Mickey Thompson, At Large, Class of 1990
You could call him "Mr. Speed." Mickey Thompson has held more speed and endurance records than any other man in the world (he set 295 records at Bonneville alone), including being the first American to unofficially break the 400 mph speed barrier. He also ran the first 6-second funny car, designed and drove the first slingshot dragster and was the first to build and qualify a stock block rear engine car for the Indianapolis 500.
During his life, Thompson participated in over 10,000 races, drove over one million race miles and won at least one championship in such diverse categories of auto racing as midgets, sprint cars, off-road vehicles, stock cars, drag racing and sports cars. But his contribution to motorsports goes far beyond his car building and driving skills.
An innovator and designer in many disciplines, Thompson developed, among other things, the signal starting and foul light systems for dragstrips, the wide oval tire, nitrogen gas shocks in the United States and the Hydro-Barricade - a water safety wall for race track and highway use.
Thompson's mechanical talents were recognized when he was awarded the D-A Mechanical Achievement Trophy for his skill and imagination in preparing cars for both the Indianapolis 500 and the dragstrip.
An avid fan of off-road racing, Thompson worked to professionalize the sport and make it one of the most popular forms of auto racing today. He founded SCORE International, the largest off-road race sanctioning body in North America. SCORE, and his Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group, brought spectators closer to the off-road action by bringing racing indoors to stadium crowds.
Looking at Mickey's full and varied career, one could easily add the titles, Mr. Innovator and Mr. Promoter to Mr. Speed.