckcdeee@gmail.com

Dateline: West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame members Hershel McGriff and Ken Clapp joined the Kyle Petty Charity Ride to benefit Victory Junction Gang Camp. McGriff, 91 and Clapp, 80 participated for the second year in a row.

McGriff ran the entire approximately 3,700-mile trek starting in Seattle, Wash. with Clapp joining the 25th annual ride in Shreveport, La. and participated to the end of the event in Key Largo, Fla.  

“This is my fourth year (on the Kyle Petty Charity Ride) and of course I know the Pettys and I know it is a good cause,” McGriff said. “I’ve always been looking forward to the day since I drove for Lee Petty, Richard and then Kyle (Petty) that I’d drive sometime with Adam (Petty) and unfortunately that wasn’t to be. I’ve always liked kids, I have kids and I think it is a great cause so that is why I like to support it. I’ve been to the Camp (Victory Junction) it is a great deal! Man, the kids can do anything – horseback to whatever. I think this run is great; you meet so many nice people. They aren’t here to be competitive or anything and is a great way to raise money.”

“This event is amazing,” Chairman and CEO of the West Coast Stock Car of Fame Clapp said. “It is the second year in a row I’ve been a part of the Kyle Petty Charity ride. Everyone gets along, no arguments, at the end of the day no matter what the hardships is – the heat, the rain or whatever, it is worth it. It is all about the Victory Junction Camp.”

McGriff, born Dec. 14, 1927 in Bridal Veil, Ore. has exhibited a competitive passion that lasted longer than any driver in NASCAR history. His first race was the 1950 Southern 500, in the NASCAR premier series’ sophomore season, at the age of 22.  His final NASCAR race was at Tucson Raceway in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event last May at the age of 90.  

In 1991, McGriff was the recipient of the Bill France Award of Excellence. He was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. He has been on the NASCAR Hall of Fame ballot four consecutive years.

Both McGriff and Clapp will be on hand to enshrine the 11 inductees at the 2019 West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame induction ceremony presented by World Wide Technology Raceway at the Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa, Calif. June 20.

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.

For more information on the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame visit: www.WestCoastStockCarHallofFame.com.

Media Contacts:
Owen A. Kearns
okearns@bak.rr.com
661-342-2983

Sandra Vorse
sandravorse@gmail.com
704-264-9548

About World Wide Technology Raceway

World Wide Technology Raceway is the home of INDYCAR, NASCAR and NHRA racing in the St. Louis region. Located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis and covering more than 340 acres, Gateway Motorsports Park is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the area. World Wide Technology Raceway’s facilities include a 1/4-mile drag strip, 1.25-mile superspeedway, 1.6-mile road course, a state-of-the-art karting facility and a 14-acre, multi-purpose dirt off-road venue. World Wide Technology Raceway was the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Facility of the Year Award from the Race Track Business Conference and the 2017 Spirit of St. Louis Award from St. Louis Attractions Association. In 2018, owner and CEO Curtis Francois received the Innovator Award from the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission in recognition of his work for restoring World Wide Technology Raceway (known then as Gateway Motorsports Park) to prominence.

Contact: John Bisci
John.Bisci@wwtraceway.com
(618) 215-8888 ext. 11

Posted in Blog, News | Leave a comment

Follmer, Henderson, Sargent, Sweikert, Vukovich to enter West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

BAKERSFIELD, Calif., April 9, 2019 – Two Indianapolis 500 legends, one of the last century’s most versatile competitors and a pair of California stock car racing pioneers comprise the 2019 Heritage Class of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.

Bill Vukovich and Bob Sweikert, winners of three Indianapolis 500s between 1953 and 1955, are set for induction later this summer. They are joined by sports car champion George Follmer, two-hemisphere modified campaigner Marshall Sargent and Rick Henderson, NASCAR’s first West Coast national champion.

Their election brings to 11 this year’s West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame class of enshrinees. Induction ceremonies, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, will be held June 20 at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif. The event serves as kickoff to Sonoma Raceway’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West weekend.

Previously announced 2019 inductees are NASCAR team owners Gary Bechtel and Bob Bruncati; the late Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs; four-time NASCAR premier series champion Jeff Gordon; NASCAR weekly series national champion Doug McCoun and NASCAR K&N Pro Series champion Eric Norris.

