Jeff Gordon among 20 nominees for West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s 2019 inductions

AVONDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 10, 2018) – Twenty individuals reflecting the varied history of the motor racing industry, including four-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, have been nominated for induction into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.

The organization’s ballot, from which the five inductees ultimately will be chosen, contains a pair of NASCAR national touring champions, a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West owner champion and two Indianapolis 500 winners. The list spans historic (pre-1970) and modern eras of the sport. Seven individuals are nominated for the first time.

First-time nominees are Gordon; multiple NASCAR national series team owner Gary Bechtel; NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series champion Mike Bliss; NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship owner Bob Bruncati; NASCAR K&N Pro Series champion Mike David; four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears and Indianapolis 500 winner Tom Sneva.

Nominated again after appearing on previous ballots are Ernie Cope, Ron Esau, Garrett Evans, George Follmer, Tom Gloy, Lance Hooper, Tommy Kendall, Doug McCoun, Eric Norris, Jim Pettit II, Greg Pickett and Boris Said.

Joe Gibbs Racing executive J.D. Gibbs, 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 will induct its second Heritage class of five individuals whose careers largely ended prior to 1970. The Heritage inductees will be named in spring 2019.

“We are rapidly approaching our 20th year as the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame and I can’t recall ever having a stouter list of nominees from many walks of competition who have touched all forms of stock car racing,” said West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame chairman Ken Clapp. “As I look at these 20 nominations, I am not yet sure how I’m going to vote. I am certain all of our board members will be equally challenged.”

The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame annually nominates for induction worthy individuals who competed in traditional stock car racing as well as other full-bodied racing vehicles primarily on road courses under international and national sanction by the FIA, International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), GRAND-AM and the Sports Car Club of America.

The Board of Directors’ first round of balloting, from which 10 semi-finalists are to be chosen, begins later this month and ends Jan. 4, 2019. Final voting begins Jan. 11, 2019 and ends Jan. 31, 2019 with the five inductees to be named during the March 8-10, 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekend at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.

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.            

Here are the 20 nominees by category (*first time nominee):

Driver/Promoter

Garrett Evans Three-time NASCAR Elite Series Northwest Tour champion (1986, 89, 94). All-time series victory leader (50). All-time pole winner (55). Evans also has two Southwest Tour wins. Competed in NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. Continues to operate Wenatchee Valley (Wash.) Raceway.

Car Owner

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.*

Competition Director/Crew Chief

Ernie Cope. Ernie Cope, 49, is a native of Spanaway, Wash. whose father and uncle built professional dragster engines. His cousin, Derrike, is a Daytona 500 winner. Cope began racing in the NASCAR Northwest Series at the age of 19, posting 24 top-five finishes in the late model stock car touring series. He finished third in the championship in 1994 and moved to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West the following year, scoring two victories in Lew Miller’s Chevrolet en route to a second-place points finish. Cope swapped driving gloves for a crew chief’s headset, competing in more than 400 national series races. He won nine times in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series – six of them with Kevin Harvick. Cope’s NASCAR Xfinity Series record shows 285 races, 16 poles, 15 wins, 106 top fives and 170 top 10s. His drivers finished runnerup in two seasons – Elliott Sadler in 2011 and Chase Elliott in 2015. Cope currently is competition director at JTG Daugherty Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Drivers

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.*

Dave Byrd. Dave Byrd is one of the most versatile west coast stock car drivers of his era, having won six championships on dirt and six championships on pavement at seven different tracks. In 1978, he was offered, but turned down, the Rod Osterlund-owned NASCAR premier series car that ultimately went to Dale Earnhardt. Byrd’s crowning achievement was winning the 1983 NASCAR Pacific Coast Region championship, driving a late model stock car on several northern California dirt tracks. The Los Gatos, Calif. resident also raced for many years in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and Southwest series, posting two top-five and 12 top-10 finishes on the latter tour. His last big victory was in 2002 when he won the Duel in Desert at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This is by far the biggest IMCA race anywhere in the western United States. Sixteen states were represented with 144 drivers in attendance. Byrd, 60, has at least 140 feature race victories over a career spanning five decades – 1976 through 2015.

Mike David. Mike David of Modesto, Calif. is the 2007 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion. David, 51, competed in 91 K&N Pro Series events between 2001 and 2012, most of them behind the wheel of the Bennett Wineries Ford owned by 2013 West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame inductee Randy Lynch. Three of his seven victories – including David’s first, in 2004 – came at the Stockton 99 Speedway, a quarter-mile paved oval in California’s Central Valley. David previously captured a Stockton late model title. His final series victory came at ISM Raceway in 2008 driving Lynch’s Toyota. David’s K&N Pro Series line shows 43 top-five and 66 top-10 finishes and three poles. He finished third in the 2006 Toyota All-Star Showdown at the Irwindale Events Center and also competed in the NASCAR Elite Southwest Series with a best result of second at Madera (Calif.) Speedway.*

Ron Esau. Ron Esau won inaugural NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour championship (1986) and finished third in the 1987 standings, winning six times in the late model stock car series. The 64-year-old Lakeside, Calif. native ran 55 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West races from 1975-98, posting three poles, eight top fives and 20 top 10s. His best finishes, two seconds, came at Willow Springs (Calif.) Raceway and Tucson (Ariz.) Raceway Park. He competed full-time in the series in 1983-84 finishing ninth and fifth, respectively. Esau also competed in the NASCAR premier series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series, with a ninth-place finish in the latter subbing for injured Ken Schrader at Evergreen (Wash.) Speedway in 1995. Esau’s best Cup finish (in 17 starts) was a 14th-place performance in the 1976 Winston West 500 at Riverside International Raceway. Esau won the 1978 El Cajon Stock Car Racing Association (Calif.) sportsman championship.

