Stewart Leads Newest USAC HoF Class

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Tony Stewart. (HHP/Rusty Jarrett photo)
Tony Stewart. (HHP/Rusty Jarrett photo)
Tony Stewart is among the eight inductees announced Thursday as part of the USAC Hall of Fame Class of 2016. (HHP/Rusty Jarrett photo)

INDIANAPOLIS – The United States Auto Club announced Thursday their initial eight 2016 inductees for the 2016 Class of the USAC Hall of Fame.

Four more inductees will be selected by popular vote from a list of 16 eligible names distributed through social mediums. The list of 16 will be announced June 20.

The eight-member class of inductees announced on Thursday includes five drivers, two officials and a car owner-chief mechanic.

Alphabetically, the eight new inductees are: Russ Clendenen, Jimmy Davies, Bob Higman, Tommy Hinnershitz, Dick King, Pat O’Connor, Tony Stewart and Bob Tattersall.

Online voting for the final four 2016 inductees into the USAC Hall of Fame will be available on the USAC website beginning Monday, June 20, at www.usacracing.com.

Clendenen, of Dayton, Ohio, supervised more USAC racing events than anyone in history, spanning several series including the National Championship Series and the National Sprint Cars. Involved in Midwestern oval-track racing for more than five decades, he started as a mechanic for driver Everett Saylor, the 1937 Central States Racing Association champion.

After the war, Clendenen turned to officiating and was an assistant to AAA Midwestern Supervisor Bob Martindale. In 1958, he succeeded Martindale and, after his retirement as a full-time official, was honored in 1982 with the prestigious Eddie Edenburn Award for his lifelong contributions to the sport.

Clendenen passed away in 2002 at the age of 94.

Davies, of Gardena, Calif., was a three-time USAC National Midget Series Champion from 1960-1962. His 48 career Midget victories still rank sixth on USAC’s all-time National Midget win list.

A winner at age 20 in the ill-fated 1949 Del Mar, Calif. AAA 100-miler which claimed the life of Rex Mays, Davies would eventually compete in five Indianapolis 500s, recording his best finish of third in 1955. He also won USAC’s Pacific Coast Midget Series title in 1960 and scored three victories in the prestigious Night Before the 500 midget classic.

Also proficient in his appearances down under, Davies won the 1963 Australian Speedcar Grand Prix and the 1963 and 1964 South Australian Speedcar titles. He lost his life in a 1966 midget race at Santa Fe Park Speedway in Hinsdale, Ill., and was inducted into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1984.