Off-road legend Walker Evans joins West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

PHOENIX (June 1, 2017) – Roger Walker Evans, born Dec. 3, 1938 in Cedar Lake, Mich., started Walker Evans Racing in 1977 to field his own off-road racing team after driving for West Coast Stock Car Hall of Famers Bill Stroppe and Parnelli Jones.

The Riverside, Calif. resident’s first sample of desert racing came in 1969 when he drove an American Motors Rambler for actor James Garner’s SCORE team in the Baja 500, resulting in a third-place finish.

Evans, nicknamed “The Legend,” won the Baja 1000 nine times in specially built trucks. He was the first to win the grueling race overall in a truck. His 142 victories and 21 championships have come in a variety of disciplines – desert racing, Mickey Thompson stadium series and short course races.

Evans competed in a manufacturer-supported Dodge Ram for two seasons (1995-96) in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where he posted three top-10 finishes as owner/driver. Evans is a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame and Riverside (Calif.) Sports Hall of Fame.

“Simply one of the best off-road racing drivers ever, Walker Evans would always captivate and dazzle the fans whenever he powered his desert truck to the start line,” said the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame upon Evans’ induction in 2004. “Throughout his 35-year career, he has been applauded for his exhilarating racing skills and his informal, gentlemanly manner.”

Evans joins Michael Gaughan, Joe Leonard, Gene Price, Scott Pruett, Frank Secrist and Kenneth Takeuchi in the 2017 WCSCHOF class of inductees.

The 2017 Induction Ceremony, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, are 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@phoenixraceway.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.

Contact:

West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

Owen A. Kearns

661-342-2983

okearns@bak.rr.com

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From the Chairman

By Ken Clapp

When we changed the conditions for eligibility into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, I was left with mixed emotions. Basically, I feared that our celebration of stock car racing, as we previously knew it could have been diluted – even though each of our 2017 nominees has competed in stock cars.

Any fears, however, quickly were swept away by the reaction from our motorsports community.

The many positive comments about our 2017 inductees is greater than anything I’ve heard in the 15 years of the Hall’s existence.

That positive feedback comes from competitors not yet inducted or nominated, as well as from fans and the corporate world. It’s so rewarding that our decision has been so well accepted and is leading to bigger and better things.

The future in my view is very bright, looking at competitors like Indianapolis 500 legend Jimmy Bryan; older competitors who have been nominated but not inducted and the west coast’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Camping World Truck Series champions who are currently active and not yet eligible.

That’s why I can’t help but be excited.

I recently had a nice, long visit with Ron Esau at Irwindale Speedway, a nominee for the past two years. Ron remains disappointed that so far he’s failed to reach induction. Yet he remains enthusiastic about the possibility of reaching the Hall in 2018 or 2019.

We, likewise, have gained a lot of respect and it continues to grow, along with our ability to gift funds to charity through dollar matching and provide the resources to make our inductions even more special in the coming years.

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New addresses for Carelli, Baxter

Two West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame members – Rick Carelli and Jerry Baxter – have new “homes” for the 2017 NASCAR season.

Carelli, Class of 2009, joins Furniture Row Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series as spotter for rookie of the year contender Erik Jones.

The Denver native, who won driver championships in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and NASCAR Elite Series, Southwest Tour, previously spotted Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kurt Busch.

For Carelli, it’s a case of good news, bad news.

He’s reunited with a hometown, Rocky Mountain-based team working with one of NASCAR’s brightest young prospects. Carelli, however, missed the opportunity to celebrate a Daytona 500 victory with Busch.

Baxter, Class of 2015, nearly captured NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship crew chief accolades a season ago with rookie Christopher Bell at Kyle Busch Motorsports. Bell made it all the way to the Homestead playoff finale, finishing third.

For Baxter, a San Diego native, it’s a case of if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Baxter switched to GMS Racing, which backed veteran Johnny Sauter to the series title in 2016. Baxter likely will be in the playoffs for the second consecutive season with rookie of the year contender Kaz Grala, winner of the NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

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Induction No. 5 at the Meritage

On June 22, the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame will celebrate its 14th induction and fifth at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif.

And, because the hotel and its staff have the ability to increase available space for the event, there will be a limited number of seats set aside for fans and members of the public available on the first-come basis.

Tickets are priced at $250 and include admittance to the pre-ceremony cocktail hour as well as a gourmet meal.

Reservations can be obtained by contacting Jennifer Wentzel at jwentzell@phoenixraceway.com. The evening is expected to sell out quickly with a record crowd expected for the 2017 event.

