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.

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

Matt Crafton, a native of Tulare, California, began racing karts 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

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.

Brent Kaeding

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 Championship Auto Racing Teams (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.

Don Basile

Don Basile got a late start in his racing career, at 31 years of age when he started driving stock cars at Carrell Speedway in 1947. With J.C. Agajanian, Bob Estes and Gordon Betz, Basile helped form the West Coast Stock Car Racing Association and became its first champion. He became Carrell’s general manager in the early 1950s and learned dirt track prep.

When Carrell closed in 1955, Basile became Aggie’s partner in Agajanian Enterprises and for the next 20 years they would organize thousands of races. He wore many hats, selling billboard advertising, publicity, taking drivers to TV/radio/newspaper interviews, and advanced and race day ticket sales – all the while, with a blade man, preparing the dirt surface.

When Ascot Speedway closed, Basile struck out on his own, taking over South Bay Speedway Park in Chula Vista, Calif. He changed its name to Speedway 117. Basile worked with all major sanctioning organizations including American Automobile Association, United States Auto Club, NASCAR and American Motorcycle Association. Basile was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1999. He passed away in 1998 at the age of 82.

Burt Foland

Burt Foland was born in Mountain View, Calif. in 1931, living there for six decades before retiring to Coarsegold in the Sierra foothills. Foland began racing a Model A pickup truck at a nearby drag strip in San Carlos in 1953. Later that year and in 1954 he took a coupe to land speed contests at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

By 1957, Foland had found his way to San Jose Speedway and in June won his first NASCAR Hardtop feature, setting the 1/3-mile track record in the process. Foland won over 30 main events over the next couple of seasons including the prestigious Johnny Key Classic twice. Having competed sporadically in the midget competition, Foland earned a seat in the Jack London Offy and won Bay Cities Racing Association titles in 1967-68.

He won his first United States Auto Club national championship midget race in 1968 at the old Irwindale Speedway, beating a packed field of Indianapolis 500 drivers. Foland signed to drive a championship car in 1970 but a ride never materialized. In his career Foland won five USAC championship races, 41 BCRA features and an estimated 75 NASCAR Hardtop races on both pavement and dirt. He won in four decades – 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Fred Gerhardt

Fred Gerhardt, a native of Fresno, Calif., was a self-taught engineer and race car builder. Prior to World War II, he entered his first race at Newman, Calif. with a souped-up Chevrolet for driver Duane Carter. He built a second car for fellow teen Bill Vukovich and the partnership dominated midget racing for many years to come.

The pair won the Pacific Coast Midget championships in 1945 and 1946 and in 1950 the American Automobile Association (AAA) national title. Johnny Parsons captured the 1956 Pacific Coast title in another of Gerhardt’s cars. From 1957 to 1976, Gerhardt and son Don entered cars in the Indianapolis 500 with a best finish of third by Mel Kenyon in 1968. His cars were driven by Vukovich, Parsons, Bill Cheesbourg, Johnny Rutherford, George Snider and Gary Bettenhausen, among others.

As a car owner, Gerhardt  and Bettenhausen won championship car races at Phoenix Raceway and Michigan Speedway. Together, 36 Gerhardt Indy cars were built. Gerhardt was inducted into the National Midget Hall of Fame in 2007. He passed away in 2001

Nick Rescino

Nick Rescino, One of the all-time greats to race in California, Nick Rescino won a total of six San Jose Speedway Super Modified championships, at both the paved track and the fairgrounds.

Nick won the 1972 and 1975 titles on the high banks of San Jose Speedway and the 1980, 1981, 1983 and 1984 championships at the Santa Clara County fairgrounds. His 86 main event wins rank him near the top on that list. Rescino won the prestigious Johnny Key Classic six times, in 1972, 1974-75, 1982, 1984 and 1986.

Nick is the only driver in history to win a World of Outlaws A-Feature driving a super modified, at Sacramento, Calif.’s West Capital Raceway June 8, 1979. Rescino set more than 200 career fastest qualifying times at 17 different tracks. The San Francisco competitor was the Motor Sports Press Association’s 1979 Oval Track Driver of the Year. He is a member of the MSPA’s Hall of Fame as well as the San Jose Speedway Hall of Fame.

Leroy Van Conett

Leroy Van Conett, known as the “Dragon from Galt,” was born in Stockton, Calif. on April 15, 1935. He began racing jalopies in 1955 at Stockton 99 Speedway. During the late 50s, he graduated to modifieds and supermodifieds, maintaining most of his own equipment. 

