NAPA, Calif. — The West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame celebrated its 20th anniversary with two induction ceremonies on June 5 before more than 400 inductees, racing industry figures, guests and media members at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif.
The ceremonies, presented by World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway Motorsports Park, celebrated the achievements of members of 2020 and 2021 classes. The 2020 gala was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the first time, the event was live-streamed in its entirety. The West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame is nationally covered by MAVTV. Highlights of the ceremonies will be aired by the network later this summer.
Inducted in the Class of 2020 were NASCAR and USAC champion Mike Bliss; racing industry sponsor Craig Keough; four-time Indianapolis 500 champion Rick Mears; NASCAR regional champion Jim Pettit II; and four-time ARCA Menards West championship crew chief Jerry Pitts.
“It created that ladder for me without me trying to do it (on my own),” said Rick Mears on the importance of his California roots and racing opportunities.
NASCAR Cup Series champion Kurt Busch said late model sponsor/team owner Craig Keough had three rules. “The No. 1 rule was to go there and have fun. We always went to win. And the beer was always cold,” said Busch.
The Class of 2021 is comprised of NASCAR regional champion Dave Byrd; Las Vegas Motor Speedway builder Richie Clyne; Sports Car Club of American Trans Am champions Tom Gloy and Tommy Kendall; and 22-time Indianapolis 500 starter George Snider.
“Tom Gloy was a stellar representative for us on and off the track. Tommy Kendall was the other bookend. They were great role models for young drivers coming up,” said Edsel B. Ford II (via video).
Richie Clyne, the architect of Las Vegas Motor Speedway said, “I’m not a racer, I’m a builder. I dreamed it; I’m a builder – and a BS artist.”
The 2020 Heritage honorees, individuals from an earlier era of motorsport, were three-time Stockton 99 (Calif.) Speedway champion and 500-race winner Harry Belletto; NASCAR supermodified champion Howard Kaeding; international road racer Ken Miles; NASCAR car owner Jim Pettit Sr.; and sprint car champion Billy Wilkerson.
“He understood the harmony of what you did in the shop and on the race track,” said Bobby Gerould while introducing Howard Kaeding.
The 2021 Heritage inductees were open-wheel and USAC championship star Dick Atkins; former AT&T president, cable television executive and endurance competitor Leo Hindery Jr.; Corvette and Shelby-American racing star Dave MacDonald; industry innovator and sponsor Howard Welch; and racing component builder Ron Zajicek.
Linda Vaughn, a longtime ambassador for the racing industry, was proclaimed as the Motorsports Lady of the Century, an award presented by Ken Clapp, chairman and CEO of the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame.
The inaugural Knockin Doorz Down Philanthropist of the Year award, presented by Carlos Vieira and his foundation was presented to Mike Curb, recording executive, racing industry sponsor and West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports inductee. Curb accepted via video from Nashville.
Presenters included Indianapolis 500 champion Bobby Rahal, NASCAR Cup Series champion Kurt Busch, three-time USAC Silver Crown champion Jimmy Sills, Ken Clapp, additional members of the Hall’s board of directors and previous inductees.
Ralph Sheheen, co-owner and publisher of SPEED SPORT, served as master of ceremonies.
The annual induction ceremony is the cornerstone of the Hall’s charitable outreach. The West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 charitable organization, dedicated to supporting a variety of organizations and groups from coast to coast. During its tenure, the Hall has raised more than $600,000 in the past five of its 20 years for youth, health and safety, hospitals, animal rescue and other charitable causes.
“The Hall will have given more than $600,000 to charitable causes by the end of the year,” said Ken Capp. “Our goal by 2025 is to give a total of one million dollars. We might get there sooner.”