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.*

Lance Hooper. Hooper is a member of the “Palmdale Posse,” a group of NASCAR racers that raced out of Palmdale, Calif. headed by West Coast Stock Car Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. The 51-year-old Hooper, like Hornaday, is a second-generation competitor whose family raced stock cars throughout Southern California and called Saugus (Calif.) Speedway home. Driving for West Coast Stock Car Hall of Famer Ray Claridge, Hooper won championships in consecutive seasons – NASCAR Elite Southwest Series in 1995 and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West in 1996. Hooper won four times in K&N; seven times in the late model Southwest Series. Later, Hooper competed in all three NASCAR national series, finishing 10th in a NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series event at Nazareth (Pa.) Speedway. Hooper transitioned to a crew chief’s role with nearly 100 events over seven seasons. He posted top-10 finishes with Clay Rogers and Jeff Green and spent a full season at ThorSport Racing with Kerry Earnhardt.

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).

Greg Pickett. Greg Pickett of Alamo, Calif. is the only driver to have won SCCA Trans-Am races in four decades of competition. The 71-year-old Pickett won the 1978 T-A II championship posting four victories in a Chevrolet Corvette. In 1984, Pickett gave Jack Roush his first T-A victory at Sonoma Raceway. Pickett counts a pair of 12 Hours of Sebring class victories (1987, 2010). As an owner in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), Pickett’s Muscle Milk stable counted 21 victories and two team and driver championships. He also competed in a pair of NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Series events finishing sixth at the Los Angeles Coliseum and Sonoma Raceway.

Boris Said. Boris Said is best known for his sports car successes while being an acknowledged “road course ringer” in NASCAR. Said, born in New York City but living throughout his career in Carlsbad, Calif., won the 2002 SCCA Trans-Am championship and the 2004 Rolex Grand-Am GT title. Driving a BMW, Said shared back to back GT class victories in the 1997-98 24 Hours of Daytona. Said won 10 times in the Rolex Series. He competed in the LeMans 24 Hour race, won in GT cars in Germany and also raced in Australian Super Cars. Said, whose father Bob was a pioneer post-World War II sports car driver, won poles in all three NASCAR national series. Although recognized for his road racing prowess, Said captured the pole for the 2006 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coke 400 at Daytona International Speedway and finished fourth. He won a NASCAR Xfinity Series race in Montreal as well as a NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series event at Sonoma Raceway. He frequently was called on to tutor NASCAR’s top stars on the art of road racing. The 56-year-old Said’s final NASCAR premier series start came in August at Watkins Glen International.

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.*

For additional information about the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, please visit WestCoastStockCarHallofFame.com or contact Owen A. Kearns at 661-342-2983. To obtain details about table sponsorship for the 2019 awards dinner, contact Jenniffer Wentzel at 623-463-5400. A limited number of tickets will be made available to the public beginning April 1, 2019. Inquiries should be forwarded to jwentzel@ISM.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.

Contact:

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

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West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame inducts 11-member 2018 class

AVONDALE, Ariz. (June 26, 2018) – The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame conducted its 15th Annual Induction Ceremony, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, on June 21. The latest 11 inductees bring the Hall’s membership to 152, dating to its inaugural class of 2002.

Present for induction were former NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion crew chief and Furniture Row Racing president Joe Garone; Southern California short track champion Oren Prosser; ISM Raceway president Bryan R. Sperber and longtime NASCAR and sprint car owner Richard “Dick” Woodland, as well as K&N Pro driver and hardtop champion Clyde Prickett, a member of the Hall’s first Heritage class.

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West double champion Greg Pursley was unable to attend the inductions due to illness. Inducted posthumously were five-decade race announcer Larry Albedi and Heritage members Freddie Agabashian and George Bignotti, early stock car and midget competitors and Indianapolis 500 legends; Bill Cheesbourg, an Arizona stock car champion and Indianapolis 500 competitor and drag racing and off-road racer and organizer Mickey Thompson.

The induction ceremonies were held at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif.

Ken Clapp, chairman of the Hall’s board of directors, told attendees, “I thank each and every person in this room for your continued belief and support of the hall as we enter out 15th year. Never in the world did any of us realize that we would reach the heights we have.

“Nor did we ever think we would someday be able to gift to those less fortunate – and especially children, military and animals – nearly $400,0000 in less than four years. A thank you to those who have made that possible.”

