DETROIT – Racing and motorsports industry legends Jack Chrisman, Harvey Firestone, Masten Gregory, Brad Lackey, Bud Moore, Robert E. Petersen and Alex Zanardi will be this year’s Silver Anniversary inductees into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America at the organization’s 25th Annual Induction Ceremony that will be held on Aug. 21, 2013 at the Fillmore Theater in Detroit.
“There is no better way to celebrate our 25th anniversary than with an induction class that showcases a true variety of American motorsports with an international flair,” said Ron Watson, President of the Motorsports Hall of Fame. “This year’s Silver Anniversary group features a champion rider and drivers, a title-winning team owner, a legendary publisher and an industrial giant whose name still graces racing tires today.”
The Silver Anniversary celebration will also see chassis constructor and technology innovator Bob Riley receive the Hall’s Bob Russo Motorsports Heritage Award for his numerous contributions to racing.
The eight honorees combined account for countless race wins and numerous North American and World Championships in IndyCar, NASCAR, NHRA, AMA, motocross and sports car racing and victories in such legendary races as the Indianapolis 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
One of drag racing’s early stars, Chrisman first came to prominence when he toured the country in 1961 in a twin-engine Chevy-powered dragster and captured his first NHRA championship. He later became a Funny Car pioneer in the mid1960s and was successful in his retirement as a manufacturer and builder.
The founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, Firestone knew the value of motorsports in promoting his product. It’s a legacy that continues today after beginning in 1909 when Barney Oldfield first raced on Firestones in a 300 mile race held at the just-built Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Known as the Kansas City Flash, Gregory started racing in 1952 in SCCA and later became the first American born driver to regularly compete in the international Formula 1 arena, scoring a podium finish in his very first F1 start. In 1965, he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a North American Racing Team (NART) Ferrari 275LM, the first overall win for an American entry in the French classic.
Lackey was one of America’s top motocross racers in the 1970s and 1980s. He won the AMA 500cc National Motocross championship in 1972 and decade later became the first American to win the 500cc World Motocross Championship.
A 19-year-old hero of D-Day on Utah Beach, Moore started only five races as a driver before he moved to the garage where he ultimately became one of NASCAR’s foremost team owners scoring two Cup championships with Hall of Famer Joe Weatherly as driver. His Cougar and Mustang Trans-Am road racing teams were the epitome of the factory-backed efforts of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Founder of Petersen Publishing Co., Petersen began publishing Hot Rod Magazine in 1948, and that publication soon became the bible for automotive enthusiasts. His multi-million dollar firm produced such titles as Hot Rod, Motor Trend, Car Craft, 4-Wheel & Off-Road, Sport Truck, Motorcyclist, Dirt Rider and a host of other non-automotive titles. Petersen and his magazines staunchly supported all forms of motor sports.
Like a lot of successful open-wheel racers, Zanardi got his start in karting and then competed in Italian Formula 3 on a full-time basis. He drove in Formula 1 before moving to the Target/Chip Ganassi CART IndyCar team in 1996, capturing rookie of the year honors and back-to-back championships in 1997 and 1998. More recently, Zanardi has made headlines as an elite Paralympic athlete in handbike cycling, winning a pair of gold medals and a silver while representing his native Italy in the 2012 London Paralympics.
Riley has amassed an amazing record as a race and championship-winning constructor in automotive oval and road racing. In addition to his own successful Champ Cars, Riley built the winning car A.J. Foyt drove to his fourth and final Indianapolis 500 victory in 1977. His Riley Technologies company also has numerous Rolex 24 At Daytona victories, including every overall title since 2005.