In the mid-1960s, Van Conett raced open competition sprint cars at West Capital Speedway in Sacramento and various tracks in the region, winning several times. He won his first of eight Northern California Auto Racing (NARC) championships in 1969 driving for Lyle McCray. Van Conett also won titles in 1970, 1975, 1977-78, 1980-81 and 1984. His record of eight titles was finally broken in 1996 – ironically by Brent Kaeding, who also will be inducted into the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame in the Class of 2023.

He won 65 NARC features, and a California Racing Association (CRA) feature at Ascot Park. Van Conett was particularly effective at Calistoga’s treacherous half-mile, winning five times in 1981. He attempted to qualify, unsuccessfully, for the 1982 Indianapolis 500. Van Conett was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1999.

Greg Biffle
  • The Vancouver, Wash. competitor came the closest, to date, to sweeping championships in all three NASCAR national series. Biffle won the 2000 Camping World Truck Series crown, the 2002 NASCAR Xfinity title and finished runner up in 2005 NASCAR Cup Series point standings.

    Biffle, 52, amassed 56 victories across the three NASCAR national series: 19 Cup, 20 Xfinity and 17 trucks. Biffle made 510 Cup starts over 15 seasons, all driving Fords for Roush Fenway Racing, adding to the total in this year’s Daytona 500.

    Prior to being discovered by Roush at the nationally televised Winter Heat in Tucson, Ariz., Biffle finished runner up in the NASCAR Pacific Coast weekly series championship, winning 27 times in 47 starts at tracks in the Pacific Northwest.

Garrett Evans
  • Garrett Evans is four-time NASCAR Elite Series Northwest Tour champion. He also is the all-time series victory leader (50) and pole winner (55).

    Evans won the late model series’ first event in 1985 at Evergreen Speedway in Washington. Evans also won twice in the NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour. Evans also is a four-time Northwest Super Late Model champion, in a series he owned and promoted for six years.

    The Wenatchee, Wash. resident competed in NASCAR West Series (now ARCA Menards Series West) posting five top-five finishes, which included a second-place performance in 1995 at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He ranked 10th in 1995 final points standings. Evans also briefly appeared in the  NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

    The 65-year-old Evans continues to operate Wenatchee Valley (Wash.) Raceway, which he has owned since 1999. He was named Western Auto Racing Promoters Association Sidewalk Slim Lifetime Achievement Award Winner 2019.

Brendan Gaughan
  • Brendan Gaughan began his motorsports career in off-road racing – winning the first race he entered, at the age of 15. He won multiple off-road and desert titles and was the 1998 SODA World Champion.

    The Las Vegas, Nev. native, son of West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame member Michael Gaughan, moved to NASCAR competition in 1998, winning the 2000-01 NASCAR West (now ARCA Menards Series West) championships, driving for West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Famer Bill McAnally.

    Gaughan joined the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series fulltime in 2002, winning eight times in 217 starts – including four consecutive victories at Texas Motor Speedway. He finished fourth in series championship standings in 2004.

    Gaughan then moved to the NASCAR Xfinity Series, where he posted victories at Road America and Bristol, and the NASCAR Cup Series with a best finish of fourth at Talladega Superspeedway. His NASCAR national series scorecard features 503 starts, 10 wins, 72 top-five and 155 top-10 finishes and 3 poles.

    Gaughan, 46, is a nationally recognized television and radio personality and is part of the Las Vegas South Point Hotel & Casino management group.

David Gilliland
  • Championship crew chief for his West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame father; Daytona 500 pole winner for Robert Yates Racing; and owner of winning teams in the NASCAR Camping World Truck and ARCA Menards Series, David Gilliland has experienced every role in his motorsports career.

    Gilliland, from Riverside, Calif. was 23 years old when he led father Butch Gilliland to the 1997 NASCAR West (now ARCA Menards Series West) championship, repeating the title run the following season.

    The younger Gilliland made his first West start in 1997, winning four times in his 50 appearances with a pair of top-five points finishes.

    He made his NASCAR Cup Series debut in 2006 with the Robert Yates Racing Ford team. Although Gilliland failed to win in 333 Cup starts, he posted four top-five and eight top-10 finishes, along with a trio of poles that included the No. 1 starting position for the 2007 Daytona 500. He also won a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

    As a team owner, the 55-year-old Gilliland scored a pair of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victories; and an ARCA Menards Series win with his son, Todd.

John Moore

John Moore grew up in Antioch, Calif., watching his father Carl race hardtops at Antioch Speedway. Little surprise, then, that the younger Moore was attracted to competition – but not until, at age 30, after founding JM Environmental.

