TULSA, Okla. – With his widow Bobbi and young son Jaxx in attendance at the Tulsa Expo Center on Tuesday night, the late Jason Johnson was named as one of eight new inductees into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.
A five-time Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series national champion and six-time North American 360 Sprint Car Poll Driver of the Year, as well as the 2016 Knoxville Nationals winner, Johnson leads the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Class of 2019, which includes three notable drivers among its ranks.
The eight inductees were revealed by National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Executive Director Bob Baker following heat races Tuesday at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.
“Jason’s accomplishments on the track are so notable, but just as equally notable was everything he did off the track,” Baker told SPEED SPORT. “He was a great champion for the fans and a true ambassador for the sport. Wherever he was, he had a positive attitude and he was a regular guy that you could walk up to and talk about t-shirts as much as you could about racing.
“We’re honored to welcome him into the Hall of Fame alongside our other outstanding inductees.”
Bobbi Johnson admitted feeling a rush of emotions over the course of her day inside the Tulsa Expo Center on Tuesday as she soaked in her late husband’s induction to sprint car racing’s most hallowed building.
“This is truly special. It’s humbling and we’re so proud as a family,” said Bobbi Johnson. “He never wanted all the attention, but Jason worked hard and is certainly deserving of an honor like this. I wasn’t even sure if we would be able to make it out here for this – Jaxx had to miss school – but we’re glad to be here and thankful to be able to be a part of this special night.”
Joining Johnson in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in the driver category are Richard ‘The Gas Man’ Griffin and legendary Pennsylvania Posse kingpin Stevie Smith.
Griffin, from Silver City, N.M., was a five-time Sprint Car Racing Ass’n champion and winner of 49 races during his eight-year SCRA career.
Smith accrued a laundry list of accolades over his 31-year career. Among Smith’s accomplishments were 70 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victories, 19 All Star Circuit of Champions wins and 222 sprint car feature triumphs across the country during his driving tenure. Smith finished second in Outlaw points in 1992 and made 21 Knoxville Nationals A-mains.
In the Owners/Mechanics/Car Builders category, sprint car safety expert M.A. Brown and C.K. Spurlock – the man behind Gambler Chassis and the Kenny Rogers and Loretta Lynn Specials – receive the nods for induction.
In the Promoters & Media Members category, Tom Schmeh and Greg Stephens will officially join the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame as inductees.
Schmeh was one of the original executive directors for the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum and served as the museum’s curator from 2008 until retiring in 2017.
Stephens was the videographer for the World of Outlaws for many years, providing footage of the tour to TNN, ESPN and SPEED and helping bring the Outlaws to mainstream television. He now resides in Taylorsville, Ill., and has more than 3,000 hours of footage on file in his video collection.
The pre-1945 category welcomed Will Bill Endicott to its induction ranks on Tuesday night.
While Endicott mastered the sprint car world during an era when races were harder to come by than they are in the present day, his most notable accomplishment might have been a trio of Indianapolis 500 starts from 1911-13. He finished fifth in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing in 1912.
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