“Phenomenal is an appropriate word to describe the Class of 2019,” said Ken Clapp, chairman and CEO of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. “Our Heritage inductees showed the nation and the world that some of racing’s greatest champions came out of California and the west. Their impact on the sport in the post-World War II era and the mid-20th century was nothing short of incredible.”

This year’s ceremonies mark the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s 16th inductions. The event is being held at the Meritage Resort and Spa for the seventh consecutive year. The Hall currently has enshrined 147 individuals, beginning with the 2002 inaugural class.

Biographies of the Heritage Class follow.

George Follmer

  • One of America’s most versatile motorsport figures in the middle of the 20th Century. He collected points in Formula 1, won SCCA Can-Am and Trans-Am titles, won a U.S. Auto Club Championship Car race at Phoenix Raceway and posted top-five finishes in NASCAR’s premier series.
  • Now 83, was born in Arizona, but moved with his family to Southern California shortly thereafter. He raced out of Arcadia, where he owned an auto dealership. He won SCCA’s United States Road Racing Championship in 1965, the organization’s Can-Am title in 1972, subbing for Mark Donohue in Roger Penske’s Porsche 917/10 and SCCA Trans-Am titles in 1972 (Javelin) and 1976 (Porsche).
  • Follmer spent a single season in F1 – 1973 – driving Don Nichols’ UOP Shadow and collected a third-place finish at the Spanish Grand Prix.
  • A year later, Follmer took the wheel of Bud Moore’s Fords in a 13-race NASCAR Cup schedule, logging a fourth-place finish in Atlanta and fifths at Dover and Rockingham.
  • He competed in six NASCAR K&N Pro Series West events – including dirt track events in Gardena and Vallejo, Calif. Follmer also won an International Race of Champions (IROC) event at Riverside International Raceway.

Rick Henderson

  • Petaluma, Calif. competitor was first west coast driver to win a NASCAR national racing championship, capturing the 1959 sportsman title.
  • Henderson also won the State of California Championship in the same season, a title he previously won in 1957 and subsequently won in 1961-62.
  • He won five additional track championships with three coming at San Jose (Calif.) Speedway, one at Kearney Bowl in Fresno, Calif., and one at Santa Rosa (Calif.) Speedway.
  • Henderson competed in a trio of NASCAR premier series/Pacific Coast Late Model events at Oakland and Bay Meadows in San Mateo, Calif. in 1954 at age 22. Henderson passed away in 2001 at age 69.

Marshall Sargent

  • A true international star, the Salinas, Calif. native won an estimated 500 feature races in the United States and Australia during a 20-year racing career.
  • Racing out of San Jose, starred in hard tops and supermodifieds and won the NASCAR State of California championship in 1960. He won 88 races at the old San Jose Speedway, a paved third-mile track, including 1960 and 1963 Johnny Key Classics.
  • Sargent was the 1960 San Jose champion and won titles at Alviso, Salinas and Sacramento.
  • Sargent also competed in the NASCAR premier series, qualifying for the 1961 Daytona 500. He had three top-10 finishes in 12 appearances, the best a seventh at Eureka, Calif. in 1957.
  • Sargent won a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at the Gardena (Calif.) Stadium in 1957, driving the Howard Cams Chevrolet. Sargent died in 1990 at age 59.

Bob Sweikert

  • Born in Los Angeles on May 20, 1926, Sweikert grew up in Hayward, Calif., across the bay from San Francisco. At age 16, became a mechanic at a local Ford dealership. Following service during World War II he opened his own repair shop and built his first track roadster.
  • In 1947, ran first race for prize money at Oakland Speedway in which he finished second. Won Bay Cities Racing Association indoor midget championship in 1949. Began racing sprint cars throughout United States.
  • Attempted but failed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1950 and 1951. Made first of five “500” starts the following year, finishing 26th with a broken differential.
  • Won the 1955 “500” in the John Zink Special, leading 86 laps – the only laps he would lead at Indianapolis. In 1955 he captured the original “Triple Crown” – Indianapolis 500, AAA Big Car National Championship and the Midwest Sprint Car Championship, the only driver to do so.
  • After finishing sixth in the 1956 “500,” Sweikert died in a sprint car accident on June 17, 1956 at Salem (Ind.) Speedway.

