Director of motorsports
Has anyone played a more important role in American motorsports in the second half of the 20th century? When the Winston-Salem native graduated from nearby North Carolina State University with a mechanical engineering degree, he wanted to work for a NASCAR team. Instead, he was hired by General Motors, where he rose to run a racing operation that achieved unprecedented results. During Fishel’s tenure, GM won 25 NASCAR manufacturers’ championships — 11 consecutive (1981-91) — 12 Indy 500s and numerous drag, off-road and sports car racing titles. He was also a pivotal figure in the Corvette programs that scored overall and class wins at Daytona and Le Mans and made “America’s sports car” a world-class winner. Much of the success achieved by inductees like Dale Earnhardt, Tommy Kendall, Junior Johnson and Darrell Waltrip is directly attributable to him. In the early 1990s, Fishel led the effort to install black boxes in racecars, dramatically improving driver safety. He was inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Corvette Hall of Fame in 2015.