Success in the hazardous material abatement and demolition gave Moore the financial ability to race motorcycles and cars, winning races and rookie titles in the process. Moore’s footprint in motorsports, however, is larger than his titles which include a Pacific Coast Series championship, 2006 Spears Racing League owner championship and the 2021 All American Speedway and NASCAR State of California titles.

He also competed briefly in the NASCAR West (now ARCA Menards Series West) with a best finish of fifth at Stockton 99 Speedway. Moore, as president of the Placer County Fair, joined with West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Famer Bill McAnally to rebuild and expand the All-American Speedway. Moore, 58, has sponsored numerous drivers, including his son Cole, a Spears Racing League champion, as well as more than 75 races throughout the state of California.

Jimmy Sills

A three-time United States Auto Club Silver Crown champion, Jimmy Sills – also known as Buckwheat – won more than 400 open-wheel races.

The Placerville, Calif. competitor won Silver Crown titles in 1990, 1994 and 1996, posting 12 victories.

Sills, now 68, won eight World of Outlaw sprint car events, was a six-time Northwest Dirt Cup champion and posted 15 USAC sprint and midget victories. He competed  - and won – in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Sills was the all-time race winner, 43, at the old Baylands Raceway Park in Northern California.

In his later career, Sills operated, for 18 years, a nationally-known driving school. His students included Kasey Kahne and Ed Carpenter. Sills was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2006.

Art Atkins

Art Atkinson, from Pasadena, Calif., was a 1950s-1960s jalopy driver and president of the California Jalopy Association, 1964-65.

From 1968 through 1975 Atkinson was a NASCAR field manager, reporting to West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Famer Bob Barkhimer and Tony Coldewey. Atkinson owned and promoted the San Gabriel Valley Speedway, selling what became Speedway 605 in 1975. He then operated the Orange Show Speedway in San Bernardino, Calif. until his death in October 1980.

Michael Atkinson

Michael Atkinson was introduced to the industry as a member of the track clean-up crew at San Gabriel Valley Speedway and the Orange Show. He raced until the early 1970s, until his father took him under his wing to teach him the promoting side. Following his father’s death, Atkinson and his brother, Bob, operated the Orange Show track for two years.

He became on official upon the opening of the new Irwindale Speedway in 1999 and was named the track’s chief steward in 2002. Atkinson became Irwindale’s Race Director in 2013, overseeing all activities on the ½-mile paved oval and drag strip. He passed away in 2021 at age 63.

Phil Casey

Phil Casey, Fresno, Calif., was a chief mechanic for 35 years and a nine-time winner in United States Auto Club National Championship competition. Heading up Fred Gerhardt’s team from 1965 through 1972, Casey had a major hand in the construction of numerous cigar–shaped and wedge-shaped versions of the much sought after Gerhardt chassis.

Casey’s nine championship-level wins were earned for Gerhardt’s team, Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing and Interscope Racing.

 He was Janet Guthrie’s chief mechanic when she became the first female qualifier for the Indianapolis 500 in 1977. Casey is a 2015 inductee into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame.

Ron Esau

Ron Esau won the inaugural NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour championship in 1986 and finished third in the 1987 standings. The Lakeside, Calif. native won six times in the late model stock car series.

Esau competed full-time in the ARCA Menards Series West in 1983-84 finishing ninth and fifth in the point standings, respectively. Esau also competed in the NASCAR Cup series and Camping World Truck Series, with a ninth-place finish in the latter subbing for injured Ken Schrader at Evergreen (Wash.) Speedway in 1995.

He won the 1978 El Cajon Stock Car Racing Association (Calif.) sportsman championship. Esau passed away in 2022 at age 67.

Phil Hill

Phil Hill, Formula One’s first American-born World Champion, was born in Miami in 1927 but was raised in Santa Monica, Calif., where he resided until his death in 2008 at age 81.

Hill studied business administration at the University of Southern California but left early to pursue auto racing, working as a mechanic on other people’s cars.

Hill crossed the Atlantic in 1956. He made his debut as a Ferrari works driver in 1958 and teamed with Belgian Olivier Gendebien to become the first American-born winner of the 24 Hour of Le Mans race, a victory he repeated in 1961-62. Hill had three F1 victories and won the 1961 World Championship.

After retirement Hill worked as a television and magazine journalist and created in a renowned car restoration business. Hill is a member of multiple halls of fame.