Bill Vukovich

  • Born on Dec. 13, 1918 in Alameda, Calif. Vukovich grew up in Fresno. The family immigrated from Yugoslavia, changing its surname from Yukurovich. Was known variously as the Mad Russian – a hard charger – and the Silent Serb – a cool demeanor.
  • As a teen during the Depression, began driving the family Model T in farm fields and soon raced modified cars for fellow Fresnan Fred Gearhart. Raced midgets and suffered injuries that ultimately kept him out of World War II.
  • Won United Racing Association’s West Coast midget championship in 1946-47 becoming the AAA National Midget champion in 1950. Attempted but failed to qualify for the 1950 Indianapolis 500 and dropped out of the following year’s “500” after just 29 laps.
  • In 1952, driving for sportsman Howard Keck, Vukovich led on the 92nd lap, only to fall out with steering failure. Vukovich won the 1953 and 1954 “500s.” Setting a race speed record of 130.84 mph in 1954, Vukovich became the third driver to win the “500” back-to-back. Ran the Pan American Road Race in the fall of 1954 but failed to finish.
  • Driving for Lindsey Hopkins, led the 1955 “500” by a large margin but was fatally injured when unable to avoid a multi-car accident on the 57th lap of the May 30 race.

For additional information about the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, please visit WestCoastStockCarHallofFame.com.

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.

Media Contacts:

Owen A. Kearns
okearns@bak.rr.com
661-342-2983

Sandra Vorse
sandravorse@gmail.com
704-264-9548

Posted in Blog, News | Comments Off on Follmer, Henderson, Sargent, Sweikert, Vukovich to enter West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

Central California’s Eberle Winery named Official Vintner of West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

BAKERSFIELD, Calif., April 2, 2019 – The award-winning Eberle Winery has been named the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s official vintner.

The Paso Robles, Calif. winery, which received the prestigious Robert Mondavi Hospitality Award in early March, will provide a selection of its finest vintages to dinner guests at the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s June 20 induction ceremonies, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif.

“The Hall is extremely pleased to welcome aboard Eberle, not only a fine vintner based in a beautiful part of California but wonderful people to partner with us as they become the Official Wine of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame,” said Ken Clapp, West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame chairman and CEO. “We look forward to a long and tasteful relationship with Eberle.”

“On our end,” says winery owner Gary Eberle, “this was a fantastic opportunity to get our wines in front of an audience that represents some of the best names in stock car racing. We strive to be the best in our industry and we know members of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame have that same passion as well.”

Eberle, established in 1979, is a family-owned business headed by Gary Eberle, a Pittsburgh-area native and onetime defensive football star at Penn State University. He holds degrees from Penn State and Louisiana State University, awards as a National Science Fellow and an enology doctorate from University of California Davis.

The Estrella River winery and tasting room was the first from San Luis Obispo County to distribute nationally. Eberle also was the first to produce a 100 percent Syrah in the United States. Wine Spectator magazine proclaimed him as the “Johnny Appleseed of Syrah” in the 1990s as virtually all of the Syrah grown in the U.S. come from Eberle’s cuttings.

Eberle offers an array of limited production wines including: Chardonnay, Viognier, Cotes-du-Robles Blanc, Muscat Canelli, Zinfandel, Syrah, Cotes-du-Robles Rouge and its flagship, Cabernet Sauvignon. Its tasting room located on Highway 46 east of Paso Robles, continues to offer no charge sampling to its guests.

The winery can be found on the Internet and at Instagram at eberlewinery.com. Follow on Twitter @EberleBoar. Eberle’s telephone number is 805-238-9607.

June’s West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame inductions are the 16th to be held since the organization’s creation in 2001. Its six announced enshrinees are NASCAR team owners Gary Bechtel and Bob Bruncati; Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs; four-time NASCAR premier series champion Jeff Gordon; NASCAR weekly series national champion Doug McCoun and NASCAR K&N Pro Series champion Eric Norris.

An additional five Heritage inductees – industry figures from the pre-1971 era – will be announced in early April. The induction ceremonies kick off the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West weekend at nearby Sonoma Raceway.

For additional information about the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, please visit WestCoastStockCarHallofFame.com.

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.

