Enthusiastic Audience Helps Usher 2011 Inductees into the Motorsports Hall of Fame
DETROIT (August 25, 2011) – A large and enthusiastic audience of family, friends, fans and motorsports insiders gathered Wednesday in downtown Detroit to usher in an equally impressive, energetic and accomplished group of 2011 inductees at the 23rd Annual Motorsports Hall of Fame of America Induction Ceremony at the historic Fillmore Theater.
The colorful 2011 class included event attendees Donnie Allison (Stock Cars), Ed McCulloch (Drag Racing), Augie Pabst (Sports Cars) and Bruce Penhall (Motorcycles) as well as friends and family members that capably memorialized and accepted the honors for Sid Collins (At Large), Roger McCluskey (Open Wheel) and Ed Winfield (Historic). Among the presenters were current Hall members and motorsports legends Bobby Unser (McCluskey), "Big Daddy" Don Garlits (Winfield), Bobby Allison (Donnie Allison), and Roger Penske (Pabst) who were joined by a trio of expert broadcasters and announcers that included Donald Davidson (Collins), Larry Huffman (Penhall) and Bob Frey (McCulloch).
Road Racing champion and current television broadcaster David Hobbs shined in his debut performance as Master of Ceremonies while 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion and future Hall of Famer Kurt Busch (pictured) set the tone for the evening with an insightful and entertaining opening address as the evening's Honorary Chairman.
"As a student of motorsport, a point I want to make is that I look through the window and see the legacy that you have created," said Busch, in reference to the 2011 inductees and impressive turnout of other motorsports legends. "And as a young NASCAR champion, I feel it is my duty to walk through new doors to continue to build on that foundation, so thank you for what you have done."
Penske, Busch's NASCAR team owner, was the evening's final presenter and enshrined Pabst, a longtime friend and former sports car competitor.
"When you go back and think about tonight, you are going to think about teamwork, you are going to think about passion, you're going to think about winning," Penske said. "And that's the common thread that I see among all of these great people being inducted tonight, but I want to say something special about the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America here in Detroit. They stayed in Detroit, kept this great ceremony here as we have gone through some very tough times. As you know, I am a great supporter of Detroit, and as I said at the NASCAR Nationwide banquet a year ago, the lights are back on in Detroit, so thank you all for coming here tonight."
The 2011 Induction Ceremony was the second for the Hall of Fame in its new relationship with the Detroit Science Center, which hosted Tuesday night's "Heroes of Horsepower" reception where the new inductees and their representatives unveiled their permanent Hall of Fame sculptures. The full two days of celebration kicked off Tuesday afternoon with a Detroit Sports Broadcasters Luncheon at the Detroit Yacht Club that was attended by both Allison brothers, McCulloch, Pabst, Penhall, Unser, Frey and Huffman, along with a strong showing of past inductees and motorsports notables.
About the Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame of America: The Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame of America is operated by the nonprofit Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame of America Foundation, Inc. Currently housed in the Detroit Science Center in the Motor City's Museum District, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America features the compelling stories of 188 Heroes of Horsepower along with the display of a wide variety of racing and high performance vehicles. The constantly changing collection features racers from the world of Indy cars, stock cars, sports cars, sprint cars, powerboats, truck racing, drag racing, motorcycles, air racing and even snowmobiles.
Motorsports Hall of Fame America 2011 Induction Class:
Donnie Allison, a member of the famed "Alabama Gang," compiled nearly 400 short track victories before joining the NASCAR Cup circuit in 1968. He won 10 Cup races and captured 17 pole positions. In 1970, he scored three wins and had 10 top five finishes. Allison, who earned the Rookie of the Year title in the 1970 Indy 500, will join his brother Bobby in the Hall of Fame.
Sid Collins was the original broadcast voice of the Indianapolis 500 and 2011 MSHFA Inductee Sid Collinslaunched the IMS radio network in 1952 shepherding its growth from 26 to 1,200 radio stations. Listening to his dramatic, often poetic, race descriptions became an established tradition for families at holiday picnics and homesick members of the armed forces at remote locations around the globe.
Roger McCluskey won Sprint Car championships in 1963 and 1966, National Stock Car championships in 1969 and 1970, the Indy Car title in 1973 and competed in all but one Indy 500 between 1961 and 1979 when he retired from driving to become USAC's vice president and director of competition.
For 30 years, Ed "The Ace" McCulloch split his time between drag racing's two most powerful divisions, notching 18 Funny Car victories and four Top Fuel wins. He2011 MSHFA Inductee Ed McCulloch was named Driver of the Year in 1973 and 1988, was inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2000 and continued in the sport as a tuner and crew chief between 2001 and 2010.
Augie Pabst was one of the brightest and most versatile stars of road racing in the late '50s and early '60s. He won USAC and SCCA road racing titles in 1959 and 1960 behind the wheel of the Meister Brauser Scarab. During his career he won 13 major races including the Road America 500 three times and the GT category at Sebring in 1963.
Bruce Penhall was considered to be America's greatest speedway motorcycle rider. After establishing himself in the U.S., he won several important European motorcycle2011 MSFHA Inductee Bruce Penhall racing titles and led the U.S. comeback in World Championship speedway racing in the early '80s, winning the World title in 1981 and 1982. In doing so, he was the first American to win that crown in 44 years.
Ed Winfield was regarded as one of the all-time great mechanical minds motorsports has ever known. He was an expert in engine design and carburation and played a major role in the development of the famed Novi engine with his brother, Bud. He is generally recognized as the "Father of the Racing Cam Business," making his first performance camshaft in 1914 at age 13 and is credited with creative cylinder head designs and other engine advancements.