Previous inductions, which began in 2002, have taken place at a number of locations – the majority in the southern California communities of Monrovia, Irwindale and Azusa. Ceremonies moved to northern California in 2012 and have served as kickoff to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West weekend at Sonoma Raceway. There were no inductions in 2007-08.

The 2017 Class will be comprised of seven inductees – Walker Evans, Michael Gaughan, Joe Leonard, Gene Price, Scott Pruett, Frank Secrist and Kenny Takeuchi. The current base induction is five honorees annually, with Gaughan’s induction carried over from 2016 and Takeuchi added as a media inductee. Takeuchi is the fifth media member selected to the Hall, joining Shav Glick, Gordon Martin, Owen A. Kearns and John Cardinale.

The Hall’s largest class – 30 members – was enshrined in 2002. Members of that initial class include J.C. Agajanian, Ray Elder, Parnelli Jones, Jack McCoy, Hershel McGriff, Les Richter, and Troy Ruttman. Other large classes included 14 in 2005 and 12 in 2003.

This year’s seven-member class will bring the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s membership to 141.

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Bickford, La Russa elected to West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Board of Directors

April 11, 2017

PHOENIX – John L. Bickford and Anthony (Tony) La Russa have been elected to the board of directors of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.

Their election was announced at Phoenix Raceway on March 19, concurrent with the naming of the Hall of Fame’s 2007 class of six inductees.

Bickford, 70, is the step-father, mentor and manager of NASCAR premier series champion Jeff Gordon. The Napa, Calif. native was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in June 2016.

Bickford purchased a quarter-midget race car for Gordon, who began racing at small, California dirt tracks at the age of five. Gordon was ready to compete in sprint cars at age 13 but because of age restrictions, could not race in his native state. Bickford and his wife Carol made the decision to move the family to Indiana, where Gordon’s career quickly ascended.

Although the family had hoped to continue an open wheel career trajectory to the Indianapolis 500, Gordon ultimately took a different path to stock cars – with Bickford’s advice on signing with Hendrick Motorsports and choosing crew chief Ray Evernham a key to his step-son’s success both on and off the track.

A Forbes magazine profile described Bickford – who had no formal education in marketing, public relations or broadcasting – as “unusually optimistic, diligent, observant and conscientious about details.”

La Russa is a member of baseball’s Hall of Fame, having spent 33 years as a Major League Baseball manager. He managed the Oakland A’s to the World Series championship in 1989 having previously won three consecutive American League titles.

In 1990, La Russa joined the St. Louis Cardinals and led the team to three National League championships and the 2006 and 2011 World Series titles. His 2,728 wins as a major league manager ranks third all-time.

Following retirement, La Russa became an executive with Major League Baseball and currently is a front office analyst the Arizona Diamondbacks club.

La Russa, 72, and his wife Elaine are the founders of Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation headquartered in Walnut Creek, Calif., which saves abandoned and injured animals as well as running programs to bring dogs and cats to abused children, hospital patients, seniors and shut-ins.

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.

The Hall of Fame currently exists in digital form. Information about enshrinement, sponsors, news releases and photos and archives can be reviewed at the Hall’s Internet site — www.westcoaststockcarracing.com. The Hall’s future goal and mission is to share with the public – at various locations to be determined – displays of information about its enshrinees and various artifacts pertinent to the sport such as records, archival material, photos, race cars and driver attire such as uniforms and helmets.

-30-

Contact Information:

Owen A. Kearns
West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Board of Directors
661-342-2983
Fax – 661-735-5548
okearns@bak.rr.com

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West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2017 Inductees

PHOENIX – The 2017 class of seven West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame inductees touches virtually every corner of the motorsports universe from NASCAR and USAC stock cars, the Indianapolis 500, off roading, world endurance racing and California hardtop competition.

The organization’s newest inductees – Walker Evans, Michael Gaughan, Joe Leonard, Gene Price, Scott Pruett, Frank Secrist and Kenneth (Kenny) Takeuchi – were announced March 19 prior to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway.

Induction of the Class of 2017 will take place June 22 at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif. during Sonoma Raceway’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series/K&N Pro Series West weekend.

“Without a doubt, this is our most eclectic group of inductees,” said Ken Clapp, West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame chairman of the board. “The history of stock car racing comprises a variety of disciplines and can’t be confined to a single type of car, track or sanctioning body.

