West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame names 2024 finalists

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Cobb, Johnson, Ribbs, Said, Vasser, and Wells among 11 vying for induction  

BAKERSFIELD, California (January 8, 2024) – The late Dick Cobb, winner of multiple track titles in California and Nevada over a 45-year racing career; seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson; Sports Car Club of America Trans-Am star Willy T. Ribbs; road racing standout Boris Said; Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) champion Jimmy Vasser and multi-discipline team owner Calvin (Cal) Wells III are among 11 finalists for 2024 induction into the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Also listed on the final ballot are Ernie Cope, NASCAR Cup Series crew chief; Davey Hamilton, supermodified champion and Indianapolis 500 veteran; Eric Holmes, three-time NASCAR ARCA Menards Series West champion; nine-time U.S. Auto Club sprint car champion Tony Hunt and the late three-time NASCAR State of California champion Ted Stofle.

Voting by the organization’s Board of Directors continues through Jan. 29. The five 2024 inductees will be announced in early March.

The organization in 2024 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 enters its third year of its third decade, the final choices for induction become more intense that ever before,” said Ken Clapp, Chairman and CEO of the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame. “Each of the 11 finalists deserve induction. The final five will be absolutely over the top.

“I am extremely excited about finally establishing a pioneer category. The executive committee has been working for five years to create the category and the first-year honorees are nothing short of the greatest competitors from racing’s early years in the west.”

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 ckcdeee@gmail.com.

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. The Hall has raised more than $800,000 during the past six 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 Finalists

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. Cobb, 75, passed away in May 2023.

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.

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.

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 taught 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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

 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.