Newcomers Johnson, Ribbs and Wells among 20 nominees on this year’s ballot
BAKERSFIELD, California (Nov. 3, 2023) –Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson; Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) veteran Willy T. Ribbs; and NASCAR, CART and off-road team owner Calvin Wells III are among six first-time nominees under consideration for induction into the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2024.
The inaugural nominees are:
- Jimmie Johnson, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and 83-race premier series winner
- Willie T. Ribbs, nine-time Sports Car Club of America Trans-Am winner and first Black American to qualify for the Indianapolis 500
- Jan Quackenbush, race team owner, sponsor and safety coordinator
- Ted Stofle, three-time NASCAR State of California champion and 110-race winner
- Ron Strmiska, 1978-79 Stockton 99 Speedway late model champion
- Calvin (Cal) Wells III, team owner with wins in NASCAR, CART and off-road racing and current CEO of Legacy Motorsports Club
Nominated again after appearing on previous ballots are Austin Cameron, Dick Cobb, Ken Boyd, Ernie Cope, Mike David, Davey Hamilton, Eric Holmes, Lance Hooper, Tony Hunt, Jeff Jefferson, Brad Noffsinger, Jimmy Vasser, Boris Said and Sean Woodside. Five inductees will be named in early 2024, following two rounds of voting by the organization’s Board of Directors. First-round voting begins next week.
The organization will induct its seventh Heritage class of six individuals whose careers largely began prior to 1970. The five Heritage inductees will be named in spring 2024. The West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame will reveal its first 10 Pioneers of Motorsports – most of whom began their careers prior to World War II.
The 2024 induction ceremonies, presented by World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, will be held Thursday, June 6 as part of the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR ARCA Menard Series West weekend at Sonoma Raceway. The gala will be held in Sonoma Raceway’s Turn 11 Club and will feature naming of the 4th Annual Knockin Doorz Down Philanthropist of the Year presented by 51FIFTY.
“As the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame moves further into its third decade, I can’t recall a more diversified group of nominees for consideration. Simply said, it is really exciting to look at the 20 contestants entering the first round of voting,” said Ken Clapp, Chairman and CEO of the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame. “Further to my level of excitement, I am glad to be moving forward with a Pioneer category to bring into membership figures going back to the early 1900s.
“After considerable evaluation and careful consideration, it was determined the Pioneer category’s selection would be decided by a Historical Committee, rather than via ballot, since very few persons remain who have thorough knowledge of 100 years of history.
“We are also very proud to note our organization’s charitable giving has exceeded more than $800,000 over the past six years.”
The West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame annually nominates for induction worthy individuals who competed in traditional stock car racing as well as other racing vehicles primarily on road courses under international and national sanction by the FIA, IndyCar, International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), GRAND-AM and the Sports Car Club of America. The Hall also is open to winners and champions of other forms of racing, as determined by the Hall’s nominating committee.
To obtain media credentials for coverage of the 23rd West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame awards, please contact Owen A. Kearns at 661-342-2983. To obtain details about table sponsorship for the 2024 awards dinner, please contact Ken Clapp at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 founded to preserve history and heritage of the important 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 $800,000 in the past of its its 22 years for youth, health and safety, hospitals, animal rescue, military and other charitable causes.
the past five of its 22 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
2024 West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame Nominees
First-time Nominated Drivers
Jimmie Johnson. Johnson, El Cajon, Calif., is one of three competitors to win seven NASCAR Cup Series championships, sharing the record with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. The Hendrick Motorsports driver won a record five consecutive titles between 2006 and 2010. His 83 victories – in 16 straight seasons – rank sixth among NASCAR Cup Series winners. Johnson drove the No. 48 Chevrolet in 689 races, recording 232 top-five and 374 top-10 finishes while winning 36 poles. After ending his fulltime NASCAR career, Johnson spent two seasons with the NTT IndyCar Series, posting two top-10 finishes. He qualified for one Indianapolis 500. Johnson, 48, competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series prior to his Cup career recording one victory in 93 starts. He began racing motocross events at age five and later won six off-road championships. Johnson, 48, will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2024. He is among ownership group of Legacy Motorsports Club.
