Five history makers were recognized for their contributions to racing in the West
Five motor sports figures representing four West Coast states and five different facets of racing were recognized for their accomplishments and industry achievements when the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame inducted its 10th class on June 19 in Napa, California.
Growing the elite group of inductees to 123, the 2014 class included Bob Bondurant, Marshall Chesrown, Ron Eaton, Steve Page and Mike Skinner.
Bondurant, a native of Evanston, Illinois, came to the West Coast as a young boy and competed in his first motor sports race at the track in Santa Barbara, California in 1956. From there he went on to participate in stock car events at many West Coast tracks, as well as compete in nine Formula One World Championship Grand Prix events during the 1960s. His most notable impact, however, came outside of the driver’s seat with his Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. Since opening in 1968, Bondurant has tutored such stars as Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Darrell Waltrip and Rusty Wallace.
As an owner of a track in Denver, Colorado and a championship racing team, Chesrown made a significant impact on the racing industry on the West Coast. In 1992 Chesrown purchased and modernized Colorado National Speedway which ultimately became the host of major regional and national touring events, including the NASCAR K&N Pro Series-West, NASCAR Southwest Series and the nationally-televised NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. As a team owner Chesrown, along with driver Rick Carelli, won NASCAR K&N Pro Series and Southwest Series championships 28 times as well as three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races.
Although Eaton never competed full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series-West, the Tacoma, Washington native’s presence was felt when he was on the track. Eaton won 11 times between 1973 and 1991 in equipment he owned. He also is a three-time champion of the NASCAR Northwest Tour with 41 victories in the late model touring division.
Page joined the motor sports world in 1991, after 11 years of working in marketing and special events for the Oakland Athletics. Prior to entering the sports arena, Page spent several years on Capitol Hill as a press secretary for U.S. Congressman Leon Pantetta. As the current president of Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California, Page is regarded as one of the foremost speedway presidents in the country and has been a constant supporter of West Coast racing.
As a native of Ontario, California, Skinner began his motorsports career racing late motels out of Susanville, Calif. In the early 1980s he moved to the East Coast in search of a NASCAR career. Team owner Richard Childress saw potential in the one-time water well driller and hired him to drive his No. 3 Chevrolet Silverado in the new NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Skinner won the series debut at Phoenix International Raceway in 1995. He won eight races that season and captured the first ever NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship. Eight more race wins during the 1996 season saw Skinner promoted to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, alongside teammate Dale Earnhardt. He won the pole for the 1997 Daytona 500 and scored a best finish of second at Talladega Superspeedway in 286 career starts. Skinner ranks third all-time in NASCAR Camping World Truck wins with 28 victories.
The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame was conceived in 2001 as a means of recognizing significant contributors to the sport of stock car racing. These recognitions include but are not limited to designers, engineers, mechanics, drivers, track owners, publicists, sponsors, car owners and members of the motor sports media. The initial class of 30 was inducted in 2002.
The 11th annual West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame class inductions are scheduled for June 2015. Further information is available at www.westcoaststockcarhalloffame.com.