AVONDALE, Ariz. (January 9, 2018) – The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame has announced the 10 finalists for its Class of 2018 induction, a list that includes five first-time nominees.
The five first-time nominees to emerge from the board’s first of two rounds of voting are George Follmer, Joe Garone, J.D. Gibbs, Greg Pursley and Bryan R. Sperber.
Previous nominees advancing for a final vote are Tom Gloy, Rick Henderson, Oren Prosser, Marshall Sargent and Richard (Dick) Woodland.
Final round voting by the Hall’s board of directors takes place Jan. 11-31 to select the five 2018 inductees, whose identities will be announced March 11 prior to running of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.
The Class of 2018 will be enshrined June 21, 2018 at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif. The event, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, again accompanies the annual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West weekend at nearby Sonoma Raceway.
“Without a doubt, these individuals comprise one of the most outstanding a diversified group of men whose success helped define the sport on the West Coast during the past 75 years,” said Ken Clapp, chairman of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. “Electing any one of them will expand greatly the stature of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.”
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 2018 awards dinner, contact Jenniffer Wentzel at 623-463-5400. A limited number of tickets will be make available to the public beginning April 1, 2018. Inquiries should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Biographies for the 10 candidates follow:
George Follmer. George Follmer was one of America’s most versatile motorsport figures in the middle of the 20th Century. He collected points in Formula One; won SCCA Can-Am and Trans-Am titles; won a U.S. Auto Club Championship Car race at ISM Raceway and posted top-five finishes in NASCAR’s premier series. Follmer, now 83, was born in Arizona but moved with his family to Southern California shortly thereafter. He raced out of Arcadia, where he owned an auto dealership. He won SCCA’s United States Road Racing Championship in 1965; the organization’s Can-Am title in 1972, subbing for Mark Donohue in Roger Penske’s Porsche 917/10; and SCCA Trans-Am titles in 1972 (Javelin) and 1976 (Porsche). Follmer spent a single season in F1 – 1973 – driving Don Nichols’ UOP Shadow and collected a third-place podium at the Spanish Grand Prix. A year later, Follmer took the wheel of Bud Moore’s Fords in a 13-race NASCAR Cup schedule, logging a fourth-place finish in Atlanta and fifths at Dover and Rockingham. He competed in six NASCAR K&N Pro Series West events – including dirt track events in Gardena and Vallejo, Calif. Follmer also won an International Race of Champions (IROC) event at Riverside International Raceway.
Joe Garone. A native of Denver, Colo., the 57-year-old Joe Garone is the president and general manager of Furniture Row Racing. Under Garone’s auspices, Furniture Row grew from a single-car, unaffiliated team into the powerhouse, fully factory-supported Toyota organization that won the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship with Martin Truex Jr. and crew chief Cole Pearn. Eight of the team’s 14 victories came in 2017. Like his father, Garone raced on area tracks until 1989 when he became crew chief for West Coast Stock Car Hall of Famer Rick Carelli. The duo’s success caught the attention of Denver auto dealer Marshal Chesrown, whose powerful Chevrolet teams reached the pinnacle of West Coast NASCAR competition. Chesrown also was voted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2014. Under Garone’s charge, the team won the 1991 NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Series championship and 21 races between 1987 and 1999. A NASCAR K&N Pro Series West title followed in 1993, a season in which Carelli won five of 14 races. Garone completed his stint with Chesrown and Carelli in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and joined Bill Elliott’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team in 1995, becoming its crew chief in 1998. He helped form PPI Motorsports in 1999 and from 2001 through 2003 was employed by NASCAR ultimately becoming its director of officiating. After spending a year with Michael Waltrip Motorsports, Garone moved back to Denver to join Furniture Row Racing. He previously was elected to the Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame.
J.D. Gibbs. Jason Dean “J.D.” Gibbs, born in Los Angeles in 1969 while his Super Bowl winning father Joe was an assistant coach at the University of Southern California, is president of Joe Gibbs Racing – one of NASCAR’s most successful racing organizations. A collegiate defensive back and quarterback, the younger Gibbs helped his William & Mary team to two Division 1 Football Championship Subdivision playoff appearances. After college, he joined JGR and was a tire changer on Dale Jarrett’s 1993 Daytona 500-winning team. Gibbs later competed as a driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and XFINITY Series, becoming president of JGR in 1998. During his tenure, JGR has won multiple Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and XFINITY Series championships and has become the NASCAR flagship organization for Toyota Racing Development. Gibbs, 48, resides with his family in Davidson, N.C.