“This year’s class defines motorsports excellence, from the deserts of Mexico, the rough and tumble golden years of dirt track competition to the world’s greatest and most famous superspeedways and road courses. This year’s vote was among the closest in our organization’s history making it extremely difficult to choose the finalists from the original list of 24 nominees.”

Evans, a first-year nominee, has won truck racing championships in a variety of disciplines: desert, Mickey Thompson Stadium Series and short course racing. The 78-year-old Riverside, Calif. resident won the famed Baja 1000 nine times and was the first to win the grueling Mexican race overall in a truck. He competed as owner-driver for two seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (1995-96).

Gaughan was elected to the hall with the Class of 2016 but, due to personal reasons, requested his induction be deferred until this June. The 74-year-old Las Vegas resident competed as an off-road racer for more than two decades, winning the 1966 Mint 400. Gaughan’s South Point Racing captured two NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championships with son Brendan Gaughan and posted nine victories in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with his son and Steve Park.

Leonard, born in San Diego in 1932, excelled on two and four wheels. The first-time nominee won a trio of American Motorcyclist Association championships (1954, 1956-57) winning 27 races including the Daytona 200. After competing in NASCAR hardtops and supermodifieds in northern California, he moved to the U.S. Auto Club’s championship car circuit and won six times including the 1971 California 500 at the Ontario Motor Speedway. Leonard also won a pair of USAC stock car races in 1964 at the Springfield and DuQuoin, Ill. fairgrounds mile tracks.

Price, owner of Gene Price Racing in Parker, Ariz., won three NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championships among six consecutive top-five points finishes between 2009 and 2014. Greg Pursley won titles in 2011 and 2014 and Dylan Kwasniewski captured the 2013 championship – just eight points ahead of runnerup and teammate Pursley. Price’s team accounted for 26 K&N Pro victories, won twice in the NASCAR Elite Southwest Series and competed briefly in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Pruett, another first-time nominee, has won races in full-bodied cars, sports cars and Indianapolis-type cars. The 57-year-old Roseville, Calif. resident won three SCCA Trans-Am titles (1987, 1994 and 2003) and a pair of IMSA GTO championships (1988-86). He won two CART events and was the 1989 Indianapolis 500 co-rookie of the year. His greatest success came in IMSA/GRAND-AM endurance racing with 45 victories – including five overall wins in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Pruett competed in 40 NASCAR premier series races with a best finish of second at Watkins Glen International in 2003.

Secrist, voted for induction in his second time on the ballot, won 1951-54 jalopy championships – then the top division – at Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway as well as the 1954-55 jalopy titles in Hanford, Calif. Born in 1929, the Oildale, Calif. resident finished third in NASCAR State of California sportsman stock standings in 1961 and won nine of 11 super modified races he entered in 1963. Secrist set track records in NASCAR sportsman races at Daytona International Speedway in 1961-62 and competed in eight NASCAR premier series events winning one pole at the 1.4-mile Marchbanks Speedway in Hanford.

Takeuchi, a public address announcer and media relations director, became a familiar figure at racing throughout northern and central California from the late 1950s. The Fresno, Calif. native began his career at the old Selma (Calif.) Rodeo Grounds. When hardtop and supermodified racing blossomed a few years later, Takeuchi followed the three and four-night a week circuit to NASCAR tracks at Kearney Bowl, San Jose Speedway, Clovis Speedway and Altamont Speedway. He was among sport’s most visible figures, interviewing top competitors from trackside. The fifth media category inductee, Takeuchi remains active with several vintage racing organizations.

June’s induction ceremonies are open to the general public on a limited, space-available basis. Reservation information is available by emailing the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame at jwentzel@phoenixraceway.com.

Information:
Owen A. Kearn
West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Board of Directors
661-342-2983
Fax – 661-735-5548
okearns@bak.rr.com

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West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Announces 12 finalists for 2017 Induction

PHOENIX – The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame has announced the 12 semi-finalists for its Class of 2017 inductees, a list that includes a half-dozen first-time nominees.

Voting by the Hall’s board of directors is underway to select the five finalists, whose identities will be announced during the March 17-19 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

The six first-time nominees to emerge from the board’s first round of voting are George Bignotti, Walker Evans, Tom Gloy, Joe Leonard, Scott Pruett and Marshall Sargent.

Previous nominees advancing for a final vote are Rick Henderson, Doug McCoun, Gene Price, Oren Prosser, Clyde Prickett and Frank Secrist.

Induction ceremonies will be held June 22 at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif., on the eve on Sonoma Raceway’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and K&N Pro Series West event.

