Sports car star, Indianapolis 500 top rookie Lyn St. James among 10 selected in initial vote
Bakersfield, Calif. (January 9, 2023) – NASCAR Cup Series champions Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick and international sports car star and Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year Lyn St. James are among 10 finalists vying for induction into the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023.
Final voting by the Hall’s Board of Directors to select the five 2023 inductees continues through February 6, 2023. Five Heritage candidates from racing’s historic era also will be inducted in the Class of 2023. Their selection will be announced later this spring.
The Class of 2023 will be enshrined Thursday evening, June 8, 2023. The event, presented by World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, will be staged for the second time in Sonoma Raceway’s Turn 11 Club and will feature naming of the 3rd Annual Knockin Doorz Down Philanthropist of the Year presented by 51FIFTY. The event serves as kick-off for the raceway’s June 8-11 NASCAR Cup Series, inaugural Xfinity Series and ARCA Menards Series West weekend.
“When the Hall of Fame first became my responsibility from a leadership standpoint three decades ago, I had a vision that in time we would grow to the height that we could recognize those who came from the west and stood out in forms of racing besides stock cars,” said Ken Clapp, chairman and CEO of the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame. “We have more than achieved that, as is displayed in this year’s candidates we will be honoring.
“This has led to more than one huge positive as we will from all indications, by the end of 2023, the organization will be able to reach $800,000 in gifting to varied charities since June of 2017. The future is bright and getting brighter every day.”
Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series champion, has won 34 times in 20 of 23 seasons in NASCAR’s premier series. The Las Vegas native counts victories with five different organizations, the include the 2017 Daytona 500, the 2010 Coca-Cola 600. Busch, who announced his retirement from fulltime competition at the conclusion of the 2022 season, most recently won with 23XI Racing.
Harvick won the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series title driving for Stewart Hall Racing. The Bakersfield, Calif. native joined Richard Childress Racing in 2002 and won 23 times in Chevrolets. He moved to Stewart Haas Racing in 2013, winning 37 times in SHR Fords. Harvick is a former NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, as well as a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series owner champion with wife Delana.
Vasser, the final American-born Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) champion in 1996, won nine times for Chip Ganassi Racing on ovals, road courses and street courses – including the CART street race in Queensland, Australia. The Canoga Park, Calif. native’s final victory – for Team Rahal at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. – was CART’s fastest race at an average speed of 197.997 mph.
St. James 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. The Scottsdale, Ariz. resident made seven Indianapolis 500 starts and was named the 1992 rookie of the year – the first woman to be honored.
Busch, Harvick and St. James are first-time nominees, as are Matt Crafton of Tulare, Calif. and Davey Hamilton of Nampa, Idaho. Crafton is a three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion and winner of 15 races in 22 fulltime seasons in the NASCAR national series. Hamilton owns multiple pavement supermodified championships and is an 11-time Indianapolis 500 starter and radio/television broadcaster.
Previous nominees making the final ballot are Vasser; Tony Hunt, Rancho Cordova, Calif., a multiple U.S. Auto Club champion with nine sprint car titles, 50 main event wins and 50 pole positions; Brent Kaeding, Campbell, Calif., a 13-time Northern Auto Racing Club (NARC) sprint car champion – eight of the titles in consecutive seasons; Greg Pickett, Alamo, Calif., the only competitor to have won SCCA Trans-Am races in four decades of competition as well as 21 victories and two American Le Mans Series (ALMS) team and driver championships; and Nick Rescino, San Francisco, a six-time San Jose Speedway Super Modified champion, at both the paved track and the fairgrounds. Rescino is the only competitor to win a World of Outlaws A-Feature driving a super modified.
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 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 2023 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 $600,000 in the past five of its 20 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
Owen A. Kearns