Hodnett Headlines National Sprint Car Hall Of Fame Class

KNOXVILLE, Iowa — The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame will welcome eight new inductees when the 31st induction ceremony is held on May 30 in Knoxville, Iowa.

The list of inductees was announced on Tuesday night in Tulsa, Okla., during the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.

Drivers entering the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame are late sprint car star Greg Hodnett, four-time Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions champion Tim Shaffer and 51-time World of Outlaws race winner Jeff Swindell.

Representing the owner-mechanic-builder-manufacturer-car builder are Brickmobile car owner Walter Dyer and sprint car owner and builder Paul Leffler.

Don Lamberti, the co-founder of Casey’s General Stores, and L. Spencer Riggs, a veteran journalist who has written for National Speed Sport News and Open Wheel, among others, are joining the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in the promoters-officials-media members-event/series sponsor category.

Finally, in the pre-1945 category, 1934 Indianapolis 500 winner Bill Cummings rounds out the lastest National Sprint Car Hall of Fame class.

“This year’s inductee group is another testament to the hard work put in by our 72-member National Induction Committee,” said National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum Foundation Executive Director Bob Baker. “We are really looking forward to our 31st induction banquet on the Marion County Fairgrounds in Knoxville, Iowa, on Saturday, May 30.”

Below are the full bios for each of the inductees:

Greg Hodnett – A native of Memphis who would eventually be a card holding member of the Pennsylvania Posse, Hodnett racked up 286 wins in his sprint car career.  He won 20 World of Outlaws and 22 All Star events in his career.  The 2009 Williams Grove National Open winner was the 1993 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year, a five time Williams Grove Speedway champion, a two-time Selinsgrove Speedway and Susquehanna Speedway champion, and a five-time Pennsylvania Speedweek titlist.

Tim Shaffer – “The Steel City Outlaw” is a four-time All Star champion, the 1999 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year and three-time Ohio Sprint Speedweek champ. He is fourth all-time with 66 career All Star wins and has recorded 27 with the WoO. Shaffer won the $150,000 2010 Knoxville Nationals and the $100,000 2018 Sprint Car World Championship in Mansfield, Ohio. Among his many other wins are two Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup titles at Lernerville.

Jeff Swindell – Jeff grew up in the racing Swindell family near Memphis and has excelled as both a driver and as an innovator and manufacturer. He was the 1981 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year, and has 51 career wins with that series. Big wins have included the Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup at Skagit, the Eagle (Neb.) Nationals, the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup and the Gold Cup in Chico, California.  He also won the Knoxville 360 Nationals in 2002. The versatile driver is also a two-time winner of the famous USAC Silver Crown Hoosier Hundred. He is also an awarded manufacturer, most recently with Swindell electronic bleeders.

Walter Dyer – Dyer’s famous “Brickmobile” No. 461 was a staple in central Pennsylvania for over 30 years. Dyer racked up over 165 wins at 13 different tracks in his career, including the Williams Grove National Open, the Tuscarora 50, the East Bay Winternationals and many more, with drivers such as Billy Stief, Paul Lotier, Lance Dewease. His last win came with Curt Michael, fittingly on 4-06-01.

Paul Leffler – Leffler was both and owner and builder on his sprint cars. He fabricated almost every piece himself.  He was crew chief for three USAC National Sprint Car champions, Greg Weld (’67), Tom Bigelow (’78) and his son Greg Leffler (1979). Leffler has 29 USAC sprint car wins as an owner or co-owner. He had 34 more as crew chief for Sherman Armstrong’s cars from 1977-80. He built over 60 open wheel race cars during his career.

Don Lamberti – The co-founder of Casey’s General Stores has been a lifelong race fan, sponsor and supporter. With good friend Gil Sonner, Lamberti put a car together from a scrap pile as a teenager. Lamberti would partner with Gil to compete in 50 Knoxville Nationals, as well as many big wins across the country. Thanks to Lamberti, Casey’s has been a huge supporter of racing, drivers, events and sanctions in the Midwest and around the country.

L. Spencer Riggs – Growing up in Indianapolis, Riggs was influenced at a young age by the greats of the sport. He used his gift of storytelling and writing to give us pieces in National Speed Sport News, Open Wheel, Circle Track, the Indianapolis Star and countless other periodicals over the years. Riggs co-write “Indy 500 Chronicles” and authored “Langhorne! No Man’s Land.”  He has several awards and honors for his writing over the years.

Bill Cummings – From Indianapolis, Cummings grew up not far from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he would become most famous for winning the 1934 Indianapolis 500.  Cummings specialized on the dirt tracks and was a consistent winner in big cars during the late 1920’s, before making a spectacular debut at Langhorne Speedway by winning in 1930. He then won the 100-miler that year at Syracuse, and the AAA rookie finished third in points. Nicknamed “Wild Bill,” he won the ’34 Indy 500 with his fuel conservation.  He suggested they start calling him “Conservative William” afterwards.

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