NEWS: MSHFA 2023 Induction Class Unveiled at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach
Motorsports Hall of Fame of America 2023 Induction Class Unveiled in Stand 21 Racing Goes Safer Seminar at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach
- Zora Arkus-Duntov (Sports Cars), Henry Banks (Historic), Dick Burleson (Motorcycles), Art Chester (Aviation), Ray Evernham (Stock Cars), Fonty Flock (Historic), Darrell Gwynn (Drag Racing), Ab Jenkins (Historic) and Drs. Stephen Olvey and Terry Trammell (Open Wheel) in 2023 Hall Induction Class
- Milestone 35th Annual Induction Celebration Presented by Toyota Racing Set for March 6 – 7, 2023 in Daytona Beach
LONG BEACH, California (April 9, 2022) — The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA) announced its 2023 Induction Class Saturday during the Stand 21 Racing Goes Safer seminar at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. The landmark 35th Motorsports Hall of Fame of America Induction Celebration presented by Toyota Racing, which will formally usher the Class of 2023's nine members into the MSHFA, will be held in the Hall's home of Daytona Beach, Florida, March 6 – 7, 2023.
The Class of 2023 includes the Father of the Corvette and Corvette racing Zora Arkus-Duntov (Sports Cars), longtime USAC official and safety pioneer Henry Banks (Historic), America's most successful enduro racer, Dick Burleson (Motorcycles), air racing superstar Art Chester (Aviation), one of NASCAR's most innovative crew chiefs, Ray Evernham (Stock Cars), early NASCAR fan favorite Fonty Flock (Historic), one of the NHRA's 50 Greatest All-Time Drivers, Darrell Gwynn (Drag Racing), prolific land speed record-setter Ab Jenkins (Historic) and two men who revolutionized racetrack emergency services, saving countless lives and careers, Drs. Stephen Olvey and Terry Trammell (Open Wheel).
"Part of the reason we wanted to make the announcement at the Racing Goes Safer seminar is because several members of the Class of 2023 have played a major role in improving racing safety," said MSHFA President George Levy. "Our thanks go to Stand 21's Yves Morizot and the Racing Goes Safer Foundation for making that possible."
Two of the inductees at the forefront of safety improvements are Drs. Olvey and Trammell.
"We are honored and thrilled to be included in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America class of 2023 Drs. Olvey and Trammell said jointly. "We want to thank the many who have supported us and those from whom we learned on our journey to make motorsports safer."
The MSHFA Class of 2023 was unveiled in a press conference during the Racing Goes Safer seminar by Levy and 2015 MSHFA inductee and star road racer Tommy Kendall.
Each of the MSHFA's inductees is elected by a straight vote of 200 motorsports experts — half of them inductees themselves. Regular voters include Mario Andretti (MSHFA Class of 1990), Chip Ganassi (MSHFA Class of 2016), Don Garlits (MSHFA Class of 1989), Tom D'Eath (MSHFA Class of 2000), Scott Parker (MSHFA Class of 2009), Richard Petty (MSHFA Class of 1989), Don Prudhomme (MSHFA Class of 1991), Rusty Wallace (MSHFA Class of 2014) and other titans of the sport.
The nine Class of 2023 honorees will be formally brought into the Hall on Tuesday, March 7 in the 35th Annual Induction Ceremony Presented by Toyota Racing, the traditional black-tie gala that is the crowning event of the two-day, multi-function MSHFA Induction Celebration. The Induction Ceremony, which was sold out for the Class of 2022 celebration, will be preceded on Monday, March 6 by the traditional "Heroes of Horsepower" reception and strolling dinner at the MSHFA Museum on the grounds of Daytona International Speedway. Firestone sponsored this year's Heroes of Horsepower reception that was another sell out event.
Daytime events include the annual Heritage Luncheon on Monday and the annual Inductee Breakfast on Tuesday morning.
Current plans call for 2023's Historic inductees to be ushered into the MSHFA as a featured highlight of the Tuesday morning breakfast, which was sponsored by American Honda this year.
Through last month's Class of 2022 induction, 279 Heroes of Horsepower are currently in the MSHFA, a number that will grow to 288 with the 35th Induction Class.
The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America Class of 2023:
Zora Arkus-Duntov (Sports Cars) — The "Father of the Corvette" turned America's sports car into a racing juggernaut despite almost continuous opposition from GM upper management. Because of Duntov, Corvettes raced and won at Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans, captured countless sports car and drag racing championships and set numerous speed records. He built the Corvette SS and Corvette Grand Sport, and influential CERV I and II racing research vehicles. Trained at the Technical University of Berlin, Duntov was a gifted driver, twice winning his class at Le Mans (1954-55) and setting records at Pikes Peak and Daytona.
Henry Banks (Historic) — Banks made his mark as a driver and longtime United States Auto Club (USAC) official. Born in England and raised in Royal Oak, Mich, Banks raced midgets and Indy cars. The 1941 East Coast Midget champ's best season was 1950 when he became AAA Big Car National Champion and finished 2nd in National Midget points. He ran the Indianapolis 500 six times, finishing 6th in ‘51. As USAC Director of Competition, he helped introduce numerous safety advances, including roll bars, fuel cells, fire-retardant uniforms and driver restraint systems. As VP of USAC Properties, he oversaw land-speed-record runs.
