Motorsports Hall Of Fame Of America Receives $2.5 Million Grant From Petersen Foundation, To Develop Robert E. Petersen Theater In Hall’s New Daytona International Speedway Home

  • Theater Planned For 2017 Opening
  • First Phase Of MSHFA Relocation Project Targeted For June Completion
  • MSHFA To Showcase All Forms Of American Motorsports At ‘World Center Of Racing’

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 20, 2016) – The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA) announced today that it has received a $2.5 million grant from the Margie & Robert E. Petersen Foundation of Los Angeles, with the money targeted to fund construction and development of the Robert E. Petersen Theater in the hall’s new permanent home at Daytona International Speedway.

The MSHFA, which has moved to Daytona Beach from Novi, Michigan, will be housed in the speedway’s expansive ticket and tours facility that greets thousands of motorsports fans each year at the “World Center of Racing.” A vital component in the relocation will be the new theater, along with a Robert E. Petersen “Tribute Room” that will greet guests entering the attraction.

The first phase of construction and development is expected to be completed by June – in time for the 28th Annual MSHFA Induction Ceremony Presented by Bridgestone on June 29 and the July 2 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the speedway, the Coke Zero 400. That completion will coincide with this year’s debut of the $400 million “DAYTONA Rising” project which has created the world’s first true motorsports stadium. The site for the induction ceremony will be announced in the near future.

The Margie & Robert E. Petersen Foundation has donated more than $300 million dollars to their namesake and renowned Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, children's charities and to various organizations and causes since its 1996 formation.

In 1948, Robert E. Petersen founded HOT ROD magazine followed by many more automotive magazines including MOTOR TREND, CAR CRAFT, ROD & CUSTOM, CIRCLE TRACK, MOTORCYCLIST and 4 WHEEL & OFF ROAD.  His Petersen Publishing Company helped create and promote automotive sports throughout the world.

“This is a monumental announcement for the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America,” said MSHFA President Ron Watson. “Robert E. Petersen had already taken his place as one of the true legends of American motorsports as a 2013 Hall of Fame inductee. Now his vast accomplishments will be further spotlighted in the form of the Robert E. Petersen Theater and Tribute Room.

“The Petersen Foundation has stepped up to help make our vision of a new hall of fame museum a reality. And of course, it’s essential to note that this donation is only the latest in the Petersen Foundation’s history of supporting worthy causes. We are overwhelmed by the foundation’s generosity and now we will go about the task of honoring that generosity as we assemble a first-rate, new Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.”

"We believe the new Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and the Robert E. Petersen Theatre will be vital to preserving the legacy of Mr. Petersen and his love for the motorsports industry," said GiGi Carleton, president of the Margie & Robert E. Petersen Foundation.  "Concurrently the hall is going to preserve the heritage of all of its former inductees and the Petersen Foundation is proud to support those efforts."

On June 29, a seven-person class of 2016 inductees will enter the MSHFA: AMA motorcycle great Everett Brashear; NASCAR champion team owner Richard Childress; land and water speed-record legend Gary Gabelich; multi-discipline auto racing champion owner Chip Ganassi; NHRA announcing legend Dave McClelland; competitor and broadcaster extraordinaire Sam Posey; and 1955 Indianapolis 500 champion Bob Sweikert.

Tickets for the 2016 Induction Ceremony can be purchased by calling 248.349.7223 or through the MSHFA website at

About the Margie & Robert E. Petersen Foundation:
The Margie & Robert E. Petersen Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and to give a child the opportunity to reach his or her potential through various children's charities. In addition the Foundation supports the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles and other motorsports organizations as well as cancer research. The Margie & Robert E. Petersen Foundation was founded in 1996 and will terminate in 2021.  Prior to the establishment of the Margie & Robert E. Petersen Foundation, both the Petersens were well-known philanthropists in the Southern California area.

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.