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.