National Speed Sport publisher and television personality Ralph Sheheen served as master of ceremonies for the event. Previously inducted Hall of Fame members in attendance included Clapp, Allen Beebe, John Bickford, Rick Carelli, Mike Duncan, Ed Justice Jr., Owen A. Kearns, Bill McAnally, Hershel McGriff, Steve Page, Bill Sedgwick, Jim Williams and Kenny Takeuchi.

Some induction evening highlights:

Carelli, a 2009 inductee, recalled his close relationship with Garone. The two, along with team owner Marshall Chesrown – enshrined in 2014 – won two NASCAR championships and more than 30 races in three touring divisions.

“We logged a lot of laps together; good times and bad times,” Carelli said. “He had a great vision and to me, this isn’t a surprise.  It was his drive: pushing, pushing, pushing.”

“I heard about this (being elected) and I thought, ‘me?’ The shock was substantial,” said Garone, who held crew chief positions with a trio of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Seriesteams and was NASCAR’s director of competition. Furniture Row Racing, owned by Barney Visser, won the 2018 MENCS championship with driver Martin Truex Jr.

Longtime journalist, television commentator and competitor Dick Berggren inducted Pursley, who was unable to attend whilethe Southern California native recovers from cardiac surgery. In addition to winning a pair of K&N Pro Series West titles – and 20 victories in just 100 starts – Pursley captured the 2004 NASCAR weekly series national championship.

“Greg is truly exceptional,” said Berggren. “He didn’t find rides. Rides found him. “

Pursley’s induction comes one year after the hall welcomed into membership his team owner, Gene Price. Tyler Pursley, the driver’s son, accepted his WCSCHOF Spire.  “Gene Price Motorsports is not a shop. We are a family,” he said.

FOX TV’s Michael Waltrip inducted Sperber, who is overseeing a major renovation of the former Phoenix International Raceway, now ISM Raceway. The $178 million project will be completed shortly before the International Speedway Corp.-owned facility hosts the Nov. 9-11 Can-Am 500 weekend.

“What a vision he had,” Waltrip said of Sperber’s plan.

Sperber, a Florida native, said, “Racing was in my blood from my early days.” His 30-year journey has taken Sperber from Daytona Beach to Watkins Glen, N.Y. to Fontana, Calif. and finally the Valley of the Sun.

“I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with a staff (which is) smart, dedicated and passionate,” Sperber said.

Tim Huddleston inducted Prosser, his father-in-law, noting the five-time Saugus (Calif.) Speedway sportsman champion frequently attracted the attention of NASCAR premier series car owners. “That gold ring came time after time but he turned it down for his family,” said Huddleston.

Prosser, 77, admitted his career got off to a slow start. “I was a man with a plan (but) I was a kid with an attitude, banging the wall,” the Granada Hills resident admitted. He pointed to a 20-year relationship with owner/crew chief Donnie Johnson a major reason for his success, which included winning the 1967 NASCAR Permatex 300 at Riverside International Raceway.

“He (Johnson) was the greatest to me,” said Prosser. “We won four championships together and saw country I’d never seen before. If I had it to do over again, I’d never change anything.”

Takeuchi, a longtime publicist and PA announcer, inducted Woodland, a resident of Paso Robles, Calif. Their racing careers intersected at many Central California hardtop tracks.

“I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by a great group” of drivers and industry figures, said Woodland, whose cars were driven by NASCAR and West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame member Ron Hornaday Jr., Parnelli Jones, Billy Wilkerson and his son, Rich Jr. “I’ll always cherish this; an evening I’ll never forget.”

Voting will begin on the next class of nominees in November. The 2019 inductees will be announced in March.

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 more than quarter million dollars for charitable causes. The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which hopes to see charitable giving reach the $500,000 mark in the next year and a half. 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/.

About Gateway Motorsports Park

Gateway Motorsports Park 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. Gateway Motorsports Park’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. Gateway Motorsports Park 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.

Contact:

West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

Owen A. Kearns

661-342-2983

okearns@bak.rr.com

 

Gateway Motorsports Park

John Bisci

(618) 215-8888 ext. 119

John.Bisci@Gatewaymsp.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Mickey Thompson among 2018 Heritage inductees into West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

(Note: This is the sixth and final of a series of press releases on the 2018 inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. The 15th Annual Induction, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, will be held June 21 at the Meritage Resort in Napa, Calif.)

AVONDALE, Ariz. (June 18, 2018) – Mickey Thompson, driver and entrepreneur whose talents touched virtually all corners of motor sport, is among 11 inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.

The 15th annual enshrinement ceremonies, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, will be held June 21 at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif., the annual kick-off event for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and K&N Pro Series West weekend at nearby Sonoma Raceway.

Marion Lee “Mickey” Thompson was born in 1928 in Alhambra, Calif. He was a pioneer in multiple motorsports genres: drag racing, land speed, the Indianapolis 500 and off-road competition.

Thompson, a top fuel drag racer, was the first manager of Lion’s Drag Strip in Wilmington, Calif. He later created SCORE, a preeminent off-road promotional group with events in the U.S. and Mexico.