Tom Gloy. Tom Gloy of Lafayette, Calif. was among the most successful Sports Car Club of America Trans-Am Series competitors during the 1980s. He won the 1984 championship driving a Mercury Capri for Roush Racing. Gloy competed in 17 races that year, winning three and finishing among the top five in 12 others. He was the 1979 Formula Atlantic champion and competed in one Indianapolis 500. Gloy also was chosen to compete in the International Race of Champions. Gloy, 70, entered Ford F150s in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for three seasons. His drivers collected three top-five finishes including a second by Tony Roper at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. *2017 nominee
Rick Henderson. Rick Henderson of Petaluma, Calif. was the first west coast driver to win a NASCAR national racing championship, capturing the 1959 sportsman title. Henderson also won the State of California championship in the same season, a title he previously won in 1957 and subsequently won in 1961-62. He won five additional track championships with three coming at San Jose (Calif.) Speedway, one at Kearney Bowl in Fresno, Calif. and one at Santa Rosa (Calif.) Speedway. Henderson competed in a trio of NASCAR premier series/Pacific Coast Late Model events at Oakland and Bay Meadows in San Mateo, Calif. in 1954 at age 22. Henderson passed away in 2001 at age 69. *2017 nominee
Oren Prosser. Oren Prosser was virtually unbeatable at Saugus (Calif.) Speedway in the 1960s and 1970s, winning five sportsman stock car championships (1964, 1967-72). He won nine consecutive feature races at the flat, .333-mile track in 1966. In 1971 Prosser won the July 4 Firecracker 400 – capturing all four 100-lap races at four southern California tracks. He also won Saugus’ first 330-lap event in 1975. Prosser won the NASCAR Permatex 300 in 1967 at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway and competed in three NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup Series) events. The Granada Hills, Calif. competitor, 77, drove Chevrolets for owner Donnie Johnson. *2017 nominee
Greg Pursley. Greg Pursley is a two-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion and NASCAR Home Tracks national champion. A former desert and motocross competitor, Pursley was a late comer to four-wheel competition at age 25. He won 13 of 18 races at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway in 2004 to capture NASCAR’s national weekly title. Moving to the NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Series, the Canyon Country, Calif. driver won two races along with four poles. Pursley entered the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West by longtime Southern California car owner Joe Nava. After a dozen races with Nava, Pursley moved to Gene Price Motorsports. With Price, a 2017 West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame inductee, won the 2011 and 2014 series championships. In 2011, Pursley won six of his 12 starts. Over 100 races, Pursley posted 20 victories, won 20 poles and logged 58 top-five and 75 top-10 finishes. He won races in six consecutive K&N Pro Series West seasons. Pursley, 50, resides in Parker City, Ariz.
Marshall Sargent. Marshall Sargent was a true international star, winning an estimated 500 feature races in the United States and Australia during a 20-year racing career. The Salinas, Calif. native, who raced out of San Jose, starred in hard tops and supermodifieds and won the NASCAR State of California championship in 1960. He won 88 races at the old San Jose Speedway, a paved third-mile track, including 1960 and 1963 Johnny Key Classics. Sargent was the 1960 San Jose champion and also won titles at Alviso, Salinas and Sacramento. Sargent also competed in the NASCAR premier series, qualifying for the 1961 Daytona 500. He had three top-10 finishes in 12 appearances, the best a seventh at Eureka, Calif. in 1957. Sargent won a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at the Gardena (Calif.) Stadium in 1957, driving the Howard Cams Chevrolet. Sargent died in 1990 at age 59. *2017 nominee
Bryan R. Sperber. For nearly 30 years, Bryan R. Sperber has been an integral part of the motorsports and entertainment industry at its highest levels, consistently spearheading change and innovation from coast to coast. Currently the president of ISM Raceway, Sperber has guided the strategic and operational vision for one of the most popular venues in the sports, for both fans and drivers alike. Throughout his 15 years as president of ISM Raceway, he has guided the track through significant capital expansion, overseen addition of a second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, as well as helped secure the return of the Verizon IndyCar Series to the raceway. The jewel of his tenure at ISM Raceway is the current $178 million modernization project. Prior to arriving at ISM Raceway, Sperber was president of Watkins Glen International, where he was the youngest track president in NASCAR at age 30. While serving as president of ISM Raceway, Sperber also was chairman of Auto Club Speedway from 200607, overseeing the facility’s day-to-day operations, while helping lead the transition team for new leadership. Sperber is president of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame and member of the board of directors of the Fiesta Bowl.
Dick Woodland. Dick Woodland, Templeton, Calif., built his first race car, a jalopy, in 1958 at age 15. In 1963, driver Mark Ward drove his supermodified to the top 20 in NASCAR national points. In 1964 Woodland turned 21 and raced for the first time, with a best feature finish in NASCAR competition at Fresno, Calif.’s Kearney Bowl. After military service, Woodland drove a California Racing Association sprint car at Ascot Park in Gardena but with a growing family, turned owner and hired Frank Secrist and Jim Eiland. Later, he teamed with Billy Wilkerson. Their drivers included P.J. Jones, Rip Williams and Ron Shuman, who won the initial SCRA championship for the team. Woodland entered the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West with NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. in 1991 and continued with his son, Rich Jr. In 55 races, they won once (at Phoenix in 1998) and finished fifth in the 1995 standings. They also entered several NASCAR premier series, XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series events. *2017 nominee
About the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame:
The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame was conceived in 2001 as a means of recognizing significant contributors and contributions to the sport of stock car racing. The mission of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame is founded to preserve history and heritage of the important role west coast stock car competitors 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.
Owen A. Kearns