Media Contacts:

Owen A. Kearns
okearns@bak.rr.com
661-342-2983

Sandra Vorse
sandravorse@gmail.com
704-264-9548

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Bechtel, Bruncati, Gordon, McCoun, Norris elected to West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

BAKERSFIELD, Calif., March 16, 2019 – Four-time NASCAR premier series champion Jeff Gordon is among five competitors elected for induction into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.
 
Gordon, currently an analyst for FOX Sports’ coverage of NASCAR national series races, is the second driver to be elected to the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The Vallejo, Calif. native joins Ron Hornaday Jr., Class of 2013, in both halls of fame.
 
Also elected by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s board of directors as the Class of 2019 are NASCAR team owners Gary Bechtel and Bob Bruncati; NASCAR weekly racing series national champion Doug McCoun; and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion Eric Norris.
 
The late J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing and elected to the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2018, also will be enshrined. His induction was postponed at the request of Gibbs’ family. The organization also will induct its second Heritage class of five individuals whose careers largely ended prior to 1970. The Heritage inductees will be named in April.
 
The Class of 2019 – the hall’s 16th – will be enshrined June 20 during the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremonies, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, at the Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa, Calif. The event leads into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and K&N Pro Series West weekend at nearby Sonoma Raceway.
 
“The Board of Directors of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame is honored to recognize this diversified group of individuals who have made such significant contributions to our great sport,” said Ken Clapp, Chairman and CEO of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

 

Gary Bechtel

  • San Francisco native Gary Bechtel formed Diamond Ridge Racing in 1992, competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West with series veteran John Krebs.
  • The team finished fourth in 1992 and third in 1994 championship standings.
  • Diamond Ridge fielded full-season entries in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series from 1994 through 1997 with Steve Grissom, Greg Sacks and Robert Pressley among others. The team’s best finish, fourth, came with Jeff Green in 1997 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
  • Diamond Ridge’s greatest success came in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, posting 10 victories with Elliott Sadler (five), Grissom (three) and Sacks and Green.

The team merged with Joe Gibbs Racing in 1999 with Jeff Purvis finishing sixth in the championship.

 

Bob Bruncati

  • Born in New York City in 1943, Bob Bruncati moved to Southern California as a young man and became interested in sports car racing with the California Sports Car Club SCCA.
  • In 2000, he formed Sunrise Ford Racing so his sons could race late model stocks at the Irwindale Events Center.
  • The owner of Ford dealerships in the San Fernando Valley and Fontana, Calif., Bruncati’s team graduated to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series in 2006.
  • Sunrise Ford Racing has competed in more than 284 events, winning 29 times and capturing series championships in 2009 (driver Jason Bowles) and 2013 and 2018 (Derek Thorn). The team’s three drivers ranked 1-2 and 6 in the 2018 championship.

Bruncati’s drivers have posted 14 top-five championship finishes since 2007. He has fielded cars for five Sunoco Rookies of the Year – Bowles, Luis Martinez Jr., Austin Dyne, Dylan Lupton and James Bickford.

 

Jeff Gordon

  • Four-time NASCAR premier series champion Jeff Gordon is the first west coast-born titleholder in NASCAR’s premier series.
  • Gordon won his first championship at age 23 in 1993, his third full season in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. He claimed back-to-back titles in 1997-98 and his final crown in 2001.
  • The Vallejo, Calif. native drove Hendrick cars to 11 top-10 championship finishes, winning 93 times in 805 starts – third all-time in NASCAR’s premier series. Gordon posted 325 top-five and 477 top-10 finishes and won 81 poles.
  • He won five NASCAR Xfinity Series races, an International Race of Champions (IROC) event in 1998 and shared the Rolex 24 at Daytona-winning Cadillac DP.i-V.R. in 2017.

Gordon, 47, was enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January 2019 and is an analyst for FOX Sports. His step-father, John Bickford, was elected to the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2016.

 

Doug McCoun

  • Doug McCoun was the first west coast driver to win a NASCAR Weekly Racing Series national championship (1985) under the contemporary points format and second to capture a NASCAR national title from the west.
  • The Prunedale, Calif. resident, driving a late model stock car owned by his father, won 27 of the 53 races he entered at Watsonville and Merced fairgrounds dirt tracks and other northern California ovals in 1985. McCoun also won the organization’s Pacific Coast Region title in 1986.
  • Competing in the NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour, McCoun, 60, finished four times among the top five in the championship, his best a pair of third-place finishes. He logged nine wins and 49 top-five and top-10 finishes in the late model touring series.

