Ceremonies take place for second year at Sonoma Raceway’s elegant Turn 11 Club
SONOMA, Calif., June 12, 2023 – The West Coast Stock Car /Motorsports Hall of Fame celebrated its 2023 induction ceremonies on June 8 before more than 500 inductees, racing industry figures, guests and media members at Sonoma Raceway.
The ceremonies, presented by World Wide Technology Raceway, celebrated the many achievements of 10 members of the Class of 2023.
The event was held at Sonoma Raceway’s elegant Turn 11 Club. Highlights of the ceremonies will be broadcast later this summer, network, date and times to be announced.
Inducted in the Class of 2023 are Kurt Busch, Las Vegas, Nev., the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion and 34-time premier series winner; Matt Crafton, Tulare, Calif., a three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion and winner of 15 NASCAR national series races; Kevin Harvick, Bakersfield, Calif., 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion and winner of 60 premier 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.
2023 Heritage honorees, individuals from an earlier era of motorsport, are Don Basile, Gardena, Calif., post-World War II driver, J.C. Agajanian partner and Speedway 117 operator; Burt Foland, Mountain View, Calif., two-time Bay Cities Racing Association midget champion and race winner in four decades; Fred Gerhardt, Fresno, Calif., engineer, Indianapolis 500 entrant and United States Auto Club championship car winner; Nick Rescino, San Francisco, Calif., six-time San Jose (Calif.) Speedway super modified champion and winner of six of the track’s prestigious Johnny Key Classic events; and Leroy Van Conett, Galt, Calif., eight-time Northern Auto Racing Club (NARC) champion and National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee.
The Third Annual Knockin Doorz Down Philanthropist of the Year award, presented by 51FIFTY recognized co-recipients: the Kurt Busch Foundation and the Kevin Harvick Foundation. Busch’s foundation funds a number of initiatives, including women’s health and veteran affairs. Harvick’s foundation focuses on education and youth and college athletics.
Presenters included J. Douglas Boles, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to Lyn St. James; WCSCMS inductees Ron Hornaday Jr. and Rick Carelli to Kevin Harvick; two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch to his older brother Kurt Busch; and J.C. Agajanian Jr. to the late Don Basile.
Ralph Sheheen, West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame president and owner and publisher of National Speed Sport News, served as master of ceremonies.
The annual induction ceremony is the cornerstone of the Hall’s charitable outreach. The West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 non-profit.
In his opening remarks, Ken Clapp, Chairman and CEO of the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame, announced that the organization will reach $800,000 in charitable giving later this year and expects to reach the $1 million mark by 2025 if not sooner.
Clapp also introduced Kelly Souza, whose Spay And Neuter Education (SANE) non-profit is joining the Hall’s list of charitable recipients.
What they said:
Bob Basile, accepting on behalf of his father Don Basile, who owned a used car lot: “He was the original race on Sunday, sell it on Monday. He would wash the number off the door and put it on the car lot.”
Brent Kaeding, on his longtime pit crew known as the Hogs: “The crew did it because they loved it, not about how much they were getting paid.”
Rick Carelli sneaked Kevin Harvick into the Riverside Raceway when he was too young to busy a pit pass. “I felt he could be a great one. But he also could be a pain in the (rear).”
Kyle Busch, inducting his older brother Kurt: “He’s been a role model for young drivers and a true ambassador to the sport, embodying everything that’s great about NASCAR.”
Kurt Busch reflecting on his family’s early years in racing: “We’d go to the track not to make friends. It was to win.”
Tommy Hunt, reflecting on the late Fred Gerhardt, designer and builder of Indianapolis cars: “He didn’t want to run what everybody else did (at the Speedway). Sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn’t.”
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 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
Owen A. Kearns