He was inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007, with the organization stating, “From his first day in the “dirt” he fell in love with the sport and his presence in racing, no doubt because of his fame in other forms of racing, made an impact. He was full of ideas and a master at selling his ideas to others, in large part because of the enthusiasm and energy he brought with him.

Thompson also organized indoor and stadium off-road racing under the Mickey Thompson Event Group (MTEG). In 1960, Thompson became the first American to eclipse the 400 mph on land, driving his Challenger I car to a one-way top speed of 406.60 mph on Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats.

Thompson brought outside-the-box designed cars to the Indianapolis 500 from 1962-65 and 67-68. His best finish was ninth in 1962. Thompson, the victim with his wife Trudy of a murder-for-hire plot, died in 1988 at age 69. He is a member of multiple halls of fame.

Thompson joins Joe Garone, Oren Prosser, Greg Pursley and Bryan R. Sperber in the 2018 WCSCHOF class of inductees.Four additional Heritage figures also are slated for induction: Freddie Agabashian, George Bignotti, Bill Cheesbourg and Clyde Prickett. All but Prickett are deceased.

The 2018 Induction, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, is open to the public on a limited, space-available basis. Reservation information is available by emailing the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame at jwentzel@ismraceway.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.

Over the past three years, the induction has helped raise more than quarter million dollars for charitable causes. The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which hopes to see charitable giving reach the $500,000 mark in the next year and a half. 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/.

About Gateway Motorsports Park

Gateway Motorsports Park 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. Gateway Motorsports Park’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. Gateway Motorsports Park 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.

Contact:

West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

Owen A. Kearns

661-342-2983

okearns@bak.rr.com

Gateway Motorsports Park

John Bisci

(618) 215-8888 ext. 119

John.Bisci@Gatewaymsp.com

Posted in Blog, News | Leave a comment

Cheesbourg, Prickett among 2018 Heritage inductees into West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

(Note: This is the fifth of a series of press releases on the 2018inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. The 15thAnnual Induction, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, will be held June 21 at the Meritage Resort in Napa, Calif.)

AVONDALE, Ariz. (June 14, 2018) – Bill Cheesbourg, an Arizona jalopy legend who also competed in the Indianapolis 500, and NASCAR hard top champion Clyde Prickett are among 2018 Heritage inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.

The 15th annual enshrinement ceremonies, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, will be held June 21 at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif., the annual kick-off event for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and K&N Pro Series West weekend at nearby Sonoma Raceway.

Born William Bernard (Bill) Cheesbourg Jr. in 1927, The Tucson, Ariz. native began his racing career at age 11 at the wheel of a Soap Box Derby entry that shed its garden hose-fabricated tires a few feet after push-off.  Cheesbourg began racing jalopies in his hometown, later journeying to Phoenix-area tracks and won the 1955 Arizona Jalopy Association championship.

Driving a 1932 Ford nicknamed Bobalu, Cheesbourg once won 73 of the 75 races he entered. Cheesbourg made six Indianapolis 500 starts with a best finish of 10th in 1958 and continues to hold the record for the most cars passed on the race’s opening lap – 17.

He competed in two NASCAR premier series events and seven NASCAR K&N Pro Series West races, winning at Manzanita (Ariz.) Speedway in 1975. Cheesbourg, enshrined in the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame, also won a U.S. Auto Club stock car race.

His 1996 Pima County Sports Hall of Fame induction proclaimed, “If it had wheels, the ‘Cheez’ would drive it, and drive it fast! From the jalopies his youth to stock cars, to a bullet car, which he drove in excess of 300 mph. In virtually every kind of machine on every kind of track, he racked up trophies, prize money, friends and fame.”

Cheesbourg died in 1995 at age 67.

Prickett, a Fresno, Calif., resident won the 1955 NASCAR State of California championship in hard tops, as well as the title at Fresno’s Kearney Bowl track.

Prickett was a top driver in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series Westdespite his status as a part-time competitor. He scored his lone K&N Pro victory at Medford, Ore.’s Rogue Valley Speedway in 1968.

Prickett competed in three NASCAR premier series events at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway with a best finish of 14th in 1968 on the 2.62-mile road course. Now 85, Prickett continues as president of the Coca-Cola distributorship in hisSan Joaquin Valley hometown.

Cheesbourg and Prickett join Joe Garone, Oren Prosser, Greg Pursley and Bryan R. Sperber in the 2018 WCSCHOF class of inductees. Three additional Heritage figures also are slated for induction: Freddie Agabashian, George Bignotti and Mickey Thompson. All but Prickett are deceased.

The 2018 Induction, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, is open to the public on a limited, space-available basis. Reservation information is available by emailing the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame at jwentzel@ismraceway.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.

Over the past three years, the induction has helped raise more than quarter million dollars for charitable causes. The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which hopes to see charitable giving reach the $500,000 mark in the next year and  half. 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/.

About Gateway Motorsports Park

Gateway Motorsports Park 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. Gateway Motorsports Park’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. Gateway Motorsports Park 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.