Ken Sapper

Ken Sapper, a front-runner at Saugus (Calif.) Speedway for more than two decades, Glendale, Calif.’s Ken Sapper won three Modified Stock Car titles, consecutively from 1984-86.

Among those he competed against were West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports and NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr., the 1987 champion, West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Famer Jim Thirkettle.

He won 60 main events at Saugus and Orange Show Speedway in San Bernardino, Calif. Sapper joined fellow welder Frank Deiny Sr.’s Speedway Engineering and upon Deiny’s death in 1986, he was named president of the racing chassis and parts firm, a position the 73-year-old Sapper holds today.

Jim Walker

Jim Walker, a dairy farmer racing out of tiny Ferndale, Calif. on California’s north coast, won multiple super stock championships at Redwood Acres Raceway in nearby Eureka, including back-to-back titles in 1970-72.

He became a well-known traveler, his No. 48 Walker Blue late model becoming the car to beat on short tracks up and down the West Coast.

 In January 1976 won the Permatex 300 at Riverside International Raceway, besting a loaded field that included NASCAR Cup Series champion Bobby Allison and West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of famers Ivan Baldwin and Hershel McGriff. Walker competed in the 1976 Permatex 300 at Daytona Speedway.

His notable open competition victories included the Rose Classic at All-American Speedway in Roseville, Calif. and NorCal 150 at Shasta Speedway in Anderson, Calif. Walker is 83

Dave Byrd
  • One of California’s most versatile short track competitors, the Los Gatos, Calif. competitor won 12 track championships – six on dirt, six on pavement.
  • Byrd, 62, counts at least 140 feature race victories over a career spanning five decades, 1976 through 2015. Among his significant wins was the 2002 IMCA modified Duel in the Desert at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Duel in the Desert.
  • In 1978, Byrd was offered, but turned down, the Rod Osterlund-owned NASCAR premier series car that ultimately went to Dale Earnhardt.
  • Byrd captured the 1983 NASCAR Pacific Coast Region title, competing at several Central California tracks.
  • Byrd is the 2009 Spears Racing League late model champion. He also competed in the now ARCA Menards Series West and NASCAR Elite Southwest Series.
Richie Clyne
  • Classic car collector Richie Clyne had a vision of creating a world-class racing facility in Las Vegas. Where others dreamed and failed, Clyne succeeded with the opening in 1996 of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
  • Clyne sold the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1998 to Speedway Motorsports but continues to be a familiar face during NASCAR Cup Series and other LVMS events.
  • Talented, energetic and artistic describes Clyne, a transplanted New Yorker who currently splits his time between Las Vegas and New Hampshire.
  • Clyne, 62,operates Clyne’s Classic Cars, a seller of antique and classic automobiles and fire trucks. He previously co-owned, with Don Williams, the Auto Collection at the now defunct Imperial Palace on the Las Vegas Strip.
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 Gloy Racing prepared Mercury Capri. Gloy competed in 17 races that year, winning three and finishing among the top five in 12 others.
  • In 1987, he competed in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) with Jack Roush, finishing second in the championship. He shared Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona- winning Mustang with Bill Elliott in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.
  • Gloy won the 1988 IMSA event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course driving a Nissan GTP car
  • Gloy raced in the U.S., Europe, Australia and the Far East in 1970s. He won the 1979 Formula Atlantic title.
  • With assistance of Roger Penske, Gloy ran a partial U.S. Auto Club championship car schedule, finishing fifth at the Ontario Motor Speedway. Gloy operated a USAC team in 2002, winning once.
  • Gloy, 73, 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.
Tommy Kendall
  • Tommy Kendall, a Santa Monica native, dominated the SCCA Trans Am Series in the 1990s, capturing four driving titles in the first eight years of the decade (1990, 1995-96-97).
  • From 1995 to 1997, while piloting Jack Roush-owned Ford Mustangs, Kendall claimed 16 wins and 27 poles in 38 Trans Am races.
  • In 1997, on his way to his fourth and final Trans-Am title, Kendall scored wins in the first 11 of 13 races that season.
  • Kendall was the 1993 IMSA GTS champion
  • Kendall also made 14 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts, mostly on road courses with a best finish of eighth at Watkins Glen International and made two appearances in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
  • Kendall, 64, also is a television broadcaster.
George Snider
  • Born in Fresno, Calif. but living for most of his career in Bakersfield, George Snider, 80, began drag racing at the age of 15 and soon began competing in jalopies, hard tops and supermodifieds.
  • He was one of the first to mount a wing on his No. 72 coupe, winning races at Kearney Bowl in Fresno and on other central California tracks. Snider won the 1964 Johnny Key Classic at the old San Jose Speedway.
  • He won the 1971 U.S. Auto Club Silver Crown championship and was the organization’s final Gold Crown champion in 1981-82.
  • Snider made 22 Indianapolis 500 starts – most by a non-winner – many of them as a teammate to A.J. Foyt.
  • His best Indianapolis 500 finish was eighth, in 1975 and 1978. Snider also competed in USAC stock cars.
  • Snider is a member of the Bob Elias Sports Hall of Fame in Bakersfield.
Linda Vaughn