McCoun has been a professional firefighter in Monterey (Calif.) County for three decades.  

 

 Eric Norris

  • Eric Norris of Redondo Beach, Calif. balanced a career in the entertainment industry with a successful stint in NASCAR racing.
  • Norris, the youngest son of actor and martial arts champion Chuck Norris, won the 2002 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship.
  • He competed in the series from 1996 through 2012, posting three wins, two poles, 18 top-five and 32 top-10 finishes.
  • The majority of his success came in Ultra Wheels Fords, owned by West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Class of 2010 inductee Jim Smith.

Norris, 53, also competed in the NASCAR Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck series. Norris has acted in a number of motion pictures and television productions as well as working as stuntman, stunt coordinator and second and main unit director

About the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame:
For additional information about the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, please visit: 
WestCoastStockCarHallofFame.com

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.  

 Media Contacts:

Owen A. Kearns    661-342-2983      okearns@bak.rr.com   

Sandra Vorse         704-264-9548     sandravorse@gmail.com

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MEDIA ADVISORY

The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame will announce its Class of 2019 inductees March 16 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. in conjunction with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series events.

When: 10 a.m. PDT/1 p.m. EDT, Saturday, March 16

Where: Auto Club Speedway Media Center

Who: West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Chairman Ken Clapp unveil the names of five enshrinees as voted by the organization’s Board of Directors.

Release with photos of inductees and a short video presentation will be available at the press conference and following on the Hall of Fame’s website, www.westcoaststockcarhalloffame.com.

The 2019 induction ceremony, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, will be held June 20 at the Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa, Calif. in conjunction with Sonoma Raceway’s MENCS and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West weekend.

For additional information please contact:

Owen A. Kearns
661-342-2983
okearns@bak.rr.com 

Sandra Vorse
704-264-9548
sandravorse@gmail.com

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Claridge, Giese, Williams elected to West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Board of Directors

BAKERSFIELD, Calif., February 25, 2019 – The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame has elected a trio of new members to its Board of Directors. Two of the new members, Ray Claridge and Jim Williams, previously were inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. The third, Julie Giese, was named president of ISM Raceway near Phoenix in 2018.

Their election increases the board’s membership to 25.

“It has been the intention of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame since its beginning to be able to establish a board of directors, the members of which, have made significant contributions in various types of businesses all over the country,” said Chairman Ken Clapp. “We are finally in a very fine position with this elite board to guide the Hall to many new, positive changes in the years ahead.”

Claridge, inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2006, owned Golden West Motorsports. His Pontiacs won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship in 1996 with Lance Hooper and twice finished second in the points race (1997-98) with Sean Woodside. Over thee season and 41 races, Golden West Motorsports logged nine wins, 28 top fives, 35 top 10s and seven poles.

The Los Angeles-area resident owned Cinema Vehicle Services for the film industry and upon its sale in 2015 had grown to a 7.5-acre facility with 42,000 square feet of shop facilities and a fleet of 1,100 rental vehicles.

Giese joined ISM’s parent company, International Speedway Corp., in 2001 and has taken on roles with increasing responsibility, from Director of Public Relations at Watkins Glen International to Vice President of Marketing and Communication at Daytona International Speedway where she spent 12 years overseeing all aspects of consumer marketing, branding, creative, advertising, digital, public relations and event entertainment for the “World Center of Racing.”

Prior to assuming the president at ISM Raceway, Giese served as the Managing Director of Business Operations for ISC Design and Development, leading the coordination between ISC’s 13 race tracks, internal corporate department and the Design & Development team on the Company’s significant capital investment and redevelopment projects.

Williams, inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2015, has spent most of his adult life in the food industry working himself up through every aspect to the position of President of Golden State Foods including acquiring the public company through a private transaction in 1980.

In 1985 he began a relationship with Roger Penske starting with a sponsorship arrangement. In 1988 he that broadened to co-investing in track ventures that included California Speedway – now Auto Club Speedway, in Fontana, Calif. – among others. It began a 30-year friendship that remains today. He has associated with people of all aspects of the motorsports industry including the late Bill France Jr. and Les Richter, as well as Penske, Walt Czarnecki, West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame member Parnelli Jones as well as short track owners and drivers.