Contact:

West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

Owen A. Kearns

661-342-2983

okearns@bak.rr.com

Gateway Motorsports Park

John Bisci

(618) 215-8888 ext. 119

John.Bisci@Gatewaymsp.com

Posted in Blog, News | Leave a comment

Agabashian, Bignotti among 2018 Heritage inductees into West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

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Woodland, Albedi among 2018 inductees into West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

(Note: This is the third of a series of press releases on the 2018inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. The 15thAnnual Induction, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, will be held June 21 at the Meritage Resort in Napa, Calif.)

AVONDALE, Ariz. (June 7, 2018) – NASCAR and open-wheel team owner Richard “Dick” Woodland and the late Lawrence “Larry” Albedi, the voice of motorsports in the west for five decades, are among 2018 inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.

The 15th annual enshrinement ceremonies, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, will be held June 21 at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif., the annual kick-off event for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and K&N Pro Series West weekend at nearby Sonoma Raceway.

Woodland built his first race car, a jalopy, in 1958 at age 15. During college, he raced NASCAR hardtops at Kearney Bowl in Fresno, Calif. and following military service drove sprint cars at Ascot Park in Los Angeles. With a growing family, Woodland turned owner and hired West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame inductees Frank Secrist and Parnelli Jones, among others. 

Woodland entered the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West with NASCAR and West Cost Stock Car Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. in 1991 and continued with his son, Rich Jr. In 55 races, they won once (at Phoenix in 1998) and finished fifth in the 1995 standings. After moving the team to Charlotte, they also entered several NASCAR premier series, Xfinity Series, Camping World Truck Series and ARCA events.

Residing in Paso Robles, Calif., Woodland owns an extensive vintage race car museum at the Paso Robles airport.

Although best known for his baritone voice, Albedi was Mr. Everything when it came to automobiles and automobile racing. Born in San Francisco, he became enamored of competition at an early age, working as a pitman for George Bignotti’s racing team in 1947 at Bayshore Speedway.

He raced stock cars and sprint cars for a brief time, before taking promoter Louie Vermeil’s advice that he’d make more money behind a microphone. Race fans in Northern California over the next five decades became accustomed to hearing Abedi’s description of the action. Albedi became known as the “Voice of Sears Point,” the current Sonoma Raceway.

He also raced sports cars and was a steward for the San Francisco Region of the SCCA, inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame in 2007. “His secret as an announcer is to make everyone sound like a hero,” the organization wrote upon Albedi’s enshrinement.

Albedi opened British Motors of Vallejo in 1963, a dealership that expanded to include Lincoln-Mercury, Subaru and Jaguar marques before its sale in 1996. Albedi passed away in May 2017 at the age of 85.

Woodland and Albedi join Joe Garone, Oren Prosser, Greg Pursley and Bryan R. Sperber in the 2018 WCSCHOF class of inductees. Five Heritage figures also are slated for induction: Freddie Agabashian, George Bignotti, Bill Cheesbourg, Clyde Prickett and Mickey Thompson. All but Prickett are deceased.

The 2018 Induction, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, is open to the public on a limited, space-available basis. Reservation information is available by emailing the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame at jwentzel@ismraceway.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.

Over the past three years, the induction has helped raise more than quarter million dollars for charitable causes. The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which hopes to see charitable giving reach the $500,000 mark in the next year and a half. 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/.

About Gateway Motorsports Park

Gateway Motorsports Park 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. Gateway Motorsports Park’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. Gateway Motorsports Park 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.

Contact:

West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

Owen A. Kearns

661-342-2983

okearns@bak.rr.com

Gateway Motorsports Park

John Bisci

(618) 215-8888 ext. 119

John.Bisci@Gatewaymsp.com

Posted in Blog, News | Leave a comment

Pursley, Sperber among 2018 inductees into West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

(Note: This is the second of a series of press releases on the 2018 inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. The 15th Annual Induction, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park,will be held June 21 at the Meritage Resort in Napa, Calif.)

AVONDALE, Ariz. (June 4, 2018) – Two-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series champion Greg Pursley and ISM Raceway president Bryan R. Sperber are among 2018 inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.

The 15th annual enshrinement ceremonies, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, will be held June 21 at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif., the annual kick-off event for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and K&N Pro Series West weekend at nearby Sonoma Raceway.

A former desert and motocross competitor, Pursley was a late comer to four-wheel competition at age 25. With Gene Price, a 2017 West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame inductee, Pursley won the 2011 and 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series Westchampionships. 

In 2011, Pursley won six of his 12 starts. Over 100 races, Pursley posted 20 victories, won 20 poles, and logged 58 top-five and 75 top-10 finishes. He won races in six consecutive K&N Pro Series West seasons.

Previously, Pursley had won 13 of 18 races at Irwindale (Calif.) Event Center in 2004 to capture NASCAR’s national weekly title, one of the most difficult championship to win. Moving to the NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Series, the Canyon Country, Calif. driver won two races along with four poles. Pursley, 50, resides in Parker City, Ariz.

For nearly 30 years, Sperber has been an integral part of the motorsports and entertainment industry at its highest levels. Currently the president of ISM Raceway, Sperber has guided the strategic and operational vision for one of the most popular venues in the sports.

