Sonoma Raceway’s Gregory, historian Osmer, join Board of Directors
BAKERSFIELD, Calif., January 10, 2022 – Ralph Sheheen, co-owner of National Speed Sport News and a nationally recognized motorsports broadcaster, has been named President of the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame.
West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Chairman/CEO Ken Clapp also announced addition of two members to the Hall’s Board of Directors. They are Jill Gregory, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Sonoma Raceway and Harold Osmer, an award-winning author and motorsports historian. Their election brings the Board’s membership to 26.
“The West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame has taken a major step forward in 2022 with the acceptance of Ralph Sheheen to serve as our president and the addition of Jill Gregory and Harold Osmer as Board of Directors members,” said Ken Clapp, Chairman and CEO of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.
“Ralph has been the face of our organization as the longtime master of ceremonies of the Hall’s annual Induction gala. His stature as a prominent journalist and broadcaster, along with his business success, makes him the logical person to serve as the Hall’s second in command.
“Jill Gregory took leadership of Sonoma Raceway at a difficult time but despite the challenges of the ongoing Pandemic, she and her staff are quickly moving Northern California racing forward. She offered the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame the use of its new VIP/Hospitality complex outside Turn 11 for our June 9 Induction Gala, presented by World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. We served together on the Board of Directors of Iowa Speedway during Jill’s NASCAR tenure and I can attest to her vision within the industry.
“Harold Osmer falls into the “one of a kind” category as one who is a walking and breathing encyclopedia of racing in Southern California since the advent of the race car. He is a talented journalist whose inquisitive mind has uncovered nuggets many of us ‘long timers’ had missed. Having Osmer on the board is a no-brainer as we make certain all of the sport’s early stars can be recognized.”
Sheheen has been a member of the Hall’s Board of Directors for nearly a decade, serving as Master of Ceremonies of its annual Induction Gala. The native of Sacramento, Calif. has been broadcasting motorsports on national television for more than 30 years covering everything from Swamp Buggies to Formula One and from Supercross to Moto G-P.
During his lengthy career he has held microphones for major television networks including CBS, FOX, NBC and ESPN among others. Sheheen also has worked on the biggest racing radio networks in the country including PRN, MRN and the Indy Radio Network. He has spent many hours broadcasting races over the public address systems at many of the world’s most famous race tracks including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Daytona International Speedway.
Sheheen is co-owner President of SPEED SPORT, the oldest, most trusted brand name in American motorsports journalism. SPEED SPORT, which is over 85 years old, is a full-fledged media company covering every form of racing and includes two monthly publications, SPEED SPORT Magazine and Sprint Car and Midget. The SPEEDSPORT.TV Network is home to over 75 affiliates and broadcasts over 1,500 live streamed motorsports events annually
Gregory was named by Speedway Motorsports to the top executive post at Sonoma Raceway in early 2021 as successor to Steve Page, who retired following three decades at the helm of the Northern California road course and motorsports complex. Page was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2014.
A native of Modesto, in California’s Central Valley, Gregory previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Content Officer at NASCAR and was managing executive of the company’s Charlotte-based operations. She led the marketing, media, communications, broadcasting and diversity and inclusion functions for NASCAR, and was responsible for the sanctioning body’s digital platform, including NASCAR.com.
Before joining NASCAR, Gregory was the Senior Vice President of Motorsports Marketing for Bank of America, and previously served as Director of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series marketing program for Sprint Nextel. In 2011, Gregory was selected for the inaugural class of “Game Changers: Women in Sports Business” by Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Osmer researched, compiled, and produced the first full-length scholarly paper dedicated to the topic of Southern California auto racing history. His 1996 Master’s thesis written while studying at California State University Northridge, uncovered the fact that in terms of sheer venue numbers, more auto racing has taken place in Southern California than any other place in the world.
His original work became the book “Where They Raced,” which then spawned a detailed look at the “Santa Monica Road Races (1909-1919)” as well as the comprehensive “Saugus Speedway Scrapbook.” All three books garnered awards from a variety of automotive enthusiast groups including the Motor Press Guild, American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association, and Society of Automotive Historians.
Osmer’s ties to Southern California auto racing reach back 40 years to the final seasons at Ascot Park as a regular Saturday night CRA sprint car fan. He drew national acclaim for production of the Irwindale Speedway weekly event program during 2001-2004, including a season-long stint as play-by-play radio announcer in 2004. Osmer, who lives in Los Angeles, served two years announcing at the Bonneville Salt Flats with SCTA in 2013-2014 and continues working with USAC and Agajanian Promotions in the production/promotion of the annual Turkey Night Grand Prix.
About the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame:
The West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame was conceived in 2001 as a means of recognizing significant contributors and contributions to the sport of stock car/motorsports competition. The mission of the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame is to preserve history and heritage of the key role west coast stock car and motorsports figures 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 is a 501(c)3 charitable organization, dedicated to supporting a variety of organizations and groups from coast to coast. During its tenure, the Hall has raised more than $600,000 in the past five of its 20 years for youth, health and safety, hospitals, animal rescue, military and other charitable causes.
For more information on the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame visit: www.WestCoastStockCarHallofFame.com
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Owen A. Kearns