Two-Time NASCAR Champions Thomas, Labonte Part of 2017 Inductee Class For Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
- 29th Annual MSHFA Induction Ceremony Presented By Bridgestone on June 28 in Daytona Beach
- Five Other Racing Luminaries Also to be Inducted
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 23, 2017) – The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA) will induct a pair of two-time NASCAR champions at its 29th Annual MSHFA Induction Ceremony Presented By Bridgestone at the Shores Resort and Spa on June 28.
Herb Thomas won his pair of titles in NASCAR's premier series in 1951 and '53. Terry Labonte won his two premier series championships in 1985 and '96.
"It's always a privilege to induct a multi-time champion from any series into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America," said Ron Watson, MSHFA president, "but to have two repeat champions from the same series inducted on the same night is truly unique and will make this year's event extra special."
The late Thomas' career in NASCAR's top level of competition – now called the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – spanned 10 years and 229 races that resulted in 48 victories, 39 poles, 122 top-five finishes and 6,196 laps led. He won an astounding 21 percent of the races he started. Seven of those starts came on the Daytona Beach-Road Course that was located just several miles south of the site of this year's induction.
When he won the title in 1951 with the legendary Smokey Yunick as his crew chief, Thomas captured the first of three career victories in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, driving the iconic Fabulous Hudson Hornet. He also was the first owner-driver to win the championship. When he won the crown again in 1953, he was the first driver to do so twice.
Labonte broke into the NASCAR ranks a generation after Thomas and equaled the older driver's championship count, racing in 890 events over a 37-year career that saw him take the checkered flag 22 times and grab the pole on 27 occasions. He also amassed 182 top-five finishes and led more than 7,000 laps. He also posted 11 victories and four poles in what is now the NASCAR XFINITY Series and one win in what is now the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Labonte got his first (1980) and last (2003) victories in the Southern 500. In between, he won the 1984 championship for Hagan Racing in a Chevrolet and the 1996 title for Hendrick Motorsports, also in a Chevrolet.
Thomas, who died in 2000, is being inducted via the hall's Historic category. Thomas will be presented for induction by NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton; Thomas' son Joel and grandson Chris will accept on his behalf. Labonte enters the MSHFA in the Stock Car category. He will be inducted by his longtime car owner, Rick Hendrick.
Other 2017 inductees: Steve Kinser (Open Wheel), Dick Klamfoth (Motorcycle), Paula Murphy (Drag Racing), Scott Pruett (Sports Car) and Brock Yates (At Large).
MSHFA inductee David Hobbs, a former road racing great and current Formula One commentator for NBC, will serve as the event's Master of Ceremonies. Tickets for the induction ceremony can be purchased by calling 386.681.6843 or through the MSHFA website at www.mshf.com.
About the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America:
The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA) held its first induction ceremony in 1989; the facility was headquartered in Novi, Michigan from 1989-2015 and relocated to Daytona Beach, Florida in 2016. The MSHFA is the only hall of fame that encompasses the full spectrum of American motorsports: cars, motorcycles, off-road, powerboats and airplanes. The overriding mission of the MSHFA is to celebrate and instill the American core values of leadership, creativity, originality, teamwork and spirit of competition embodied in motorsports. The MSHFA is operated by the nonprofit Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame of America Foundation Inc.