“I am elated at the original slate of 25 nominees and even more so with the 12 semi-finalists,” said West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Chairman Ken Clapp. “Any of these 12 will enhance the future of the Hall of Fame. There were no weak nominations. I could have voted for any of them and felt I’d made a good choice.”

Bignotti, best known as a chief mechanic who won the Indianapolis 500 a record seven times with six different drivers including A.J. Foyt, raced pre-World War II stock cars. In 1954, he owned an Oldsmobile campaigned in what is now the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West by Jim Graham. The San Francisco native died in 2013 at age 97.

Evans won the Baja 1000 nine times in specially-built trucks and was the first to win the grueling race overall in a truck. The 78-year-old Riverside, Calif., resident was a charter owner/driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, posting three top-10 finishes and was crew chief for two-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series champion Brendan Gaughan.

Gloy of Lafayette, Calif., was among the most successful Sports Car Club of America Trans-Am Series competitors during the 1980s, winning the 1984 championship driving a Mercury Capri for Roush Racing. Gloy, 69, competed in one Indianapolis 500 and entered Ford F-150s for three seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Henderson of Petaluma, Calif., was the first west coast driver to win a NASCAR national racing championship, capturing the 1959 sportsman title. He won two NASCAR State of California championships as well as five track titles. Henderson, who passed away in 2001 at age 69, competed in three NASCAR K&N Pro Series West events in northern California in 1954.

Leonard, born in San Diego, Calif. in 1932, excelled on two and four wheels. He won three American Motorcyclist Association championships and six U.S. Auto Club championship car events including the 1971 California 500 at Ontario (Calif.) Motor Speedway. Leonard won two USAC stock car races and made a single NASCAR premier series start for Smokey Yunick at Daytona International Speedway.

McCoun is the first West Coast driver to win a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship (1985). The 59-year-old Prunedale, Calif., competitor, a chief with Monterey County’s fire department, was a top driver in the NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour for late model stocks, winning nine times and finished four times among the top five in points.

Price’s Gene Price Motorsports won three NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championships, in 2011 and 2014 with Greg Pursley and 2013 with Dylan Kwasniewski. The Parker, Ariz., owner’s drivers accounted for 26 wins and 90 top-five finishes in a combined 144 starts. The team also competed in the NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour and Camping World Truck Series.

Prickett, from Fresno, Calif., won the 1955 NASCAR State of California championship in hard tops. He was a top driver in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, winning at Medford, Ore.’s Rogue Valley Speedway in 1968. He competed in three NASCAR premier series events at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway with a best finish of 14th in 1968. Now 84, Prickett established a Coca-Cola distributorship in his hometown.

Prosser, from Sun Valley, Calif., was virtually unbeatable at Saugus (Calif.) Speedway in the 1960s and 1970s, winning five sportsman stock car championships. He won nine-consecutive races at the flat, 0.333-mile track in 1966. Prosser, 76, won the NASCAR Permatex 300 at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway in 1967 and also drove in three NASCAR premier series events.

Pruett, of Roseville, Calif., won three SCCA Trans-Am titles (1987, 1994 and 2003) and a pair of IMSA GTO championships (1988-86). He also won a pair of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) events, five Rolex GRAND-AM/WeatherTech sports car championships and 45 victories including five overall wins in the 24 Hours of Daytona. The 57-year-old Pruett competed in 40 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events and has been a television commentator.

Sargent, from Salinas, Calif., won an estimated 500 features in the United States and Australia during a 20-year racing career starring in hard tops and supermodifieds. Sargent won the NASCAR State of California championship in 1960, as well as 88 races at the original San Jose (Calif.) Speedway. He qualified for the 1961 Daytona 500 and won a NASCAR K&N Pro Series race at Gardena (Calif.) Stadium in 1957. Sargent died in 1990 at age 59.

Secrist, from Oildale, Calif., won five championships at Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway, as well as three titles at Hanford, Calif. He won the first midget race he entered in 1966. Secrist set sportsman track records at Daytona International Speedway in 1961-62, the latter erasing NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough’s speed from the books. Now 87, he won a NASCAR premier series pole at Marchbanks Speedway in Hanford.

For additional information about the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, please visit WestCoastStockCarHallofFame.com. To obtain details about table sponsorship for the 2016 awards dinner, contact Jenniffer Wentzel at 623-463-5400.

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Two board members elected

Two longtime members of the motorsports industry, Dennis Mattish and Kenneth (Kenny) Takeuchi, have been elected to the board of directors of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.