Motorsports Lady of the Century

One of auto racing’s best-known hosts for more than six decades, Linda Vaughn has been named Lady of the Century by the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame.

The most iconic model in motorsports, Linda Vaughn was a world-wide figure as Miss Hurst Golden Shifter. But the Dalton, Ga. native was more than that – a self-taught PR and marketing expert who traded her costume after the race into a business suit. Known as the First Lady of Motorsports, she worked for then-California-based Hurst Shifter, under George Hurst and Jack Watson. Ms. Vaughn was perhaps best known for her work at NASCAR premier series events but appeared at many other races – the Indianapolis 500, Formula One and NHRA national drag races. In 1972, for example, Ms. Vaughn did 172 events. Her first love was drag racing, introduced to sport as a teen. She received a Wally among other NHRA awards for her public relations work in behalf of the organization. She also appeared in a number of film and television productions including “Stroker Ace” and was the subject of ESPN’s 30 for 30.

Dick Atkins

Dick Atkins, Oakland Calif., who won three Bay Cities Racing Association midget titles – 1963-64 and (indoor) 1966 – posting 24 victories. Atkins, driving for West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Famer J.C. Agajanian, won the prestigious Turkey Night Grand Prix in 1965. He joined USAC’s Championship Trail fulltime in 1966, winning at the Sacramento State Fairgrounds. Atkins, 30, died less than a month later in an Ascot Park crash that also killed Don Branson. He is a National Midget Hall of Fame member.

Leo Hindery Jr.

Leo Hindery Jr., a member of the Cable Television Hall of Fame, competed at the highest levels of road racing, sharing the 2005 Le Mans 24 Hour GT2 class-winning Porsche 996 GT3 RSR with Mike Rockenfelter and Marc Lieb. Hindery, 73, enjoyed a 45-race career in American sports car racing and also entered four NASCAR West Series events. The native of Tacoma, Wash. is a philanthropist and was advisor to the candidacies of several Democratic presidential candidates including President Barack Obama.

Dave MacDonald

Dave MacDonald, whose brief, four-year sports car career produced 52 victories and 75 top-three finishes, raced and won in all of Carroll Shelby’s Cobra configurations. The El Monte driver competed in seven NASCAR Cup Series events, posting second-place finishes at Riverside and Augusta, Ga. MacDonald was 27 when he was killed in his first Indianapolis 500 driving for West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Famer Mickey Thompson. 

Howard Welch

Howard Welch, owner of Haddick Towing in La Puente, Calif., was one of the founding members of the California Towing Association. Welch later created the first hydraulic boom for heavy duty tow trucks. In 1975, along with several friends, Welch built his first NASCAR race car, a 1974 Ford Torino. His drivers included Ron Esau, Larry Phillips, Rusty Wallace and West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Famers Ray Elder and Parnelli Jones. The now retired Welch lives in Coeur d/Alene, Idaho.

Ronald (Ron) Zajicek

Ronald (Ron) Zajicek, a New York native who lived in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, was the West Coast’s premier builder of rear end assemblies for stock cars. Zajicek, of Ron’s Rear Ends, was a staple at various Southern California tracks and was prominent in the fortunes of West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Famers Ron Hornaday Jr. and Butch Gilliland, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Brendan Gaughan. Zajicek passed in March 2016 at the age of 62.