Willy T. Ribbs. William Thomas Ribbs Jr. – Willy T. – grew up in San Jose, Calif., the son of plumbing contractor Bunny Ribbs, an amateur Sports Car Club of America competitor. Following graduation from high school, the younger Ribbs moved to Europe where he competed in Formula Fords, winning the 1976 Dunlop championship. He was named 1983 SCCA Trans-Am rookie of the year, winning five races in a Budweiser-sponsored Chevrolet Camaro. The following season Ribbs won four times, driving a Mercury Capri for Jack Roush. Ribbs competed in 46 Championship Racing Teams events between 1990 and 1994, driving for Raynor Racing and Derrick Walker. He became the first Black American to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1991. His best of two “500” finishes was 21st in 1993. Ribbs, 68, competed in three NASCAR Cup Series events in 1986 and was a fulltime NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitor in 2001, finishing 16th in the championship for Bobby Hamilton Racing.
Ted Stofle. NASCAR weekly stock car racing California’s dirt tracks in the 1970s literally were the property of one competitor: Ted Stofle. The Merced resident won 29% of his starts – 110 – from 1974 through 1980, an unheard of percentage. Stofle finished in the top five 256 times, 166 of those firsts or seconds. His top 10 total – 302 – represented 80% of his 373 racing appearances. Stofle won eight track championships – including six consecutive titles at Merced Speedway, even adding the quarter-mile clay venue’s Figure 8 championship in 1977. He won both Merced and Watsonville – now Ocean – Speedway championships in 1980, his final season. Stofle won NASCAR’S State of California championship three times and was its Pacific Coast champion twice. NASCAR did not award a national short track championship in 1980 but, based upon its subsequent system, would have crowned Stofle. Stoffle, 27, died in a hunting accident, a few days after the 1980 season ended. Merced Speedway continues to honor its champion with a Ted Stofle Memorial race.
Ron Strmiska Sr. Strmiska was born in Wisconsin in 1941 but moved to California’s Central Valley in childhood. Growing up near the Central Valley town of Manteca, he became known as “The Manteca Missile” after beginning his racing career in 1969. Strmiska also was known for his pink late model stock cars which found Victory Lane at many weekly tracks. He won back-to-pack championships at Stockton 99 Speedway in 1978-79. He retired in 2000. Strmiska also competed the NASCAR West Series, finishing eighth at Roseville’s All-American Speedway in 1979. Strmiska also was a part-time member of the NASCAR Southwest Series with a best finish of third at Stockton in 1990. His son Ron Jr. and grandson Ross followed in Strmiska’s tire tracks with the latter winning the 2007 Spears Racing League title. Strmiska passed in 2014 at age 73.
First-Time Nominated Owner/Crew Chief/Industry Figures
Jan Quakenbush. Quakenbush, owner of Jan’s Towing in Glendora, Calif., began his career in the motorsports industry as a 16-year-old drag racer at the old Irwindale Raceway strip in California’s San Gabriel Valley. He ultimately competed in Junior Fuel dragsters throughout Southern California and -leaving the cockpit – Quakenbush became a member of the National Hot Rod Association’s Safety Safari. Quakenbush became the official towing service at a number of California tracks including Auto Club Speedway and Irwindale Speedway. He donated cars and trained safety crews in recovery operations, classes Quakenbush transitioned into his public street crews. Quakenbush, 65, long has backed races and teams at Irwindale Speedway, including for West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame inductees Butch and David Gilliland. He currently owns a NASCAR ARCA Menards West team.
