Voting Begins for 2016 West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Nominees

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Expanded Preliminary Ballot Lists 22 Historic, Modern Era Figures

PHOENIX, Ariz. – The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame has announced its nominations for the organization’s 2016 induction ceremonies.

The star-studded list contains 22 names – easily the most varied in the Hall’s 15-year history – and includes drivers, owners, crew chiefs and others from historic (pre-1970) and modern eras of the sport.

It also represents a major departure from past voting under which nominees were required to have a direct connection to a NASCAR premier series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and its predecessors and other national racing groups. The organization’s board of directors recently made eligible all west coast racing figures who have made major impacts toward the expansion and betterment of stock car racing.

The Board of Directors’ first round of balloting, from which 12 semi-finalists are to be chosen, ends in early February. A second ballot will choose the five 2016 inductees. The inductees will be named Saturday, March 12, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.

The Class of 2016 will be enshrined on June 23 at the Meritage Resort in Napa, Calif. The event again accompanies the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup and K&N Pro Series West weekend at nearby Sonoma Raceway.

“The expansion of eligibility has allowed the research committee to go back 75 years and create more than 100 biographies of persons deemed worthy of nomination,” said Ken Clapp, chairman of the board of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.

Here are the 22 nominees by category:

Agency/Marketing

John Bickford, Vallejo, Calif. As Jeff Gordon’s step father, de facto agent and off-track tutor, Bickford molded Gordon into a superstar in NASCAR’s post-1990, television-centric era.

Drivers

Mike Duncan, Bakersfield, Calif. NASCAR K&N Pro Series West driver and owner champion in 2004-05.

Ron Esau, El Cajon, Calif. Inaugural NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour champion in 1986 and track champion at Cajon (Calif.) Speedway.

Garrett Evans, East Wenatchee, Wash. Inaugural NASCAR Elite Series Northwest Tour champion in 1985 and operator of Wenatchee Valley (Wash.) Raceway.

Rick Henderson, Petaluma, Calif. First west coast driver to win a NASCAR national racing series championship, capturing the 1959 sportsman title. Deceased.

Johnny Key, Salinas, Calif. Multiple roadster and hard top champion who won 54 California Stock Car Racing Association events – including eight over an eight-day period – in 1952. Deceased.

Doug McCoun, Prunedale, Calif. First west coast driver to win the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series national championship under its modern-day format in 1985.

Jim Pettit II, Seaside, Calif. NASCAR Pacific Coast Region champion (1984) and 2004-05 NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour champion.

Al Pombo, Fresno, Calif. Winner of seven NASCAR super modified championships and more than 500 races in virtually every kind of car from 1948 through his retirement in 1971. Deceased.

Dan Press, Vader, Wash. Innovative manufacturer of racing equipment won 1989 NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour title in 1989 as well as two Saugus (Calif.) Sportsman championships and 38 races. Deceased

Clyde Prickett, Fresno, Calif. Won 1955 NASCAR California State Championship for hard tops with one NASCAR K&N Pro Series victory and a seventh-place points finish in a partial season.

Oren Prosser, Granada Hills, Calif. Virtually unbeatable at Saugus (Calif.) Speedway, won five sportsman stock car championships at the .333-mile oval in 1964 and 1967-72.

Frank Secrist, Oildale, Calif. Won 1951-54 jalopy titles  – then the top division – at Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway as well at the 1953-55 titles at Hanford (Calif.) Speedway. Held Daytona International Speedway sportsman qualifying records.

Johnny Steele, Carmichael, Calif. Winner of five NASCAR K&N Pro Series races over a five-year span finished among the top five in the division’s points on four occasions. He also competed in 11 NASCAR premier series races between 1965 and 1971.

Jim Thirkettle, Sylmar, Calif. All time winner and super stock champion at Mesa Marin (Calif.) Raceway with 78 victories and five championships. Two-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series West winner but never competed in a full season.

Owners

Dave Fuge, Sumner, Wash. Two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner champion with Mike Bliss (2002) and Travis Kvapil (1994). Prior to moving east, he built late model race cars that dominated NASCAR and other touring circuits in the Pacific Northwest.

Michael Gaughan, Las Vegas, Nev. Won NASCAR K&N Pro Series championships in 2001-02 with son Brendan Gaughan. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team posted nine victories with the younger Gaughan and Steve Park.

Gene Monaco, Spokane, Wash. NASCAR K&N Pro Series West owner from 1997-2003, collecting four wins and 49 top-10 finishes with Kevin Richards behind the wheel of his No. 85 Monaco Enterprises Chevrolet. Biggest victory was the 1999 Coca-Cola 500 at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan.

Tom Olson, Sonora, Calif. Partnering with Eldon and Doug George, Olson’s Fords captured NASCAR K&N Pro Series West rookie of the year honors for the younger George – a future West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame member – in 1994 and the championship the following year.

Gene Price, Parker, Ariz. Price’s drivers – Greg Pursley and Dylan Kwasniewski – won three NASCAR K&N Pro Series West titles (2011, 2013 and 2014). In just 144 series starts, Gene Price Motorsports registered 26 wins and 114 top-10 finishes.

Bill Strauser, Walla Walla, Wash. Won the 1994 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship with West Coast Stock Car Hall of Famer Mike Chase behind the wheel. His equipment won six times over three seasons in the series.

Crew Chief

Chuck Williamson, Seaside, Calif. Innovative crew chief and strategist who came on northern California’s NASCAR scene in the late 1970s with his late brother and West Coast Stock Car Hall of Famer Tim Williamson. The pair finished second in its rookie season on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.

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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