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.

Atlanta Motor Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Formerly known as the Atlanta International Raceway, the Atlanta Motor Speedway is located in Hampton, just to the south of the city of Atlanta. Atlanta Motor Speedway, is a 2.48 kilometer superspeedway, that has a quad-oval circuit and a spectator seating capacity of approximately 125 000. The track first opened in 1960, but condominiums were erected over the northeastern part of the Atlanta Speedway track in 1994. This construction led to the track being redesigned and practically rebuilt in 1997. The front and backstretches were swapped, and the oval form of the track gave way to quad-oval. Today, the Atlanta Motor Speedway is the fastest NASCAR track on the entire NASCAR circuit. The track also includes a 4 kilometer road course, approved by the FIA, and a Legends racing track, between the main track and the pit road.

This NASCAR circuit was seeing qualifying lap speeds of approximately 311 kilometers an hour, with the fastest recorded lap speed of 317 kilometers an hour, between the 1990s and the 2000s. The Texas Motor Speedway, that was designed very similar to the Atlanta Speedway, did have faster times during 2004 to 2005, but after its surface was worn, the higher speeds returned to Atlanta. Tracks such as Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway did once have faster lap times, averaging about 322 kilometers an hour, but NASCAR mandated restrictor plates for these tracks, making the average speed approximately 306 kilometers an hour. The Atlanta Motor Speedway’s slogan is “Real Racing. Real Fast.” This is not an exaggeration, as NASCAR has not mandated restrictor plates at this track.

Hurricane Cindy hit the Atlanta Motor Speedway on 6 July 2005, with the damage being estimated at approximately 40-50 million US Dollars. Debris was littered across the track, facades were torn off, roofs were damaged, scoreboard towers were knocked down or left leaning and new grandstands had to be built to replace those that were built in 1960. But against all odds, Atlanta Motor Speedway was ready to race by the next big event and has gone on to welcome spectators to witness some of the fastest racing in the United States.

Pikes Peak International Raceway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Pikes Peak International Raceway was reopened in 2008 and is now under the ownership of a private company, Pikes Peak International Raceway, LLC.

Pikes Peak International Raceway is situated in Fountain, Colorado USA. Just to the north of Pueblo, but south of Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Raceway was originally the site of a horse racing track named Pikes Peak Meadows. The auto racing track of Pikes Peak was constructed in 1997 and was popular for many years. The speedway was purchased in 2005 by International Speedway Corporation who decided to close the facility down.

When Pikes Peak International Raceway was founded in 1997 it was the first super-speedway to be constructed in the Rocky Mountain area. The track itself was a 1 mile oval with a D-shape and a 1.315 mile road course. The width of the paved oval was 60-71 feet and the turns were at 10 degrees. Grandstands at Pikes Peak Raceway were able to accommodate some 42 000 spectators. Added to this was 31 luxury suites for VIP guests. A pedestrian tunnel provided access to the infield which had a care center along with a helipad. Also on the infield was a corporate village. Other convenient facilities at Pikes Peak super-speedway were the Pikes Peak Club, handicapped amenities and overnight RV spots.

A number of exciting races were held at the Pikes Peak International Raceway during its hey-day. Amongst these were IRL Series races, superbike events, sprint car races, midget car racing, the NASCAR Busch Series and many more. During its history there have been many great wins at Pike Peak. NASCAR Busch Series winners at Pikes Peak are as follows: 1998 – Matt Kenseth in a Chevrolet; 1999 – Andy Santerre in a Chevrolet; 2000 – Jeff Green in a Chevrolet; 2001 – Jeff Purvis in a Chevrolet; 2002 – Hank Parker Jr. in a Dodge; 2003 – Scott Wimmer in a Chevrolet; 2004 – Greg Biffle in a Ford and 2005 – David Green in a Ford. It would definitely appear that Chevrolet dominated the Pikes Peak speedway. Perhaps if the NASCAR track had continued operating, Ford would have taken the lead. Unfortunately, that theory will never be put to the test and Pikes Peak International Raceway will become a name mentioned in the history books of NASCAR racing.

Auto Club Speedway of Southern California

February 9, 2009 by  
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Previously known as the California Speedway, the Auto Club Speedway of Southern California has a slight variation on the classic oval race track design, the banks are much gentler than at other NASCAR locations. You might think that a track which is relatively low and not very challenging, might take a bit of a back seat on the NASCAR circuit. However, nothing could be further from the truth! The Auto Club Speedway is a great hit with NASCAR fans and drivers. It provides a superior auto racing experience, and is enjoyable for those comparatively new to NASCAR as well. What is so special about this 2-mile track?

A dedication to spectator delight marks the management of the Auto Club Speedway. Continuous upgrades and investments make sure that auto racing standards meet the taxing NASCAR safety requirements, while no thought is spared for the enjoyment of the paying public. The Auto Club Speedway offers a superior viewing experience, whether from the stands, or on large television screens. Spectators in Recreational Vehicles who frequent this NASCAR track, have been consulted when adjustments had to be made to the area which has been reserved for them earlier. Live bands and top grade catering add to the experience at this track, which is within easy reach of downtown Los Angeles.

The Auto Club Speedway auto racing product offering is comprehensive. Nextel and Busch series combine with truck and motorcycle racing here. The track has seen quality competition during its relatively short career, and new NASCAR enthusiasts flock in by the day. This is quite remarkable considering the myriad of other recreational attractions in the neighborhood.

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