2011 Midwest Hall of Fame Inductees

January 26, 2011 by  
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There are many names in the auto racing industry that are worth remembering as having been instrumental in the development of the sport. In the Midwest there is also a proud history in regard to racing, which is documented and displayed in the Midwest Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame. The main focus of this establishment is to preserve the passion and heritage of the sport and pay tribute to those who have assisted in bringing auto racing to where it is today through their innovative ideas, racing skills and dedication to their sport.

Many stories line the walls of the Midwest Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame, such as the history of the first midget car that was constructed in 1934 by Alexander Pabst that led to the first St Louis Midget Race in 1936 and the founding of the St Louis Auto Racing Association in 1938. The latter was however disbanded in 1976, but made a huge impact on racing in this state. This year a few more names were added to the Midwest Hall of Fame in a reunion and induction ceremony that was held on 22 January 2011 at the Springfield Ozark Empire Fairgrounds. Having the induction at the fairgrounds was extremely symbolic; as it was here that many memorable moments were created on its legendary speedways.

One of the inductees receiving the Pioneers award is Johnny Morris, who is a racing fan and team sponsor. Joining him in the Pioneers inductees section is Mark Perry, Gerald Wilson and Steve Long. Under the Legend inductees category was Bill Frye (Driver), Dave Williams (Driver), Steve Schahuber and Rex McCroskey (Driver). What makes Steve Schahubers’ induction so special is the fact that he not only raced the cars but he built them as well as making repairs on his car where needed. He is also active in promoting the sport and developing the same passion he had within the younger generations. The Midwest Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame induction ceremony was a spectacular affair, which also featured historical photographs, vendor booths, racing cars on display and collectables stands. It was a day of paying tribute, remembering the past and looking towards an exciting future.

Daytona International Speedway

May 6, 2009 by  
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Whether you are a NASCAR fan or not, you have likely hear of Daytona’s unbreakable bonds with auto racing, with cars first racing on a road course before moving to a regular track. The quality of car racing at Daytona over the past half century has been simply astounding, so we may say that NASCAR has paid back Florida for the gift of auto racing with full interest! Daytona has never shied away from new technology, but it also has an endearing quality of preserving a halo of tradition and history which no other place can match.

The two and a half miles of the Daytona International Speedway have no less than 31 degree inclines for drivers to negotiate, making it nearly impossible to even keep cars upright, to say nothing of the lightening speeds! The oval layout looks deceptively benign from a distance. Daytona is a sunny and friendly place, but the track is meant only for the brave and skilled! Nextel, Busch, and Craftsman are the top series which grace this track. Every driver dreams of racing here, and the track has seen the cream of auto racing participants crop. This track also hosts motor cycle events.

Daytona has always been an innovator in all aspects of car racing. It was here that drivers learnt to use the vacuum created by a car in front to gain speed. It was at Daytona that auto racing witnessed a speed of over 200 miles per hour. Daytona, thanks to innovative spectator arrangements, is the best track to watch pit crews up close, providing a window to an integral aspect of racing which is not always appreciated. The Daytona International Speedway is a kind of Mecca for auto racing, and you must plan a visit if you have never been here.

Evergreen Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Located a mere 25 miles northeast of Seattle, Evergreen Speedway is a majestic racing facility with a history dating back to its creation in 1954. Nestled in the expansive Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, Washington, Evergreen Speedway has a solid record of standing-room-only attendance and support from the surrounding community. Much of the track’s success can be attributed to its unique design, which combines a 5/8-mile paved outer oval with a 3/8-mile inner oval, a 1/5-mile oval, a 1/8-mile drag strip, and a figure-eight track. The unification of the five venues within view of the 7,500-seat covered, and additional 7,500-seat modular grandstands has created a flexible Motorsports arena offering a diverse entertainment product to the auto racing fan base.

Dubbed “The Super-speedway of the West” by NASCAR racing legend David Pearson, Evergreen Speedway’s outer oval provides an exciting, high-speed playing field for some of NASCAR’s top touring divisions, while the smaller ovals and figure-eight track render a perfect venue for weekly NASCAR events.

In 1978, the helm of Evergreen Speedway was transferred to International Productions, Inc., owned and operated by the Beadle family. In the years that have followed, the Evergreen Speedway has enjoyed unparalleled success as the “gateway to automobile racing” in the Pacific Northwest.

In 1984, International Productions signed the prestigious Winston Racing Series sanctioning agreement with NASCAR, creating an alliance between the largest sanctioning body in the world and Evergreen Speedway – now renowned as the largest speedway in the northwest. Over the past twenty years, International Productions has distinguished itself as an innovator in the promotions business.

With northwestern racing fans hungry for a big NASCAR race in their own backyard, the Speedway hosted the inaugural Motorcraft 500 – a 500-lap NASCAR Winston West Series race – in July of 1985. For the region, it was the largest event in the history of NASCAR and over the years attracted some of the sport’s top drivers, including Bill Elliott, Geoff Bodine, Sterling Marlin, Harry Gant, Ken Schrader, Derrike Cope, and the late Davey Allison. Moving with the trends of the industry, International Productions recognized the surging support for the NASCAR REB-CO Northwest Tour, and responded by developing and promoting the 250-lap Coors Light 250, the longest event for the series.