The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame will induct its Class of 2019 on June 20 at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif. The ceremonies, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, open the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and K&N Pro Series West weekend at nearby Sonoma Raceway. The five new inductees will be introduced March 16 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

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.

Contact:
Owen A. Kearns
661-342-2983
okearns@bak.rr.com
www.westcoaststockcarhalloffame.com

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Gordon, Mears among 12 finalists for West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s 2019 Class

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (January 9, 2019) – Four-time NASCAR premier series champion Jeff Gordon and four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears headline 12 finalists for election into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.

Gordon and Mears are among six first-time nominees to emerge from the Hall’s first round of voting that ended Dec. 31, 2018. They are joined on the final ballot by Mike Bliss, Bob Bruncati, Gary Bechtel and Tom Sneva.

Previous nominees advancing to the final vote are George Follmer, Tom Gloy, Tommy Kendall, Doug McCoun, Eric Norris and Jim Pettit II.

Final voting by the Hall’s board of directors continues through Jan. 31. to select the five 2019 inductees, whose identities will be announced during the March 15-17 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

Five Heritage candidates from racing’s historic era also will be inducted in the Class of 2019. Their selection will be announced later this spring.

The Class of 2019 will be enshrined June 20, 2019 at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif. The event, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, again accompanies the annual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West weekend at nearby Sonoma Raceway.

“Some of the greatest names in American racing history appear on the final ballot, making this year’s induction ceremonies one of the best in the history of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame,” said Ken Clapp, the organization’s chairman. “Each of the 20 nominees on the first-round ballot received votes. A three-nominee tie for 10th has resulted in 12 names being forwarded for the Board’s final vote.

“Each finalist deserves to be inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. Making a decision on the ultimate five names will be an extremely difficult task for our directors.”

For additional information about the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame or to obtain details about table sponsorship for the 2019 awards dinner, please visit WestCoastStockCarHallofFame.com or contact Owen A. Kearns at 661-342-2983, okearns@bak.rr.com. A limited number of tickets will be made available to the public beginning April 1, 2019.

Biographies for the 12 finalists follow (*first time nominee):

Gary Bechtel. San Francisco native Gary Bechtel formed Diamond Ridge Racing in 1992, competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West with series veteran John Krebs. Over three seasons, Krebs fashioned 12 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes including a trio of seconds and a fourth at Texas World Speedway in a 1994 combination event with the Automobile Racing Club of American (ARCA). The team finished fourth in 1992 and third in 1994 championship standings. Moving east, Diamond Ridge fielded full-season entries in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series from 1994 through 1997 with Steve Grissom, Greg Sacks and Robert Pressley among others. The team’s best finish, fourth, came with Jeff Green in 1997 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Diamond Ridge’s best success came in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, posting 10 victories with Elliott Sadler (five), Grissom (three) and Sacks and Green. Grissom won at Daytona while Sacks was victorious at Talladega Super Speedway, both in 1996. The team merged with Joe Gibbs Racing in 1999 with Jeff Purvis finishing sixth in the championship.*

 Bob Bruncati. Born in New York City in 1943, Bob Bruncati moved to Southern California as a young man and became interested in sports car racing with the California Sports Car Club SCCA. He raced a Turner roadster for a number of years, until his sons Tony and James became interested in go-karts. In 2000, he formed Sunrise Ford Racing so the boys could race late model stocks at the Irwindale Events Center. The owner of Ford dealerships in the San Fernando Valley and Fontana, Calif., Bruncati’s team graduated to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series (with James) in 2006. Sunrise Ford Racing has competed in more than 284 events, winning 29 times and capturing series championships in 2009 (driver Jason Bowles) and 2013 and 2018 (Derek Thorn). The team’s three drivers ranked 1-2 and 6 in the 2018 championship. Bruncati’s drivers have posted 14 top-five championship finishes since 2007. He has fielded cars for five Sunoco Rookies of the Year – Bowles, Luis Martinez Jr., Austin Dyne, Dylan Lupton and James Bickford.*