Cal Wells. Calvin (Cal) Wells III has been at the forefront of the motorsports industry for more than 40 years as entrepreneur, builder, team owner, executive and consultant. In July, Wells became CEO of Legacy Motor Club, the NASCAR Cup Series team owned by Richard Petty and Jimmie Johnson. It marks Wells’ third foray into NASCAR Cup competition. His PPI Motorsports team competed in seven seasons and 260 races, winning at Martinsville Speedway and Darlington Raceway with Ricky Craven. He then joined Michael Waltrip Racing, eventually rising to Vice President/Chief Operating Officer. Wells spent five seasons at the helm of Wells-Arciero Motorsports in the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) series, winning once with Cristiano da Matta. Wells, with Toyota, formed PPI Motorsports in 1979 and dominated off-road truck racing, winning 88 races including three Baja 1000s and 11 Baja 500s with drivers Steve and Rod Millen and Robby Gordon, among others. Wells, 68, is a 2020 inductee into the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Previously Nominated Drivers
Dick Cobb. Dick Cobb, a native New Yorker, moved to Las Vegas in 1968 at age 20. As driver, car builder, crew chief, driving instructor and mentor, Cobb’s racing career spanned 45 years. Cobb won three sportsman/late model stock car championships at the old Craig Road Speedway, a quarter-mile paved track in North Las Vegas. Following the track’s closure, Cobb won the premier division title at the old Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif. He captured four NASCAR Super Late Model Championships at the three-eighths-mile Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as well as the 2000 NASCAR Sunbelt Region title. Cobb also competed in the NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour as teammate to NASCAR Cup Series champion Kurt Busch with the Q-Motorsports Team of West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee Craig Keough. During his career, Cobb won several hundred feature races. Cobb mentored a lengthy list of Las Vegas drivers and – as instructor at the Richard Petty Driving Experience – assisted West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee Brendan Gaughan’s transition from off-road to NASCAR competition.
Ken Boyd. Ken Boyd was California’s pre-eminent pavement Late Model car racer of the 1980s and 1990s, winning five championships at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway. Boyd was the first to win four consecutive championships (1988-91) at the quarter-mile track, where he recorded 71 victories and 84 fast times during his career – including 39 consecutive fast times, believed to be a national record. His first title came in 1977 at Madera (Calif.) Speedway. The Ceres, Calif. resident finished fourth in the 1991 Whelen All-American Pacific Coast Region, winning 14 times. He also won twice in the NASCAR Elite Division Southwest Series. Boyd, age 69, fielded entries for a number of prominent competitors, including West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Famers Ivan Baldwin, Jeff Gordon and Ernie Irvan. Baldwin was the biggest winner in Boyd equipment, posting 15 of 29 total victories. His other winners were Kenny Kitchens, Chad Nichols and Jim Reich. Boyd spent two decades servicing tracks and traveling series as a provider of tires, fuel and parts.
Austin Cameron. Austin Cameron overcame life-threatening illness to star in the ARCA Menards Series West. Cameron, from El Cajon, Calif., began racing go-karts at the age of nine, eventually graduating to stock cars. He was the rookie of the year at Willow Springs Raceway in Southern California. In 1998, Cameron joined the ARCA Menards Series West, also becoming the season’s top newcomer and finishing fourth in the championship standings despite missing the first race. His first of 15 series victories came in 1999, at Irwindale Speedway outside Los Angeles where, in 2003, Cameron returned to capture the Toyota All-Star Showdown featuring late model competitors from throughout the United States. While Cameron failed to win a series title, he finished three times in the point standings, including runners-up in 1999 and 2004. In 2005 Cameron underwent treatment for non Hodgkins lymphoma and a heart transplant. He returned to competition in 2006, winning twice before retirement. Cameron, 57, also competed in all three NASCAR national series.
Mike David. Mike David of Modesto, Calif. is the 2007 ARCA Menards Series West champion. David, 53, competed in 91 NASCAR West Series (now ARCA Menards Series West) events between 2001 and 2012, most of them behind the wheel of the Bennett Wineries Ford owned by 2013 West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee Randy Lynch. Three of his seven victories – including David’s first, in 2004 – came at the Stockton 99 Speedway, a quarter-mile paved oval in California’s Central Valley. David, 56, previously captured a Stockton late model title. His final series victory came at Phoenix Raceway in 2008 driving Lynch’s Toyota. David’s ARCA Menards Series West line shows 43 top-five and 66 top-10 finishes and three poles. He finished third in the 2006 Toyota All-Star Showdown at the Irwindale Events Center and also competed in the NASCAR Elite Southwest Series with a best result of second at Madera (Calif.) Speedway.
Davey Hamilton. Davey Hamilton is a second-generation super modified star and Indianapolis 500 veteran. A native of Nampa, Idaho, the son of open-wheel pavement legend Ken Hamilton began his racing career in the six-cylinder class at Boise’s Firebird Raceway. He won championship and rookie of the year titles in 1979 and made his super modified debut a year later with the Canadian American Racing Association (CAMRA). He won three consecutive titles, 1987-89 and from 1990 through 1994 championships in Western States Super modified Tour, Super Modified Racing Association, Fire and Fury Series and the Madera series. Hamilton competed in 11 Indianapolis 500 races, finishing fourth in 1998. He made 56 Indy Racing League starts, driving for A.J. Foyt, Galles Racing and Dreyer Reinbold Racing teams. Hamilton was runner-up in the championship two times – 1997 for Foyt and 1998 for Nienhouse Motorsports. He scored eight IRL podiums, twice finishing second at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Pikes Peak International Raceway. Hamilton, 61, is a broadcaster with SIRIUSXM Radio and NBC Sports.
