Voting begins for 2017 West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame induction

Preliminary ballot Lists 25 figures from historic and modern eras.

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Nov. 21, 2016) – The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame has announced its 25 nominations for the organization’s 2017 induction ceremonies.

The star-studded list contains includes track promoters, car builders, drivers, owners and crew chiefs from historic (pre-1970) and modern eras of the sport. Fourteen individuals appear on the ballot for the first time.

Eligibility requirements have been broadened to include worthy individuals who competed in full-bodied racing vehicles primarily on road courses under international and national sanction by the FIA, International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), GRAND-AM and Sports Car Club of America.

“From a list of over 60 names, we had to come up with 25 to start the elimination process to get us down to the final five,” said Ken Clapp, West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame board chairman. “It has been very enlightening and we all discovered historical facts that we either had forgotten or simply didn’t know existed.

“As I look at the final 25, to say the least, I am impressed beyond words.”

The Board of Directors’ first round of balloting, from which 12 semi-finalists are to be chosen, begins Nov. 21 and ends Jan. 9. Final voting begins Jan. 12, 2017 and ends Jan. 31, 2017 with the five inductees to be named Sunday, March 19, 2017 during the NASCAR premier series weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.

The Class of 2017 will be enshrined June 22, 2017 at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif. The class also includes Michael Gaughan, whose induction was voted in 2016 but was waived by the board for personal reasons. The event again accompanies the annual NASCAR premier series and K&N Pro Series West weekend at nearby Sonoma Raceway.

Here are the 25 nominees by category (*first time nominee):

Promoters:

*Larry Burton. A five-time West Capital (Calif.) Speedway champion, the “Roseville Rocket” operated All-American Speedway where he promoted one of the west’s first high-dollar open competition events. Larry Burton also owned and operated Tahoe-Carson (Nev.) Speedway. Deceased.

*Blackie Gejeian. A five-time racing champion, Michael “Blackie Gejeian promoted NASCAR weekly races at Clovis and Madera (Calif.) Speedways and Fresno (Calif.) Dragway. Gejeian’s Fresno Autorama was one of America’s largest car shows running for 51 years. Deceased.

Builders

*Goularte Brothers. Brothers Harry and Anthony (Tony) Goularte of Morgan Hill, Calif. began building hard tops in the 1950s and were known as being able to build, modify or repair anything. West Coast Stock Car Hall of Famer Johnny Key was among drivers of their equipment. Both are deceased.

Drivers

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.

*Walker Evans. A nine-time Baja 500 off-road truck winner, Walker Evans, Riverside, Calif., is a member of the Motorsports Hall of America. He was crew chief for Brendan Gaughan’s pair of NASCAR K&N Pro Series championships as well as owner-driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

*Tom Gloy. The Lafayette, Calif. resident won the 1984 SCCA Trans-Am championship driving a Mercury Capri for Roush Racing. Tom Gloy owned a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team for three seasons.

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

*Howard Kaeding. Howard Kaeding won NASCAR supermodified championships at San Jose (Calif.) Speedway (1973-74) and Clovis (Calif.) Speedway (1970-71 and was NASCAR’s State of California champion (1970-73). The Campbell, Calif. driver once won 23 consecutive races at San Jose.

*Tommy Kendall. Tommy Kendall, a Santa Monica, Calif. native, dominated the SCCA Trans-Am Series in the 1990s, capturing four driving titles in the first eight years of the decade (1990, 1995-97). Kendall competed in 14 NASCAR premier series events with best finish of eighth.

*Joe Leonard. The three-time American Motorcyclist Association national champion raced hard tops and supermodifieds in central California before joining the U.S. Auto Club’s championship car series in which he won six times including Ontario’s California 500. The San Diego native won two USAC stock car races in 1964.

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.

*Greg Pickett. Greg Pickett, Alamo, Calif., is the only driver to have won SCCA Trans-Am Series races in four decades of competition. Pickett won his class at the 12 hours of Sebring twice and as an owner captured two American Le Mans Series owner and driver titles.

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.

*Scott Pruett. Scott Pruett, Roseville, Calif. won three SCCA Trans-Am Series championships (1987, 1994 and 2003) and a pair of IMSA GTO championships (1986, 1988). Pruett competed in 40 NASCAR premier series races with three top-five and six top-10 finishes. He’s a five-time 24 Hours of Daytona winner.

*Marshall Sargent. A native of Salinas, Calif., Marshall Sargent won the NASCAR State of California modified championship in 1960. Sargent won 88 races at the old San Jose (Calif.) Speedway including 1960 and 1963 Johnny Key Classics. He won a NASCAR K&N Pro Series event at the Gardena (Calif.) Stadium in 1957. Deceased.

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.

*George Snider. Best known for his Indianapolis 500 relationship with AJ Foyt, George Snider got his start in California’s central valley. Snider won the 1954 Johnny Key Classic at the old San Jose (Calif.) Speedway. The Bakersfield, Calif. resident is the 1971 USAC Silver Crown champion and the group’s final Gold Crown champion in 1981-82.

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.

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.

*Gene Welch. A Tennessee short track owner/operator, Gene West moved west to Orangevale, Calif. where he owned Welch Racing Enterprises. His drivers won multiple championships at All-American Speedway in Roseville and was crew chief for his son, Mark, the 1999-2000 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion. Deceased.

*Richard Woodland. Richard (Dick) Woodland built his first jalopy at a 15-year-old. After a brief career in modifieds, the Templeton, Calif. resident became a championship sprint car owner. Woodland entered the NASCAR K&N Pro Series in 1991 with West Coast Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. and continued with his son, Rich, winning at Phoenix International Raceway in 1998.

Crew Chief

*George Bignotti. A San Francisco native, George Bignotti raced stock cars prior to World War II and owned a NASCAR premier/K&N Pro Series Oldsmobile in 1954. Bignotti joined AJ Foyt as crew chief, winning the Indianapolis 500 three times. Bignotti won the 500 a record seven times with six different drivers and the U.S. Auto Club championship three times in four years. Deceased.

For additional information about the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, please visit WestCoastStockCarHallofFame.com or contact Owen A. Kearns at 661-342-2983. To obtain details about table sponsorship for the 2017 awards dinner, contact Jenniffer Wentzel at 623-463-5400.

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