Dick Burleson (Motorcycles) — "King Richard" was America's most successful enduro racer. Burleson started riding at 18. By his mid-20s, he was at the top of the discipline, which involves competing against the clock on extended cross-country, primarily off-road courses. From 1974 to '81, he captured a record eight straight AMA National Enduro Championships. He also won eight straight gold medals in the International Six Days Enduro, sometimes referred to as the "Olympics of Motorcycling." After the record 3-time AMA Amateur Athlete of the Year retired from riding, he developed and marketed off-road riding apparel and accessories.
Art Chester (Aviation) — After winning the 1930 National Air Races, Chester designed and built a series of groundbreaking planes named after Popeye characters. Starting with the 1933 National Air Races, he won major contests over several seasons in his Chester "Jeep" and held the world speed record at 237 mph. Aboard "Goon," Chester won the prestigious Greve Trophy at the 1939 National Air Races. During WWII, he helped develop the tide-turning P-51 Mustang. As the Professional Race Pilots Association's first president, Chester fathered today's Formula 1. He perished in his final design, "Swee' Pea II," in 1949.
Ray Evernham (Stock Cars) — The former New Jersey modified driver innovated ways to manage teams and became one of the sport's most prolific winners. In the 1990s, he and inductee Jeff Gordon combined for 47 NASCAR Cup Series wins and three titles (1995, 1997, 1998). To improve pitstop speed and efficiency, he employed former athletes as crew members with specialized roles and clockwork choreography. Later, Evernham's own team won 23 poles and 13 Cup races. An ESPN/ABC and NBC analyst and AmeriCARna host, in 2021 Evernham and inductee Tony Stewart launched the groundbreaking SRX Series.
Fonty Flock (Historic) — Preceded into the MSHFA by younger brother Tim, Truman Fontell Flock had hall of fame credentials all his own. In 154 NASCAR Cup Series starts from 1949-57, the Fort Payne, Ala. native scored 19 wins, 33 poles and 83 Top 10s. He also won the 1947 National Championship Stock Car Circuit title and 1949 NASCAR National Modified Championship. In 1951, Flock was runner-up to Herb Thomas for the Cup Series title despite shading the 2017 inductee in wins, Top 5s, Top 10s, poles and laps led. Flock won the following year's Southern 500 wearing a T-Shirt and Bermuda shorts, which became his trademark.
Darrell Gwynn (Drag Racing) — Gwynn was named one of the NHRA's 50 Greatest Drivers All-Time for his stellar accomplishments in a tragically truncated career. He collected the 1983 Top Alcohol Dragster World Championship, then moved to Top Fuel, where he took 18 victories and never finished lower than 4th in points between 1986 and 1989. A 1990 accident resulted in paralysis and the loss of his left arm. As an owner, Gwynn fielded a very competitive TF car for Mike Dunn for close to a decade. He started the Darrell Gwynn Foundation in 2002 and, in 2014, opened The Darrell Gwynn Quality of Life Chapter of The Buoniconti Fund.
Ab Jenkins (Speed Records) — The man who popularized the Bonneville Salt Flats for racing set more speed records than anyone. In the 1920s, he raced trains from Salt Lake City to Wendover and from NYC to San Francisco. He won both contests. In the ‘30s, he ran a series of aircraft-engine "Mormon Meteors" at Bonneville. In 1936, he drove one solo 3,254 miles in 24 hours at 153 mph, setting a record unbeaten until 2005… by an 8-man team. Later the longtime Salt Lake City mayor set 21 more records in office, including ones for Pontiac just before his death. The automaker named the Bonneville in his honor.
Drs. Steve Olvey & Terry Trammell (Open Wheel) — They revolutionized racetrack emergency services, in so doing setting a standard for every form of racing, saving dozens if not hundreds of lives. In the 1970s, Olvey developed the first US traveling motorsports medical team for what is today's IndyCar Series. During their tenure in open-wheel racing, the only deaths were from non-survivable injuries. No driver was paralyzed or failed to return to competition. Many were saved from amputation. Both remain consultants to IndyCar. Trammell won the 2021 Louis Schwitzer Award for biomedical engineering advances for driver safety.
The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MotorsportsHOF/ and Instagram and Twitter at @MotorsportsHOF.
About the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America: The MSHFA is the only hall that honors all American motorsports: cars, motorcycles, airplanes, off road and powerboats. Its mission is to celebrate and instill the American motorsports values of leadership, creativity, originality, teamwork and spirit of competition. Founded by Larry G. Ciancio and Ronald A. Watson, it held its first induction in 1989. Watson spent the next 30 years tirelessly building it into the nation’s premier such hall of fame until his passing in 2019. The original museum in Novi, Mich., relocated to Daytona Beach, Fla., in 2016 and greets more than 100,000 guests a year. MSHFA is operated by the nonprofit Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame of America Foundation, Inc.