Throughout his 15 years as president of ISM Raceway, he has guided the track through significant capital expansion, overseen addition of a second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, as well as helped secure the return of the Verizon IndyCar Series to the raceway.

The jewel of his tenure at ISM Raceway is the current $178 million modernization project being completed in time for November’s MENCS weekend. Prior to arriving at ISM Raceway, Sperber was president of Watkins Glen International, where he was the youngest track president in NASCAR at age 30. Sperber is president of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.

Pursley and Sperber join Joe Garone, Oren Prosser, Richard “Dick” Woodland and the late Larry Albedi in the 2018WCSCHOF class of inductees. Five Heritage figures also are slated for induction: Freddie Agabashian, George Bignotti, Bill Cheesbourg, Clyde Prickett and Mickey Thompson. All but Prickett are deceased.

The 2018 Induction, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, is open to the public on a limited, space-available basis. Reservation information is available by emailing the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame at jwentzel@ismraceway.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.

Over the past three years, the induction has helped raise more than quarter million dollars for charitable causes. The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which hopes to see charitable giving reach the $500,000 mark in the coming years. 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/.

About Gateway Motorsports Park

Gateway Motorsports Park 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. Gateway Motorsports Park’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. Gateway Motorsports Park 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.

Contact:

West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

Owen A. Kearns

661-342-2983

okearns@bak.rr.com

Gateway Motorsports Park

John Bisci

(618) 215-8888 ext. 119

John.Bisci@Gatewaymsp.com

Posted in Blog, News | Leave a comment

Garone, Prosser among 2018 inductees into West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

(Note: This is the first of a series of press releases on the 2018 inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. The 15th Annual Induction, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, will be held June 21 at the Meritage Resort in Napa, Calif.)

AVONDALE (May 31, 2018) – Colorado native Joe Garone and Southern California racing champion Oren Prosser are among this year’s inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.

The 15th annual enshrinement ceremonies, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, will be held June 21 at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif., the annual kick-off event for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and K&N Pro Series West weekend at nearby Sonoma Raceway.

Garone, is president and general manager of Furniture Row Racing and a former NASCAR K&N Pro Series championship crew chief. Furniture Row and driver Martin Truex Jr. won the series’ 2017 championship.

A Denver, Colo. native, Garone captured crew chief championships in two NASCAR divisions – the K&N Pro Series West in 1993 and Elite Division Southwest Tour in 1991. His induction completes the enshrinement of Chesrown Racing’s principals: owner Marshall Chesrown, Class of 2014 and driver Rick Carelli, Class of 2009. Chesrown’s team won more than 30 NASCAR touring races, including three in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Prior to joining Barney Visser’s Furniture Row Racing, Garone held crew chief positions with a trio of MENCS teams and was NASCAR’s Director of Officiating from 2001-03. The 57-year-old Garone is a member of the Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Prosser won multiple sportsman stock car championships at the old Saugus (Calif.) Speedway as well as dozens of races at other tracks throughout the southwest.

His longtime sponsor and crew chief, Donnie Johnson, told the Los Angeles Times in 1989, “I’ve never seen anybody drive a car like Oren. He never panicked. He had the uncanny ability to know what’s ahead. He’d run every lap as if it were the main event.”

Prosser, age 77 and a resident of Granada Hills, Calif. was virtually unbeatable at Saugus in the 1960s and 1970s, winning five sportsman stock car championships (1964, 1967-72). He won nine consecutive feature races at the flat, .333-mile track in 1966. In 1971 Prosser won the July 4 Firecracker 400 – capturing all four 100-lap races at four southern California tracks. He also won Saugus’ first 330-lap event in 1975.

Prosser won the NASCAR Permatex 300 in 1967 at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway and competed in three NASCAR Grand National (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) events.

Garone and Prosser join Greg Pursley, Bryan R. Sperber, Richard “Dick” Woodland and the late Larry Albedi in the 2018 WCSCHOF class of inductees. Five Heritage figures also are slated for induction: Freddie Agabashian, George Bignotti, Bill Cheesbourg, Clyde Prickett and Mickey Thompson. All but Prickett are deceased.

The 2018 Induction, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, is open to the public on a limited, space-available basis. Reservation information is available by emailing the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame at jwentzel@ismraceway.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.

Over the past three years, the induction has helped raise more than quarter million dollars for charitable causes. The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which hopes to see charitable giving reach the $500,000 mark in the coming years. 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/.

About Gateway Motorsports Park

Gateway Motorsports Park 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. Gateway Motorsports Park’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. Gateway Motorsports Park 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.

Contact:

West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame
Owen A. Kearns
661-342-2983
okearns@bak.rr.com

Gateway Motorsports Park

John Bisci
(618) 215-8888 ext. 119
John.Bisci@Gatewaymsp.com

Posted in Blog, News | Leave a comment

West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame induction will add to organization’s charitable giving

AVONDALE, Ariz. (May 7, 2018) – The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s annual induction dinner has become one of motorsports’ largest celebrations of excellence – and good times for more than 400 attendees.