Eric Holmes. Eric Holmes is a second-generation competitor, who followed his father, Steve, into racing at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway. Holmes, from Escalon, Calif., began racing karts at age eight, winning races and a pair of championships. He drove an occasional street stock race at age 17 and, after a season working on West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Famer Ernie Irvan’s NASCAR Xfinity team on the east coast, returned to California to begin racing fulltime. He won numerous events at Stockton, then began his touring career with West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Famer Allen Beebe. The pair won the 2006 NASCAR West (now ARCA Menards Series West) title, using one car and one engine while also finishing second in NASCAR Elite Southwest Series late model points. In 2008, Holmes joined West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Famer Bill McAnally’s potent Toyota team, repeating as champion the same season, placing second the next and becoming a three-time titlist in 2010. In 13 seasons in the West Series, Holmes won 17 times with 59 top-five and 78 top-10 finishes, as well as 13 poles. Holmes, 49, remains with the McAnally organization as its driver coach and spotter for BMR’s Driver Development program.
Lance Hooper. Lance Hooper is a member of the “Palmdale Posse,” a group of NASCAR racers that raced out of Palmdale, Calif. headed by West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. The 56-year-old Hooper, like Hornaday, is a second-generation competitor whose family raced stock cars throughout Southern California and called Saugus (Calif.) Speedway home. Driving for West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Famer Ray Claridge, Hooper won championships in consecutive seasons – NASCAR Elite Southwest Series in 1995 and the NASCAR West Series (now ARCA Menards Series West) in 1996. Hooper won four times in West; seven times in the late model Southwest Series. Later, Hooper competed in all three NASCAR national series, finishing 10th in a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Nazareth (Pa.) Speedway. Hooper transitioned to a crew chief’s role with nearly 100 events over seven seasons. He posted top-10 finishes with Clay Rogers and Jeff Green and spent a full season at Thor Sport Racing with Kerry Earnhardt.
Tony Hunt. Tony Hunt is a multiple U.S. Auto Club champion – with nine sprint car titles, 50 main event wins and 50 pole positions. The Rancho Cordova, Calif. competitor won his first USAC championship in the 1992 Formula Russell Series, as well as several kart titles. Hunt, 51, competed in the ARCA Menards Series West in 1993 and 2000, posting two top-10 finishes including a sixth at Shasta (Calif.) Speedway. He spotted for a number of NASCAR premier series drivers – John Andretti, Stevie Reeves, Ken Schrader and Mike Wallace to name a few. Hunt has instructed at the Jim Russell Racing School, Andy Hillenburg’s Fast Track Driver School and the Richard Petty Racing Experience. He is an automotive brand ambassador and driving instructor and a stunt driver and most recently was the stunt driving double for Christian Bale’s character Ken Miles in the 2019 film Ford v Ferrari.
Jeff Jefferson. Jeff Jefferson is a three-time NASCAR Elite Series Northwest Tour champion and an ARCA Menards Series West team owner. Jefferson, a resident of Naches, Wash., is the son of West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee George Jefferson. He won the 2003-05 Tour titles, posting 13 victories in 80 starts. Jefferson, 51, also competed on the ARCA Menards Series West, winning once at Portland Speedway in 2000. With West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame crew chief Jerry Pitts, Jefferson purchased the assets of Gene Price Racing in 2005. Their drivers included Noah Gragson, who won five times and was named the 2015 rookie of the year. The team – JP Racing and Jefferson Racing – scored 13 victories in the ARCA Menards Series East and West. Among winning drivers were NASCAR Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick and Will Rogers. Austin Dillon, Sheldon Creed and William Byron also drove the team’s Fords.
