For the 29th time in its glorious history, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, now relocated from suburban Detroit to Daytona International Speedway, has recognized the careers and achievements of some of America’s greatest racers, racers from NASCAR, road racing, motorcycles, World of Outlaws, drag racing, journalism and the sponsorship side of things.
The evening at The Shores Resort in Daytona Beach, just up the road from the Streamline Hotel where NASCAR was founded in 1948, started off with remarks from the always affable and dapper David Hobbs, emcee for the evening, and then the 2017 honorary chairman, NASCAR champion Kurt Busch, who spent some time praising his hero, 2017 inductee Terry Labonte, The Iron Man.
Forrest Lucas, was presented with the prestigious Bob Russo award, named for the legendary racing publicist and PR person, for his never-ending support of nearly all forms of American racing with direct monetary sponsorships in boat racing, NASCAR, NHRA drag racing, motorcycles, dirt track racing, etc. The founder/owner of Lucas Oil in Indianapolis and sponsor of that city’s Lucas Oil Stadium for NFL football, gave the longest speech of the night. He was presented by British boat racer Nigel Hook.
From NASCAR’s early history came inductee Herb Thomas, who won his pair of titles in NASCAR in 1951 and 1953. Co-inductee Terry Labonte won his two premier series championships in 1985 and ’96. Thomas was presented for induction by NASCAR vice chairman Mike Helton.