Mike Bliss
  • Mike Bliss won national championships in U.S. Auto Club (USAC) and NASCAR – part of a very small fraternity to accomplish the feat.
  • Bliss, 54, began racing near his Milwaukie, Ore. hometown, at the old Portland Speedway and other northwest tracks. Open-wheel racing beckoned and Bliss eventually reached USAC’s Silver Crown division to become its 1993 champion. His 10 victories rank co-10thin Silver Crown rankings.
  • Bliss changed gears with the creation of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors and RV Truck Series. He won 13 times and captured the 2002 championship, driving for fellow Northwesterner Dave Fuge.
  • Bliss became a fulltime NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series competitor, eventually participating in a combined 538 events. He finished fourth in Richmond Raceway’s 2004 spring Cup race driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Bliss won twice in the Xfinity Series, both victories coming at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
  • He was selected to compete in the 2003 International Race of Champions and won the Chicagoland Speedway round.
Craig Keough
  • Many casual race fans may be unaware of Craig Keough’s 25-year impact on West Coast stock car racing. Insiders, however, call the Las Vegas team owner/race sponsor “a legend.” The owner of Star Nursery, Keough entered late model competition with the late Chris Trickle and the driver’s father, Chuck Trickle.
  • The relationship led to a conversation in Tucson, Ariz. with a young driver, Kurt Busch, who asked for $50 to buy tires. Keough wound up purchasing Trickle’s equipment and sponsoring Busch, who won the 1999 NASCAR Elite Southwest Series.
  • Keough’s recognition of Kurt’s talent was the springboard to a Roush Fenway Racing ride in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors and RV Truck Series and ultimately the 2003 NASCAR Cup Series title.
  • Behind the scenes, Keough sponsored numerous events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s “Bullring” and at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif. and Madera (Calif.) Speedway. He was responsible for the return of the ARCA Menards Series West to LVMS’ dirt track and – in February 2020 – the circuit’s event at the LVMS Bullring.
Rick Mears

Rick Mears


  • Transplanted Kansan Rick Mears grew up in Bakersfield, Calif., the youngest member of the racing Mears Gang comprised of patriarch Bill and older brother Roger. Rick drove a Chevrolet stock car at Bakersfield Speedway, where Roger was a frequent winner.
  • The pair excelled in dune buggy competition at Ascot Park and ultimately desert racing throughout the southwest United States and in Baja California. West Coast Stock Car Hall of Famer Parnelli Jones took an interest in Rick, who shared Jones’ off-road trucks and posted multiple class victories.
  • Safety equipment manufacturer Bill Simpson introduced him to U.S. Auto Club championship cars, leading to a career-long association with Roger Penske. With Penske, Mears became one of just three to win the Indianapolis 500 four times – and continues to hold the record for poles (six) and front row starts (11).
  • He won the 500 in 1979, 1983, 1989 and 1991. He won three USAC titles (seven wins) and three Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) titles (26 wins). Mears was selected to four International Race of Champions (IROC), finishing second at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Following retirement, Mears, 68, has remained in a consulting role with Team Penske.
Jim Pettit II
  • Jim Pettit IIwon the 1984 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Pacific Coast Region championship at age 19. Pettit was one of the most accomplished northern California dirt track late model stock car competitors, competing at tracks in San Jose, Antioch, Watsonville and Merced.
  • Between April and September Pettit and his fellow competitors frequently logged two and sometimes three races each week.
  • Capping his championship season – in which total points/starts were tabulated -Pettit raced on Saturday in California, then with two crew members towed overnight to Portland Speedway, barely making it in time for a Sunday afternoon event.
  • The Seaside, Calif. driver won two NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour championships back to back (2004-05), winning eight times. Pettit, 54, finished among the top 10 in more than 50 percent of his Southwest Tour starts (54 of 103).
Jerry Pitts
  • Jerry Pitts is a three-time ARCA Menards Series West championship crew chief, winning titles with West Coast Stock Car Hall of Famers, Gregg Pursley, Gene Price and Eric Norris.
  • Arguably among the best crew chiefs over the past 15 years, the Bakersfield, Calif. native turned the wrenches en route to 28 West victories and two ARCA Menards Series East triumphs.
  • Both driver and car builder in the 1970s, Pitts’chassis captured championships at Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway and Mesa Marin Raceway.
  • In two stints on the East Coast, Pitts worked for Robert Yates Racing, Bahari Racing and Phoenix Racingin both NASCAR premier series and Xfinity Series with nearly two dozen drivers including Michael Waltrip, Bill Elliott, Dale Jarrett and Kyle Busch.
  • Pitts, 58, continues to operate Jerry Pitts Racing in Pahrump, Nev. and is the owner of an ARCA Menards Series West team in 2020.

Harry Belletto

Harry Belletto, a three-time Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway late model stock car champion credited with more than 500 feature, trophy dash and heat race wins at the quarter-mile paved oval. Belletto was drafted by the Oakland Raiders but a pre-season injury wrote the end of his NFL career. The 77-year-old Belletto, whose career began in 1970, resides in Modesto, Calif.