Mike Bliss. Mike Bliss won national championships in U.S. Auto Club (USAC) and NASCAR – part of a very small fraternity to accomplish the feat. Bliss, 53, began racing near his Milwaukie, Ore. hometown, at the old Portland Speedway and other northwest tracks. Open-wheel racing beckoned and Bliss eventually reached USAC’s Silver Crown division to become its 1993 champion. His 10 victories rank co-10th in Silver Crown rankings. Bliss changed gears with the creation of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. He won 13 times and captured the 2002 championship, driving for fellow Northwesterner Dave Fuge. Bliss became a fulltime Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series competitor, eventually participating in a combined 538 events. He finished fourth in Richmond Raceway’s 2004 spring Cup race driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Bliss won twice in the Xfinity Series in which he logged 29 top-five and 76 top-10 finishes and three times finished top-five in point standings. Both victories came at Charlotte Motor Speedway, for JGR in 2004 and James Finch in 2011. He was selected to compete in the 2003 International Race of Champions and won the Chicagoland Speedway round.*

George Follmer. George Follmer was one of America’s most versatile motorsport figures in the middle of the 20th Century. He collected points in Formula One; won SCCA Can-Am and Trans-Am titles; won a U.S. Auto Club Championship Car race at Phoenix Raceway and posted top-five finishes in NASCAR’s premier series. Follmer, now 84, was born in Arizona but moved with his family to Southern California shortly thereafter. He raced out of Arcadia, where he owned an auto dealership. He won SCCA’s United States Road Racing Championship in 1965; the organization’s Can-Am title in 1972, subbing for Mark Donohue in Roger Penske’s Porsche 917/10; and SCCA Trans-Am titles in 1972 (Javelin) and 1976 (Porsche). Follmer spent a single season in F1 – 1973 – driving Don Nichols’ UOP Shadow and collected a third-place podium at the Spanish Grand Prix. A year later, Follmer took the wheel of Bud Moore’s Fords in a 13-race NASCAR Cup schedule, logging a fourth-place finish in Atlanta and fifths at Dover and Rockingham. He competed in six NASCAR K&N Pro Series West events – including dirt track events in Gardena and Vallejo, Calif. Follmer also won an International Race of Champions (IROC) event at Riverside International Raceway.

Tom Gloy. Tom Gloy of Lafayette, Calif. was among the most successful Sports Car Club of America Trans-Am Series competitors during the 1980s. He won the 1984 championship driving a Mercury Capri for Roush Racing. Gloy competed in 17 races that year, winning three and finishing among the top five in 12 others. He was the 1979 Formula Atlantic champion and competed in one Indianapolis 500. Gloy also was chosen to compete in the International Race of Champions. Gloy, 71, entered Ford F150s in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series for three seasons. His drivers collected three top-five finishes including a second by Tony Roper at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.

Jeff Gordon. Four-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon is the first west coast- born titleholder in NASCAR’s premier series. Gordon won his first championship at age 23 in 1993, his third full season in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. He claimed back-to-back titles in 1997-98 and his final crown in 2001. The Vallejo, Calif. native, whose family moved to Pittsboro, Ind. so the teenage Gordon could race sprint cars, drove Hendrick cars to 11 top-10 championship finishes, winning 93 times in 805 starts – third all-time in NASCAR’s premier series. Gordon posted 325 top-five and 477 top-10 finishes and won 81 poles. He won five NASCAR Xfinity Series races, an International Race of Champions (IROC) event in 1998 and shared the Rolex 24 at Daytona-winning Cadillac DP.i-V.R. in 2017. Gordon, 47, will be enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January 2019. His step-father, John Bickford, was elected to the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2016.*

Tommy Kendall. Tommy Kendall, a Santa Monica native, dominated the SCCA Trans-Am Series in the 1990s, capturing four driving titles in the first eight years of the decade (1990, 1995-96-97). From 1995 to 1997, while piloting Jack Roush-owned Ford Mustangs, Kendall claimed 16 wins and 27 poles in 38 Trans-Am races. In 1997, on his way to his fourth and final Trans-Am title, Kendall scored wins in the first 11 of 13 races that season. Kendall also made 14 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts, mostly on road courses with a best finish of eighth at Watkins Glen International and made two appearances in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Kendall, 62, also is a television broadcaster.

