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