Howard Kaeding

Howard Kaeding, a three-time NASCAR State of California and San Jose (Calif.) Speedway supermodified champion. The 87-year-old, from Campbell, Calif., once won 17 main events in a row – all while starting last in 18 to 30 car fields. Kaeding, a pioneering racing speed shop operator, a Godfather to a three-generation racing family that includes son Brent, a 13-time Northern Auto Racing Club (NARC) champion and World of Outlaws winner.

Ken Miles

Ken Miles, winner of the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona and Sebring 12 Hour and second-place finisher in the 24 of Le Mans. Chief test driver for Shelby American was a D-Day tank commander in the British Army. He relocated to Hollywood, Calif. following World War II. Miles also competed in NASCAR Cup Series race at Riverside International Raceway in 1963, driving a Holman-Moody Ford.

Jim Pettit Sr.

Jim Pettit Sr., a Seaside, Calif. salvage yard operator whose love of grassroots racing touched many in the industry. He owned late model stock cars fielded by his son, Jim Pettit II, who won a NASCAR Pacific Coast Region title and a pair of NASCAR Elite championships. The pair will simultaneously be inducted in 2021 – the first time a father-son have been enshrined in the same class. Pettit passed in 2018 at age 77.

Billy Wilkerson
  • Billy Wilkerson drove jalopies and modified cars in the 1950s and 1960, winning a California Jalopy Association title and numerous races on dirt and pavement. The San Gabriel Valley resident then excelled in sprint cars, winning California Racing Association championships in 1967 and 1970. After retirement, he teamed with West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Famer Dick Woodland to field entries for many top drivers including Parnelli Jones. Wilkerson, a member of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, passed in 2009 at age 82.

Gary Bechtel

San Francisco native Gary Bechtel formed Diamond Ridge Racing in 1992, competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West with series veteran John Krebs. The team finished fourth in 1992 and third in 1994 championship standings.

Moving east, Diamond Ridge fielded full-season entries in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series from 1994 through 1997 with Steve Grissom, Greg Sacks and Robert Pressley among others. The team’s best finish, fourth, came with Jeff Green in 1997 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Diamond Ridge’s best success came in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, posting 10 victories with Elliott Sadler, Grissom, Sacks and Green. Grissom won at Daytona while Sacks was victorious at Talladega Super Speedway, both in 1996. The team merged with Joe Gibbs Racing in 1999 with Jeff Purvis finishing sixth in the championship.

Bob Bruncati

Born in New York City in 1943, Bob Bruncati moved to Southern California as a young man and became interested in sports car racing with the California Sports Car Club SCCA.

In 2000, he formed Sunrise Ford Racing so his sons could race late model stocks at the Irwindale Events Center. The owner of Ford dealerships in the San Fernando Valley and Fontana, Calif., Bruncati’s team graduated to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series in 2006.

Sunrise Ford Racing has competed in more than 284 events, winning more than 30 times and capturing series championships in 2009 (driver Jason Bowles) and 2013 and 2018 (Derek Thorn). The team’s three drivers ranked 1-2 and 6 in the 2018 championship. Bruncati’s drivers have posted 14 top-five championship finishes since 2007. He has fielded cars for five Sunoco Rookies of the Year.

Jeff Gordon

Four-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon is the first west coast-born titleholder in NASCAR’s premier series. Gordon won his first championship at age 23 in 1993, his third full season in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. He claimed back-to-back titles in 1997-98 and his final crown in 2001.

The Vallejo, Calif. native, whose family moved to Pittsboro, Ind. so the teenage Gordon could race sprint cars, drove Hendrick cars to 11 top-10 championship finishes, winning 93 times in 805 starts – third all-time in NASCAR’s premier series. Gordon posted 325 top-five and 477 top-10 finishes and won 81 poles. He won five NASCAR Xfinity Series races, an International Race of Champions (IROC) event in 1998 and shared the Rolex 24 at Daytona-winning Cadillac DP.i-V.R. in 2017. Gordon, 47, was enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January 2019. His step-father, John Bickford, was elected to the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2016.

Doug McCoun

Doug McCoun was the first west coast driver to win a NASCAR Weekly Racing Series national championship (1985) under contemporary points format and second to capture a NASCAR national title from the west.

The Prunedale, Calif. resident, driving a late model stock car owned by his father, won 27 of the 53 races he entered at Watsonville and Merced fairgrounds dirt tracks and other northern California ovals in 1985. McCoun also won the organization’s Pacific Coast Region title in 1986.