Doug McCoun. Doug McCoun was the first west coast driver to win a NASCAR Weekly Racing Series national championship (1985) under contemporary points format and second to capture a NASCAR national title from the west. The Prunedale, Calif. resident, driving a late model stock car owned by his father, won 27 of the 53 races he entered at Watsonville and Merced fairgrounds dirt tracks and other northern California ovals in 1985. McCoun also won the organization’s Pacific Coast Region title in 1986. Competing in the NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour, McCoun, 60, finished four times among the top five in the championship, his best a pair of third-place finishes. He logged nine wins and 49 top-five and top-10 finishes in the late model touring series.

Rick Mears. Transplanted Kansan Rick Mears grew up in Bakersfield, Calif., the youngest member of the racing Mears Gang comprised of father Bill and older brother Roger. Rick drove a Chevrolet stock car at Bakersfield Speedway, where Roger was a frequent winner. The pair excelled in dune buggy competition at Ascot Park and ultimately desert racing throughout the southwest United States and in Baja California. West Coast Stock Car Hall of Famer Parnelli Jones took an interest in Rick, who shared Jones’ off-road trucks and posted multiple class victories. Safety equipment manufacturer Bill Simpson introduced him to U.S. Auto Club championship cars, leading to a career-long association with Roger Penske. With Penske, Mears became one of just three to win the Indianapolis 500 four times – and continues to hold the record for poles (six) and front row starts (11). He won the 500 in 1979, 1983, 1989 and 1991. He won three USAC titles (seven wins) and three Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) titles (26 wins). Mears was selected to four International Race of Champions (IROC), finishing second at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Following retirement, Mears, 47, has remained in a consulting role with Team Penske.*

Eric Norris. Eric Norris of Redondo Beach, Calif. balanced a career in the entertainment industry with a successful stint in NASCAR racing. Norris, the youngest son of actor and martial arts champion Chuck Norris, won the 2002 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship. He competed in the series from 1996 through 2012, posting three wins, two poles, 18 top-five and 32 top-10 finishes. The majority of his success came in Ultra Wheels Fords. Norris, 53, also competed in the NASCAR Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck series. Norris has acted in a number of motion pictures and television productions as well as working as stuntman, stunt coordinator and second and main unit director.

Jim Pettit II won the 1984 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Pacific Coast Region championship at age 19. Pettit was one of the most accomplished northern California dirt track late model stock car competitors, competing at tracks in San Jose, Antioch, Watsonville and Merced. During his championship season – in which total points/starts were tabulated – Pettit raced on Saturday in California, then with two crew members towed overnight to Portland Speedway, barely making it in time for a Sunday afternoon event. The Seaside, Calif. driver won two NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour championships back to back (2004-05), winning eight times. Pettit, 53, finished among the top 10 in more than 50 percent of his Southwest Tour starts (54 of 103).

Tom Sneva. From supermodifieds to the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500, Spokane, Wash.’s Tom Sneva more than earned the nickname “The Gas Man.” Sneva, a high school math teacher and bus driver after graduating from Eastern Washington State University, was a top competitor on the Canadian-American Modified Racing Association (CAMRA) before catching the eye of U.S. Auto Club owners – most notably Roger Penske and later West Coast Stock Car Hall of Famer George Bignotti. Driving for Team Penske, Sneva became The Captain’s first champion (USAC, 1977). He won back-to-back 500 poles in 1977-78, ultimately winning the race in 1982 – the last 500 triumph by chief mechanic Bignotti. Sneva won 10 Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) events, notably four of them at ISM Raceway in Phoenix. He competed in eight NASCAR premier series races with a best finish of seventh in the 1983 Daytona 500. Sneva, 70, was selected to five International Race of Champions (IROC) events, posting a best finish of second in 1985 at Daytona International Speedway.*

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.

Over the past three years, the induction has helped raise a half million dollars for charitable causes. The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The group’s current list of charities and foundations – expected to increase – counts 25 different groups. They include charities dedicated to health, including autism research, children’s cancer, breast cancer and Parkinson’s; education; history; animal rescue; homelessness and military and veterans’ assistance.

For a complete list of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s charity partners please go to http://westcoaststockcarhalloffame.com/our-charities/.

Contact:
Owen A. Kearns
661-342-2983
okearns@bak.rr.com

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