But the enshrinement is more than just a party. Over the past three years, the induction has helped raise more than a quarter-million dollars for charitable causes. The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which hopes to see charitable giving reach the $500,000 mark in the coming years.

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/.

“Our board of directors is extremely supportive of the charitable giving component in our mission statement,” said Ken Clapp, the organization’s chairman. “Our annual induction event, since moving to Northern California, has grown to the point we’re able to give back to a host of worthy causes.

“We’re pleased to be able to partner with local, state and national organizations including the NASCAR Foundation, ISM Raceway Charities and Sonoma Raceway Charities, as well as several Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver-directed foundations.”

The Class of 2018 will be enshrined June 21, 2018 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.

This year’s inductees are Joe Garone, president and general manager of 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Furniture Row Racing; Southern California racing legend Oren Prosser; two-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Champion Greg Pursley; Bryan R. Sperber, president of ISM Raceway in Phoenix and NASCAR and open-wheel car owner Richard “Dick” Woodland. The late Larry Albedi, a five-decade-long public-address announcer, will be inducted as a member of the media.

Five Heritage figures also are being enshrined: Freddie Agabashian, a pre-World War II stock car racer and Indianapolis 500 veteran; George Bignotti, car owner and chief mechanic for multiple Indianapolis 500 winners; Bill Cheesbourg, Tucson, Ariz. stock car champion and Indianapolis 500 veteran; Clyde Prickett, NASCAR K&N Pro Series West winner from Fresno, Calif. and Mickey Thompson, land speed record holder and pioneer drag racing and off-road driver and promoter. All but Prickett are deceased.

For additional information about the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, please visit WestCoastStockCarHallofFame.com or contact Owen A. Kearns at 661-342-2983. To obtain details about table sponsorship for the 2018 awards dinner, contact Jenniffer Wentzel at 623-463-5400. A limited number of tickets will be make available to the public beginning April 1, 2018. Inquiries should be forwarded to jwentzel@ismraceway.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.

About Gateway Motorsports Park

Gateway Motorsports Park 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. Gateway Motorsports Park’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. Gateway Motorsports Park 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.

Contact:

West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame
Owen A. Kearns
661-342-2983
okearns@bak.rr.com

Gateway Motorsports Park
John Bisci
(618) 215-8888 ext. 119
John.Bisci@Gatewaymsp.com

Posted in Blog, News | Leave a comment

West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame announces six additional members for 2018 induction

AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 9, 2018) – Freddie Agabashian and George Bignotti, two Californians who share a common racing legacy, are among five 2018 Heritage inductees who will be enshrined in the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame later this summer.

The Class of 2018 will be inducted June 21, 2018 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.

Agabashian, a pre-World War II stock car racer, won consecutive Bay Cities Racing Association midget titles in 1947-48 at the wheel of cars owned and prepared by Bignotti. Each gained national fame through lengthy careers in AAA/U.S. Auto Club and especially the Indianapolis 500, in which Bignotti was a seven-time winning chief mechanic.

Chosen for induction, as well, are Arizona’s Bill Cheesbourg, whose stock car racing career spanned four decades and included six Indianapolis 500 starts; NASCAR State of California hardtop champion and K&N Pro Series West winner Clyde Prickett; and stadium off-road and motocross promoter and land speed record setter Mickey Thompson.

The five were selected for induction by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s Heritage committee, which considers figures from the pre-1970 era qualified for enshrinement but not previously selected by a vote of the organization’s full board of directors.

The elected Class of 2018, announced earlier this month, is comprised of Larry Albedi, Joe Garone, Oren Prosser, Greg Pursley and Dick Woodland. The enshrinement of J.D. Gibbs is being withheld until 2019 at the request of Joe Gibbs Racing.

A special election from semi-final candidates selected Bryan R. Sperber to complete the roster of 2018 inductees. Sperber is president of ISM Raceway, as well as president of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s board of directors. His biography accompanies this release.

“This class of inductees is among the greatest in the last decade and a half,” said Ken Clapp, chairman of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. “The board of directors couldn’t be happier with its vote.

“We’re extremely pleased to be able to honor the pioneers of our sport, figures whose accomplishments are unquestioned but which may not be well-known to media members and fans of the current era. They deserve to be honored for their achievements that brought us to where we are today.”

Here are the biographies of Sperber and the five Heritage inductees

Bryan R. Sperber. For nearly 30 years, Sperber has been an integral part of the motorsports and entertainment industry at its highest levels, consistently spearheading change and innovation from coast to coast. Currently the president of ISM Raceway, Sperber has guided the strategic and operational vision for one of the most popular venues in the sports, for both fans and drivers alike. Throughout his 15 years as president of ISM Raceway, he has guided the track through significant capital expansion, overseen addition of a second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, as well as helped secure the return of the Verizon IndyCar Series to the raceway. The jewel of his tenure at ISM Raceway is the current $178 million modernization project. Prior to arriving at ISM Raceway, Sperber was president of Watkins Glen International, where he was the youngest track president in NASCAR at age 30. While serving as president of ISM Raceway, Sperber also was chairman of Auto Club Speedway from 2006-07, overseeing the facility’s day-to-day operations, while helping lead the transition team for new leadership. Sperber is president of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame and member of the board of directors of the Fiesta Bowl.

