Busch, Crafton, Harvick, Kaeding, St. James set for induction in June
BAKERSFIELD, Calif., March 8, 2023 – NASCAR Cup Series champions Kurt Busch, Las Vegas, Nev. and Kevin Harvick, Bakersfield, Calif., winners of nearly 100 premier division races including the Daytona 500 and other crown jewel events, head the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame’s five-member Class of 2023.
Their fellow enshrinees – chosen via two rounds of voting by the Hall’s board of directors – are Matt Crafton, Tulare, Calif., a three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion and winner of 15 NASTheir fellow enshrinees – chosen via two rounds of voting by the Hall’s board of directors – are Matt Crafton, Tulare, Calif., a three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion and winner of 15 NASCAR national series races; Brent Kaeding, Campbell, Calif., a 13-time Northern Auto Racing Club (NARC) sprint car champion and World of Outlaws winner; and Lyn St. James, Phoenix, Ariz., International Motor Sports (IMSA) class winner at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring, Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year and leader in furthering through Women in Racing North America.
The Class of 2023 – the hall’s 20th – will be enshrined Thursday, June 8, during the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame’s induction gala, presented by World Wide Technology Raceway, at Sonoma Raceway’s Turn 11 Club VIP/Hospitality complex encircling the road course’s iconic Turn 11.
The event opens a packed weekend of racing at Sonoma Raceway, which includes the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR/ARCA Menards Series West and the inaugural Northern California appearance of the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
The organization also will induct its sixth Heritage class, comprised of individuals whose careers largely ended prior to 1971. The 2023 Heritage inductees will be named in April.
Also featured will be the 3rd Annual Kickin’ Doorz Down Philanthropist of the Year Award presented by 51FIFTY. This award recognizes an individual that has displayed a heart for giving back to others, through charitable giving or in-kind services to the industry. Previous honorees are Mike Curb, 2001 and the Sonoma Chapter of the Speedway Children’s Charity in 2022.
Highlights of the induction ceremonies will be broadcast by Speed Sport1 later this summer, air dates and times to be announced.
“Highlighting the Class of 2023 is the election of Lyn St. James, who joins 2003 inductee Margo Burke and 2021’s Motorsports Lady of the Century Linda Vaughan in West Coast Motorsports Hall of Fame. We recognize the significant achievements of these and other women on the growth of the motorsports industry,” said Ken Clapp, Chairman and CEO of the West Coast Motorsports Hall of Fame. “We also are pleased to salute three NASCAR national champions, as well as arguably one of best sprint car competitors of his era.”
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 $700,000 in 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
The Class of 2023
- Kurt Busch. Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series champion, began his racing career at age 14 in Dwarf Cars at Pahrump Speedway near his home in Las Vegas, Nev.
- After winning a hobby car title at Las Vegas Speedway Park, Busch joined the NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour and became the late model stock car series’ youngest champion (age 21) driving for West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee Craig Keough.
- A Jack Roush “gong show” graduate, Busch was the 2001 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series rookie of the year and championship runnerup with four victories that graduated him to Roush’s Cup Series team.
- Through 2022, Busch counts 34 victories winning in 20 of 23 fulltime seasons. Those wins, driving for Roush, Penske Racing, Stewart Haas Racing, Ganassi Racing and 23X1 Racing – include the 2017 Daytona 500, the 2010 Coca-Cola 600 and the 2010 Sprint All-Star Challenge.
- Busch, a rookie, finished sixth in the 2014 Indianapolis 500 and won the Talladega Super Speedway IROC round in 2003. Busch, 44, is the older brother of two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch.
- Matt Crafton, a native of Tulare, California, began in karting at age 7, winning regional and national titles. The three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion – one of just two competitors to win three or more titles – competed in a variety of West Coast tracks and touring series with his father Danny.
- The pair’s roles were reversed in 2000 when the younger Crafton won the NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour championship in a Ford built by his father.
- Crafton was hired by Duke Thorson’s ThorSport Racing in 2000 to compete in the Truck Series and finished ninth in his inaugural event at California Speedway. Crafton has competed in 523 consecutive series races, both records for starts and consecutive starts.
- Sylvania, Ohio based ThorSport – which has fielded Chevrolets, Fords and Toyotas – has been Crafton’s home with exception of the 2004 campaign during which he raced with Kevin Harvick Inc. All of Crafton’s 15 wins have come in ThorSport trucks.
- The 47-year-old Californian finished 18th in the 2015 Daytona 500, subbing for injured Kyle Busch. He also has scored top-five finishes in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
- Kevin Harvick, the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion, began racing karts at age five in his Bakersfield, Calif. hometown. At age 17, as a North High School senior, he won the 1993 late model championship at the old Mesa Marin Raceway.
- His career accelerated with four victories in the NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour and the ARCA Menards Series West – where Harvick won the 1998 championship. Harvick joined Richard Childress Racing expecting to compete for the 2001 NASCAR Xfinity Series title but was bumped up to the NASCAR Cup Series upon the death of Dale Earnhardt in the Daytona 500. Harvick won the Xfinity Series title and was named rookie of the year in both national series.
- He won 23 NASCAR Cup Series races for RCR before joining Stewart Haas Racing in 2013. Harvick captured the 2014 title in an SHR Ford and counts 37 victories with the team. Harvick’s victories include the 2007 Daytona 500, the 2011 Coca-Cola 600, three Brickyard 400s and the 2020 Southern 500.
- With wife Delana, he operated Kevin Harvick Racing from 2004-11, winning the 2006 Xfinity owner title and 2007 and 2009 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series owner championships.
- Harvick, 47, lives in Kernersville, N.C. He is in his final season as a NASCAR Cup Series competitor and will join FOX Sports in 2023 as a booth analyst.
- For three decades – 1980s, 90s and 00 — second generation competitor Brent Kaeding was virtually unbeatable in open wheel racing in California.
- The 65-year-old Campbell, Calif. resident is a 13-time Northern Auto Racing Club (NARC) sprint car champion – eight of the titles in consecutive seasons. Kaeding won 11 King of California championships and is a 21-race winner at fabled Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway.
- He is a nine-time World of Outlaws winner, and three-time Dirt Cup winner. Kaeding also won the USAC Turkey Night midget race at Ascot Park in Southern California.
- Kaeding was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2008. Kaeding finished 29th in his only NASCAR Cup Series start at Phoenix Raceway and also competed in a NASCAR West Series (now NASCAR/ARCA Menards Series West) event at Sonoma Raceway.
- His father, Howard Kaeding, is a Heritage inductee into the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Lyn St. James
- Lyn St. James was born Evelyn Gene Conwall in Willoughby, Ohio but has lived in Phoenix, Ariz. through the majority of her racing and post-competition career.
- As a sports car competitor, she shared class wins in two Daytona 24 Hour races, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. St. James also competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
- She started 62 IMSA GT races, winning six times and become the only woman to win a race driving solo.
- St. James made seven Indianapolis 500 starts and was named the 1992 rookie of the year – the first woman to be honored. Her best finish, 11th, came in 1992 as did her best qualifying effort, sixth. St. James made 15 CART and Indy Racing League starts, with a best finish of eighth at Walt Disney World.
- Post racing, St. James has been active in furthering the careers of female drivers and was named the 2001 Guiding Woman in Sports by the National Association of Women and Girls in Sports. She was named among the top 100 of Women Athletes of the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated magazine. St. James is a member of the Sebring Hall of Fame and Florida Hall of Fame. Her broadcast career includes analyst and pit reporter roles for ESPN and ABC.
Owen A. Kearns