In 1995, Evergreen Speedway landed on the schedule of the inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season. With the national touring series came live television and radio coverage, exponential return on investments for Evergreen Speedway sponsors and a new, exciting entertainment product for the track’s thousands of patrons. Evergreen hosted the series until the year 2000.

Today the Evergreen Speedway is the venue for local and regional racing series events, including Mini Stocks, Monster Trucks, Les Schwab Street Stocks, Speedway Chevrolet Super Late Models, Crash Cars, Demolition Derbies, Autocross and drag racing.

Kentucky Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Located in Sparta, Kentucky, the Kentucky Speedway has played host to some of America’s most popular racing events, including the NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, IRL IndyCar Series, IRL Firestone Indy Lights, and the ARCA RE/MAX Series. It is a 1.5 mile tri-oval track measuring 70 feet wide with 12 foot shoulders and turns banked at 14 degrees. The grandstands have a seating capacity of more than 60,000 with a 2,000 seat Bluegrass Club and plenty of camping spaces and facilities to accommodate the crowds of racing enthusiasts attracted to the track by its program of events.

Some of the “firsts” recorded for the Kentucky Speedway include the first race on June 16, 2000, being the NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series “Kentucky 150”. The attendance at the event was 36,210 and the winner was Bill Bigley Jr., with an average speed of 111.747 mph in his #28 Peerless Woodworking/Nevamar Decorative Services Chevrolet. The purse was set at $95,050. The first pole sitter at this inaugural event was Brian Smith in his #20 Juba Glass Chevrolet Monte Carlo, with a qualifying time of 150.038 mph. The first winning crew chief was Bill Bigley, Sr.

In May 2008, Speedway Motorsports bought Kentucky Speedway from Jerry Carroll, with the deal finalized in October of that year. Its been reported that the new owners aim to secure a place in the NASCAR Sprint Series, but as at the end of 2009 this had not yet become a reality. Nonetheless, Kentucky Speedway continues to host the other events mentioned at the outset, offering auto racing enthusiasts a world-class venue to enjoy their favorite fast-paced sport.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Welcome to America’s speedway! The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built on 328 acres of farmland 7 miles north-west of downtown Indianapolis in the spring of 1909. It didn’t start out as one of the most famous racetracks in the world. It was planned as a year-round testing facility for the fast-growing automobile industry in Indiana. Occasional race meets would be presented at the track, featuring those very same manufacturers racing their products against each other. The basic marketing logic being that spectators would be more apt to purchase a new car if they saw its performance on a race-track.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway was originally four turns, each banked at nine degrees and 12 minutes and measuring exactly 440 yards from entrance to exit, were linked together by a pair of long straights and, at the north and south ends of the property, by a pair of short straights to form a rectangular-shaped 2 ½ mile track as dictated by the confines of the available land.

Check out these track statistics:

Road Course: total track length: 2.605 miles (4.192 kilometers)
Main straight length: 3,037 feet (926 meters)
Back straight length: 1,755 feet (535 meters)
Total turns: 13 (Left turns – 4; Right turns – 9)
Average track width: 46 feet (14 meters)
Expected Lap Time: 72 seconds
Expected average speed: 130 mph (210 kph)
Expected highest speed: 187 mph (301 kph)
Race Distance: 190.294 miles (306.235 km), 73 laps
Time limit on Race: FIA rules stipulate that Formula 1 races have a maximum time limit of two hours. This race should be completed in less than two hours, barring an emergency stoppage.

The original surface of Indianapolis Motor Speedway was made of nothing but crushed rock and tar, which proved to be disastrous at the opening motorcycle and automobile racing events in August of 1909. So a staggering 3,200,000 paving bricks were imported by rail from the western part of the state. They were laid on their sides in a bed of sand and fixed with mortar, thus inspiring the nickname “The Brickyard.” The name has stood forever more.

Asphalt was first applied to the rougher portions of the track in 1936, and by 1941, all but the greater part of the straightaway had become blacktop. The remainder of the bricks were finally covered over in the fall of 1961. Most of the original paving bricks are still in place underneath the modern asphalt surface, with only the famous “yard of bricks” still exposed at the start/finish line as a nostalgic reminder of the past.

The track has changed ownership only twice. With Carl Fisher heavily involved in the development of Miami Beach and Jim Allison’s nearby engineering company growing rapidly, the foursome sold Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1927 to a group headed up by WWI flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker (Rickenbacker had actually driven in several Indy 500s before he ever knew how to fly).

These days the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, opened in 1909, is the world’s largest spectator facility and the only racetrack to host the Indy Racing League, NASCAR and Formula One. Since 1911, the Speedway has been the home of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indianapolis 500 each May. The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard (formerly Brickyard 400) has quickly become one of NASCAR’s most coveted races since the inaugural event in 1994 and heats up the track in late July. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway completed the Triple Crown of Racing in 2000 with the addition of June’s United States Grand Prix, the only Formula One race run in the United States.

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