Freddie Agabashian. Best known for competing in the Indianapolis 500 after winning four midget championships in Northern California, Agabashian began racing stock cars in 1934 in San Jose, Calif. The Modesto, Calif.-born driver won 500-mile stock car races at the Oakland (Calif.) Mile, as well as events at Southern Ascot in the Los Angeles area. He last raced in a U.S. Auto Club (USAC) event at Western Speedway in Vallejo, Calif., driving a Dodge D500 for West Coast Stock Car Hall of Famer Jim Dane. Agabashian was a veteran of 11 Indianapolis 500s from 1947 through 1957, winning the pole for the 1952 race in the Cummins Diesel Special. His best finish, fourth, was recorded in 1953. After retiring from driving, Agabashian was a member of the Champion Spark Plug Safety Team which toured high schools throughout America speaking about racing and safety on the streets. The Alamo, Calif. resident died in 1989 at age 76.

George Bignotti. A San Francisco native, George Bignotti raced stock cars prior to World War II and owned an Oldsmobile campaigned in NASCAR premier series/K&N Pro Series West events in 1954. Bignotti was a top midget owner in post-war Northern California, his cars winning four Bay Cities Racing Association titles, two with fellow Heritage inductee Freddie Agabashian. He drove midgets as well, once winning 14 of 18 starts. Bignotti, along with Frank Kurtis, is credited with creating the first Indianapolis roadster. As a chief mechanic, he won a record seven 500s, with AJ Foyt (two), Al Unser (two), Graham Hill, Gordon Johncock and Tom Sneva. Bignotti’s cars won multiple Indianapolis-type championships and 85 races, including setting the USAC Championship record (twice) for 10 wins in a season. Bignotti died in 2013 at age 97.

William Bernard (Bill) Cheesbourg Jr. The Tucson, Ariz. resident, born in 1927, began his racing career at age 11 at the wheel of a Soap Box Derby entry that shed its garden hose-fabricated tires a few feet after push-off. Cheesbourg began racing jalopies in his hometown, later journeying to Phoenix-area tracks and won the 1955 Arizona Jalopy Association championship. Driving a 1932 Ford nicknamed Bobalu, Cheesbourg once won 73 of the 75 races he entered. Cheesbourg made six Indianapolis 500 starts with a best finish of 10th in 1958 and continues to hold the record for the most cars passed on the race’s opening lap – 17. He competed in two NASCAR premier series events and seven NASCAR K&N Pro Series West races, winning at Manzanita (Ariz.) Speedway in 1975. Cheesbourg, enshrined in the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame, also won a U.S. Auto Club stock car race. He died in 1995 at age 67.

Clyde Prickett. The Fresno, Calif., resident won the 1955 NASCAR State of California championship in hard tops, as well as the title at Fresno’s Kearney Bowl track. Prickett was a top driver in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West despite his status as a part-time competitor. He scored his lone K&N Pro victory at Medford, Ore.’s Rogue Valley Speedway in 1968. Prickett competed in three NASCAR premier series events at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway with a best finish of 14th in 1968 on the 2.62-mile road course. Now 85, Prickett continues as president of the Coca-Cola distributorship in his San Joaquin Valley hometown.

Marion Lee “Mickey” Thompson. Born in 1928 in Alhambra, Calif., Thompson was a pioneer in multiple motorsports genres: drag racing, land speed, the Indianapolis 500 and off-road competition. Thompson, a top fuel drag racer, was the first manager of Lion’s Drag Strip in Wilmington, Calif. He later created SCORE, a preeminent off-road promotional group with events in the U.S. and Mexico. Thompson also organized indoor and stadium off-road racing under the Mickey Thompson Event Group (MTEG). In 1960, Thompson became the first American to eclipse the 400 mph on land, driving his Challenger I car to a one-way top speed of 406.60 mph on Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats. Thompson brought out-side-the-box designed cars to the Indianapolis 500 from 1962-65 and 67-68. His best finish was ninth in 1962. Thompson, the victim with his wife Trudy of a murder-for-hire plot, died in 1988 at age 69. He is a member of multiple halls of fame.

For additional information about the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, please visit WestCoastStockCarHallofFame.com or contact Owen A. Kearns at 661-342-2983. To obtain details about table sponsorship for the 2018 awards dinner, contact Jenniffer Wentzel at 623-463-5400. A limited number of tickets will be make available to the public beginning April 1, 2018. Inquiries should be forwarded to jwentzel@ismraceway.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.

About Gateway Motorsports Park

Gateway Motorsports Park 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. Gateway Motorsports Park’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. Gateway Motorsports Park 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.

Contact:

West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame
Owen A. Kearns
661-342-2983
okearns@bak.rr.com

Gateway Motorsports Park
John Bisci
(618) 215-8888 ext. 119
John.Bisci@Gatewaymsp.com

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