Competing in the NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour, McCoun, 60, finished four times among the top five in the championship, his best a pair of third-place finishes. He logged nine wins and 49 top-five and top-10 finishes in the late model touring series. A reserve firefighter during his early racing years, McCoun currently serves as fire chief of the Marina, Calif. department.

Eric Norris

Eric Norris of Redondo Beach, Calif. balanced a career in the entertainment industry with a successful stint in NASCAR racing. Norris, the youngest son of actor and martial arts champion Chuck Norris, began racing in the SCORE off-road series with his father.

He won the 2002 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship, competing in the series from 1996 through 2012, posting three wins, two poles, 18 top-five and 32 top-10 finishes. The majority of his success came in Ultra Wheels Fords.

Norris, 54, also competed in the NASCAR Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck series. Norris has acted in a number of motion pictures and television productions as well as working as stuntman, stunt coordinator and second and main unit director. He continues to have a busy schedule in the television and motion picture industry including recent TV productions Mayans M.C., Hawaii Five-O and Magnum P.I.

J.D. Gibbs

The late J.D. Gibbs was born in California but moved several times during his childhood as his father, Joe Gibbs, found success as a Super Bowl championship coach with the NFL’s Washington Redskins.


Following college at William and Mary, where he played quarterback, J.D. entered racing fulltime and founded Joe Gibbs Racing alongside his father in 1992. He experienced nearly every facet of the business even changing tires on the car that carried JGR to its first NASCAR victory – the 1993 Daytona 500.

J.D. even took his turn behind the wheel, racing Late Model stock cars and competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Truck Series. But ultimately it was managing JGR where J.D. felt the most comfortable.

Named president of JGR in October 1997 J.D. Gibbs oversaw the team’s expansion from a single-car team to a four-car operation in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Under J.D.’s guidance the team captured three NASCAR Cup Championships and five NASCAR Xfinity Series Championships. J.D. passed away in January at age 49.

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 Sports Car Club of America United States Road Racing, Can-Am and Trans-Am titles; won a U.S. Auto Club Championship Car race at Phoenix Raceway and posted top-five finishes in NASCAR’s premier series.

Follmer, now 85, was born in Arizona but moved with his family to Southern California. He raced out of Arcadia, where he owned an auto dealership.

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. He competed in six NASCAR K&N Pro Series West events. Follmer also won an International Race of Champions (IROC) event at Riverside International Raceway.

Rick Henderson

Rick Henderson of Petaluma, Calif. was 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 captured in 1957 and subsequently won in 1961-62.

Henderson 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. Following his racing career, Henderson worked in the motorsports industry in Central California, passing away in 2001 at age 69.

Marshall Sargent

A true international star, the Salinas, Calif. native won an estimated 500 feature races in the United States and Australia during a 20-year racing career.

Racing out of San Jose, Sargent 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 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.

Bob Sweikert

Born in Los Angeles on May 20, 1926, Bob Sweikert grew up in Hayward, Calif., across the bay from San Francisco. At age 16, he became a mechanic at a local Ford dealership. Following service during World War II Sweikert opened his own repair shop and built his first track roadster.

Sweikert won the Bay Cities Racing Association indoor midget championship in 1949 and began racing sprint cars throughout United States.

Sweikert attempted but failed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1950 and 1951 but made the first of five “500” starts in 1952. He won the 1955 “500” in the John Zink Special, leading 86 laps – the only laps he would lead at Indianapolis. He captured the 1955 “Triple Crown ” -- Indianapolis 500, AAA Big Car National Championship and the Midwest Sprint Car Championship -- the only driver to do so. Sweikert died in a sprint car accident on June 17, 1956 at Salem (Ind.) Speedway.

Bill Vukovich

Born on Dec. 13, 1918 in Alameda, Calif. Bill Vukovich grew up in Fresno. The family immigrated from Yugoslavia, changing its surname from Yukurovich. He became known variously as the Mad Russian – a hard charger - and the Silent Serb – a cool demeanor.

As a teen during the Depression, Vukovich began driving the family Model T in farm fields. He won United Racing Association’s West Coast midget championship in 1946-47 becoming the AAA National Midget champion in 1950.

Vukovich attempted but failed to qualify for the 1950 Indianapolis 500. Driving for sportsman owner Howard Keck, he won the 1953 and 1954 “500s.” Setting a race speed record of 130.84 mph in 1954, Vukovich became the third driver to win the “500” back-to-back. He also ran the 1954 Pan American Road Race but failed to finish.

Vukovich led the 1955 “500” by a large margin but was fatally injured when he was unable to avoid a multi-car accident on the 57th lap of the May 30 race.

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