Mattish, a resident of San Jose, Calif., has been published locally and nationally in numerous publications, appearing in the San Jose Mercury News, National Speed Sport News and Open Wheel magazine among others. He cut his teeth at San Jose-area race tracks – Friday nights at Alviso Speedway; Saturday nights at San Jose Speedway – and cleaned dirt off race cars on Sunday afternoons in his father’s garage.

Mattish snapped his first race car photo at age 10, making his way to the infield 10 years later.

He has followed the sport of speed with pen and camera for over 40 years, enjoying a 15-year tenure as an official World of Outlaws photographer and vice president of photography for the Motor Sports Press Association for three years. Mattish was a consistent recipient of the MSPA’s John Ryan Journalism Award.

Mattish published his first book, History of San Jose Auto Racing 1903-2007 in 2009. Two additional volumes – History of Watsonville and Salinas Auto Racing; History of San Jose Racing Part 2 – followed with a fourth book, History of San Francisco Auto Racing, being written.

Fresno native Takeuchi developed an early interest in pre and post-World War II midget auto racing – at the time the most popular form of the sport on the west coast. He followed the early careers of many drivers, including Bill and Eli Vukovich, Andy and Gil Guthrie, Chuck Stevenson, Johnny Boyd, Duane Carter, Jerry Piper, Bob Barkhimer and Cal Niday.

With the advent of jalopy and hard top racing in the early 1950s, Takeuchi became involved in the California Stock Car Racing Association as a timer and score keeper. He began his announcing career at the old Selma (Calif.) Rodeo Grounds track.

When NASCAR began its sanctioning of modified and supermodified racing in central California’s San Joaquin Valley, Takeuchi became its traveling announcer – working Kearney Bowl in Fresno, San Jose Speedway, Altamont Speedway and Clovis Speedway until the early 1990s.

Takeuchi currently announces vintage racing events with the Legends of Kearney Bowl, Western Racing Association and Bay Cities Racing Association. In his “retirement,” he is a veteran’s advocate.

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Message From the Chairman

Several years ago, I was visiting with the NASCAR president at the time, and now Vice Chairman Mike Helton on his thoughts as to how we might make the West Coast Hall better. We realized we had created a Hall that had become highly prestigious and extremely desired by all who might ever have a chance for nomination, not to mention induction.

Mr. Helton suggested we might broaden our scope of eligibility to include persons who had come from walks of racing that led to actual stock cars later. In other words, way back and just after World War II we had jalopies, then hard tops and they were followed by different versions of modifieds.

In all cases, these divisions took the best of the best and led them to USAC, NASCAR and other nationally recognized groups.

Also in time the Trans-Am series was developed by the SCCA and IMSA created and perfected yet another form of road racing with full bodied cars that saw drivers from all over the world competing.

So we as we discussed possibilities and pros and cons, it became apparent that most of those who excelled ended up in IndyCar, Formula 1 and NASCAR at the highest levels. After many meetings with friends of the sport and board members, we realized this was the path we wanted to take. Beginning in 2016, we diversified our format and it was extremely well accepted by fans, competitors and the media.

As I proudly review the 2017 nominees, I have to admit a very proud feeling for everyone involved in any way whether large or small. The Hall is for all of us.

In conclusion when I look the list of potential nominees in future years and then all of those who we aren’t even considering yet because of age, I just have to say, “Wow, incredibly impressive.”

Thank you to all who have played a role at any level for helping get us to where are today over the years from 2002.

  • Ken Clapp, Chairman, Board of Directors, West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

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Thoughts on the nominees

By Ken Clapp

It has taken countless hours by Owen Kearns, the Board’s administrative director and its research committee to develop the 25 nominees for the 2017 final nominations list. From a list of over 60 names, we had to come up with 25 to start the elimination process to get us down to the final five.

It has been very enlightening and we all discovered historical facts that we either had forgotten or simply didn’t know existed.

As I look at the final 25, to say the least, I am impressed beyond words.

Every one of the finalists is worthy of nomination and – in time – induction into what has become the most revered and prestigious Hall in western America.

I can’t wait until we start the final elimination process, beginning in in few days. For many in the west, it will have the same excitement built into it that the Chase has developed in NASCAR culminating in the Homestead-Miami Speedway championship race.

I extend my sincere congratulations to all 25 who will go before the voters in round one, then round two and eventually the final five.

As many know, we have had five finalists in recent years, however, with Michael Gaughan being unable to join us in 2016, we voted to extend this year’s total inductee list to six.

In future years it will go back to five unless there are compelling circumstances that warrants we allow a final inductee a one-year bye.

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