Brad Noffsinger. One of the West’s premier competitors in non-winged sprint cars, Brad Noffsinger also raced in the NASCAR Cup Series, became a Cup crew chief and – for 20 years – was an instructor at the Richard Petty Driving School at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Noffsinger, from Huntington Beach, Calif., began his sprint car career in 1979, becoming the California Racing Association’s Rookie of the Year the following season. He won back-to-back CRA titles in 1986-87, at the wheel of the Jack Gardner Jr. sprinter. Noffsinger won 50 CRA features. Noffsinger also competed part-time in USAC’s Silver Crown division, winning once at Memphis Motorsports Park. He moved to the NASCAR West Series (now ARCA Menards Series West) in 1987, then to the Cup Series where over portions of three seasons competed in 17 events, with a best finish of 19th at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In 1997 Noffsinger joined SABCO Racing as the crew chief for Wally Dallenbach Jr. The No. 46 team competed in 18 races with a best finish of 10th at The Glen. Noffsinger, 63, was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2013.
Boris Said. Boris Said is best known for his sports car successes while being an acknowledged “road course ringer” in NASCAR. Said, born in New York City but living throughout his career in Carlsbad, Calif., won the 2002 SCCA Trans-Am championship and the 2004 Rolex Grand-Am GT title. Driving a BMW, Said shared back to back GT class victories in the 1997-98 24 Hours of Daytona. Said won 10 times in the Rolex Series. He competed in the LeMans 24 Hour race, won in GT cars in Germany and also raced in Australian Super Cars. Said, whose father Bob was a pioneer post-World War II sports car driver, won poles in all three NASCAR national series. Although recognized for his road racing prowess, Said captured the pole for the 2006 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coke 400 at Daytona International Speedway and finished fourth. He won a NASCAR XFINITY Series race in Montreal as well as a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Sonoma Raceway. He frequently is called on to tutor NASCAR’s top stars on the art of road racing. The 61 year-old Said’s most recent NASCAR Cup Series start came in 2022 at Circuit of the Americas.
Sean Woodside. The Saugus, Calif. competitor won the 1999 NASCAR West Series (now ARCA Menards Series West) championship, following two seasons of second-place points finishes. Woodside drove for two West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame inductees – Bill McAnally in his championship season and Ray Claridge. He won seven times – five in Claridge’s Pontiacs and two as a McAnally Chevrolet driver. Three quarters of Woodside’s 74 series starts resulted in top-10 finishes (49). Woodside also won 12 poles. The competitor also raced in the NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour, winning twice and also pursued limited schedules in NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series. Woodside is 53 years old
Jimmy Vasser. Jimmy Vasser, born in Canoga Park, won the 1986 Sports Car Club of American Formula Ford championship and in 1992 was the runner-up Formula Atlantic points finishers winning six times. Vasser moved to Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) the following year with Hayhoe-Cole Racing, signing with Chip Ganassi Racing for the 1995 season. CART’s last American-born champion, Vasser won nine times for CGR on ovals, road courses and street courses – including the CART street race in Queensland, Australia. His final victory for Team Rahal at Fontana, Calif. is CART’s fastest at an average speed of 197.997 mph. Vasser twice finished fourth in the Indianapolis 500 but the CART/IRL split kept him away from the Speedway during his prime years. He co-owned IndyCar’s KV Racing Technologies and over 14 seasons won seven times including the 2013 500 with Tony Kanaan. Vasser was selected for the International Race of Champions (IROC) and twice finished fourth at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Indianapolis. Vasser, 67, operates Jimmy Vasser Toyota of Napa, California.
Previously Nominated Owner/Crew Chief
Ernie Cope. Ernie Cope, 54, is a native of Spanaway, Wash. whose father and uncle built professional dragster engines. His cousin, Derrike, is a Daytona 500 winner and West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee. Cope began racing in the NASCAR Northwest Series at the age of 19, posting 24 top-five finishes in the late model stock car touring series. He finished third in the championship in 1994 and moved to the ARCA Menards Series West the following year, scoring two victories in Lew Miller’s Chevrolet en route to a second-place points finish. Cope swapped driving gloves for a crew chief’s headset, competing in more than 400 national series races. He won nine times in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – six of them with Kevin Harvick. Cope’s NASCAR Xfinity Series record shows 285 races, 16 poles, 15 wins, 106 top fives and 170 top 10s. His drivers finished runner-up in two seasons – Elliott Sadler in 2011 and Chase Elliott in 2015.