I am a member of the nominating and voting contingent that determines the annual inductees to the Motorsports Hall of Fame. I have long campaigned for land speed racers to be recognized and this year one of the stunning pioneers of high performance got the votes to get in — Ed Winfield. Don Vesco was got the nod a few years back and I am doggedly trying to get Al Teague and Bob Higbee some recognition.
Here’s the official press release:
DETROIT, MI – Racing legends Donnie Allison, Sid Collins, Roger McCluskey, Ed McCulloch, Augie Pabst, Bruce Penhall and Ed Winfield will be enshrined into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America when the organization stages its annual induction celebration on August 23 and 24, 2011 in Detroit.
“This class is an extraordinary group of pacesetters,” says Ron Watson, president of the Motorsports Hall of Fame, “not only on the track, but in the engineering department and the broadcast booth, as well.”
Donnie Allison, a member of the famed “Alabama Gang,” compiled nearly 400 short track victories before joining the NASCAR Cup circuit in 1968. He won 10 Cup races and captured 17 pole positions. In 1970, he scored three wins and had 10 top five finishes. Allison, who earned the Rookie of the Year title in the 1970 Indy 500, will join his brother Bobby in the Hall of Fame.
Sid Collins was the original broadcast voice of the Indianapolis 500 and launched the IMS radio network in 1952 shepherding its growth from 26 to 1,200 radio stations. Listening to his dramatic, often poetic, race descriptions became an established tradition for families at holiday picnics and homesick members of the armed forces at remote locations around the globe.
Roger McCluskey won Sprint Car championships in 1963 and 1966, National Stock Car championships in 1969 and 1970, the Indy Car title in 1973 and competed in all but one Indy 500 between 1961 and 1979 when he retired from driving to become USAC’s vice president and director of competition.
For 30 years, Ed “The Ace” McCulloch split his time between drag racing’s two most powerful divisions, notching 18 Funny Car victories and four Top Fuel wins. He was named Driver of the Year in 1973 and 1988, was inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2000 and continued in the sport as a tuner and crew chief between 2001 and 2010.
Augie Pabst was one of the brightest and most versatile stars of road racing in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. He won USAC and SCCA road racing titles in 1959 and 1960 behind the wheel of the Meister Brauser Scarab. During his career he won 13 major races including the Road America 500 three times and the GT category at Sebring in 1963.
Bruce Penhall was considered to be America’s greatest speedway motorcycle rider. After establishing himself in the U.S., he won several important European motorcycle racing titles and led the U.S. comeback in World Championship speedway racing in the early ‘80s, winning the World title in 1981 and 1982. In doing so, he was the first American to win that crown in 44 years.
Ed Winfield was regarded as one of the all-time great mechanical minds motorsports has ever known. He was an expert in engine design and carburation and played a major role in the development of the famed Novi engine with his brother, Bud. He is generally recognized as the “Father of the Racing Cam Business,” making his first performance camshaft in 1914 at age 13 and is credited with creative cylinder head designs and other engine advancements.
The new inductees will unveil their permanent Hall of Fame sculptures at the “Heroes of Horsepower” Reception to be held at the Detroit Science Center on Tuesday, August 23, 2011. The black-tie Twenty Third Annual Induction Ceremony will take place at the historic Fillmore Detroit Theater on Wednesday, August 24, 2011. Tickets for the both events can be purchased by calling 313-577-8400, ext. 482 or by visiting the Hall of Fame website www.mshf.com.
The Motorsports Museum & Hall of Fame is operated by the nonprofit Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame of America Foundation Inc. Currently housed in the Detroit Science Center in the Motor City’s Museum District, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America features the compelling stories of 188 Heroes of Horsepower along with the display of a wide variety of racing and high performance vehicles. The constantly changing collection features racers from the world of Indy cars, stock cars, Can Am, TransAm, sprint cars, powerboats, truck racing, drag racing, motorcycles, air racing and even snowmobiles.