DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America announced its 28th class of inductees Friday at Daytona Int’l Speedway, with legendary team owners Richard Childress and Chip Ganassi leading the latest class.
The seven-person class of 2016 inductees includes Childress, Ganassi, Everett Brashear, Gary Gabelich, Dave McClelland, Sam Posey and Bob Sweikert. Collectively, the group represents motorcycles, stock cars, sports cars, land speed records, drag boat records, drag racing and open-wheel racing. They will be enshrined at the 28th annual Induction Ceremony presented by Bridgestone on the evening of June 29 at Daytona Int’l Speedway, the new home of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
“Having our induction ceremony for the first time at ‘The World Center of Racing’ is going to showcase this year’s inductees – and all of our past inductees – in a manner befitting their accomplishments,” said MSHFA President Ron Watson.
“As always, our inductee list reflects the breadth of racing achievement in this country. This year’s class demonstrates our continuing efforts to recognize variety in motorsports, an approach which respectively distinguishes us from other racing halls of fame.”
Ganassi personifies those efforts via a career that has produced championships and milestone victories in open-wheel, sports cars and stock cars.
“I’m truly grateful and honored to be part of the 2016 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America class of inductees,” Ganassi said. “This is really a testament to all the hard work through the years by our drivers and teams.
“Many of the hall’s inductees are my heroes. To have my name listed alongside theirs is something I will always cherish. And to be inducted June 29 at Daytona Int’l Speedway, where our organization has achieved so much success, makes this even more special.”
Some specifics regarding the 28th Motorsports Hall of Fame of America class of inductees:
Everett Brashear – One of the top AMA dirt-track motorcycle racers of all-time, Brashear won a total of 15 AMA nationals between1952-1960. … After exiting from competition, Brashear immersed himself in other areas of the motorcycle industry, working for Harley-Davidson, Triumph, Yamaha and Kawasaki. … In all, he spent 47 years in the industry. … Brashear was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1988.
Richard Childress – Childress’ remarkable career evolved from being a struggling stock car racer to becoming one of the premier owners in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, winning six championships with 2002 MSHFA inductee Dale Earnhardt (1986, ’87, ’90, ’91, ’93, ’94). …
He has won 14 championships in NASCAR national series competition, second-best all time. … His drivers have won the DAYTONA 500 twice and the Brickyard 400 three times. … Childress has a total of 211 wins collectively in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Gary Gabelich – Gabelich chased speed records on both land and water during a brief but mercurial competitive career for the former Apollo test astronaut. He did not go into space, instead testing capsules’ weightless conditions, and performance under extreme lateral forces. … In 1969, Gabelich established a quarter-mile Drag Boat record of 200.44 mph (323 km/h). … A year later, driving the “Blue Flame” he set FIA Land Speed Records of 622.407 mph (1,001.667 km/h) over a flying mile and 630.388 mph (1,014.511 km/h) over a flying kilometer at the Bonneville Salt Flats. … His competitive career ended after a 1972 accident in an experimental Funny Car. … He died in 1984 due to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.
Chip Ganassi – Ganassi is the only car owner to have won the DAYTONA 500, the Indianapolis 500, the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Brickyard 400. Between February 2010 and January 2011, his drivers swept those four events, giving him an unprecedented “Grand Slam” in America’s major auto races. … Overall, his teams have won 18 championships and more than 170 races. His open-wheel teams have amassed 11 championships and more than 100 victories – including five in the Indianapolis 500. His NASCAR teams have 17 victories including a DAYTONA 500 victory, and have twice qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. His sports car teams have a record six Rolex 24 At Daytona victories to complement their seven Rolex Sports Car Series championships. … Before becoming one of the most successful team owners in American racing history, Ganassi raced himself, competing in the Indianapolis 500 five times with a best finish of eighth in 1983.
Dave McClelland – Known as Known as “The Voice of the NHRA”, McClelland is one of the most legendary voices in all of motorsports and certainly the most legendary in the history of drag racing. But his face is very recognizable, too, thanks to his years of NHRA-related work on ESPN, SPEED and The Nashville Network. … His background also includes a stint as a race track executive followed by a successful run as NHRA publicity and public relations director. … He has been recognized with a number of awards during his career including the 2013 Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award, which is presented annually to pioneers in the hot rod and restoration industry.
Sam Posey – Posey has excelled both on the race track and in the broadcast booth, in the process becoming one of this country’s most recognizable and respected motorsports personalities. … Posey raced in Can-Am, Trans-Am, Indy Car, sports cars, Formula One and NASCAR competition. … He raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans 10 times, finishing in the top 10 five times, with a best finish of third in 1971. … After leaving competition he became an ABC commentator in 1974 and now works for NBC Sports Network on Formula One coverage and has written numerous well-regarded books and magazine articles on motorsports subjects.
Bob Sweikert – Los Angeles native Sweikert had a season for the ages in 1955, winning the Indianapolis 500, the AAA “Big Car” National Championship and the Midwest Sprint Car Championship, becoming the first driver to sweep all three honors in a single season. … Sweikert was the first driver to exceed 100 mph on a one-mile oval track. … His career was halted at the age of 30, his full potential unrealized, when he died in June 1956 after a Sprint Car accident at Salem (Indiana) Speedway. … He was inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame in 1994 and the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1995.