2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Recognizes Five NASCAR Icons

Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

Childress, Hendrick, Martin, Parks, Parsons Officially Enshrined

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 20, 2017) – Five of NASCAR’s legendary competitors – three owners and two drivers – were enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, tonight during the Induction Ceremony held in the Crown Ball Room at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin, Raymond Parks and Benny Parsons make up the eighth Class of The NASCAR Hall of Fame – a shrine of the sport’s history that now houses 40 inductees.

A man from humble beginnings, Richard Childress bought his first race car for $20 at the age of 17. He turned that purchase into a NASCAR dynasty, winning six premier series championships with NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt from 1984-2000. Overall, Childress ranks second all-time with 11 titles across NASCAR’s three national series. His Richard Childress Racing team has won 105 NASCAR premier series races.

“Only in America could a kid selling peanuts and popcorn at Bowman Gray Stadium have a dream of becoming a race driver someday,” Childress said. “And then he goes out and buys himself an old ’47 Plymouth, pays $20 for it – that was the best investment I ever made – and have a dream of being a NASCAR driver someday, be standing up here tonight to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Only in America.”

After winning three championships as the owner of a drag-racing boat team, Rick Hendrick founded “All-Star Racing” in 1984 – the team that would later become Hendrick Motorsports. The organization has won a record 12 premier series championships with drivers Jimmie Johnson (seven), Jeff Gordon (four) and Terry Labonte (1). Hendrick Motorsports has a total of 15 NASCAR national series titles, the most in NASCAR history. Overall, it boasts 245 premier series wins.

“I’m the luckiest guy in the world because of my family, because of the friends I’ve met in this sport,” Hendrick said. “I thank you, God bless you, and thank everyone who voted for me and all the fans because this is an honor that I will never, ever forget.”

Considered “the greatest driver to never win a championship,” Mark Martin finished runner-up in the premier series standings five times. During his 31-year Cup career, Martin totaled 40 wins (17th all-time), 61 runner-ups (sixth), 271 top fives (seventh) and 453 top 10s (third) in 882 starts (fifth). Successful at every NASCAR level, the Batesville, Arkansas, native visited Victory Lane 49 times in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and held its wins record for 14 years. He retired with 96 wins across NASCAR’s three national series – seventh on the all-time list.

“For every person that ever worked on any of our teams, I salute you,” Martin said. “This is your moment, our moment. The road was long, and sometimes the mountains seemed insurmountable. But in the end, here we stand in the grandest victory lane of all.  We made it to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.”

One of stock car racing’s earliest – and most successful – owners, Raymond Parks dominated the sport with his team in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He paired with mechanic Red Vogt to help Red Byron win the first NASCAR title (modified, 1948) and first premier series championship (1949). Known for always donning a suit and keeping his cars in pristine condition, Parks is credited for helping to transform NASCAR into a nationally recognized sport.

“But what really hit me, I think, was the first time I went to the Daytona International Speedway, I was sitting in the stands, and it hit me, because everything I had heard growing up, I could see all of them in the Streamline Motel (where Parks helped Bill France Sr. create NASCAR),” said Parks’ granddaughter Patricia DePottey, who accepted on his behalf. “I could see the cars racing around in the sand. I could just envision everything that he accomplished, and it was like all of the stories became real.”

Benny Parsons drove a taxi for a living in Detroit before embarking on his storied racing career. He won the 1973 NASCAR premier series title and finished fifth or better in the premier series standings in nine consecutive seasons (1972-80). Parsons won 21 races in 526 career starts, and tallied 283 top-10 finishes – a 53 percent ratio. He took the checkered flag in the 1975 Daytona 500 and was the first driver to qualify a stock car at more than 200 mph (200.176 in 1982 at Talladega Superspeedway). Following his driving career, he made a seamless transition to the broadcast booth as a commentator for NBC and TNT until his passing in 2007, at the age of 65.

“The most important thing about tonight for him would be the people and especially the fans, understand how much they meant to him and how much he loved each and every one of you,” said Parsons’ wife Terri, who accepted on his behalf. “You all have such great stories, and tonight is really a celebration of his life.”

Each of the five inductees had an inductor who officially welcomed them into the Hall: Judy Childress, Austin Dillon and Ty Dillon (wife and grandsons) for Richard Childress; Linda Hendrick (wife) for Rick Hendrick; Jack Roush (team owner) for Mark Martin; Kyle Petty (family friend) for Raymond Parks; and Dale Jarrett (family friend) for Benny Parsons.

Active drivers introduced each inductee during tonight’s program: Austin Dillon and Ty Dillon for Richard Childress; Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon for Rick Hendrick; Matt Kenseth for Mark Martin; Kevin Harvick for Raymond Parks; and Brad Keselowski for Benny Parsons.

In addition to the five inductees enshrined today, H. Clay Earles was honored as the third recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.

Earles built and opened Martinsville Speedway in 1947. It remains the only short track to host a NASCAR premier series race every year since the series’ inception in 1949. Built as a dirt track, Earles grew the primitive venue into a multi-million-dollar facility covering over 340 acres. Shaped like a paperclip, the .526-mile asphalt track is a crown jewel of NASCAR and known as the sport’s “Wrigley Field.”

Prior to tonight’s Induction Ceremony, multi-faceted journalist Benny Phillips was posthumously granted the sixth Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.

A versatile storyteller, Phillips spent 48 years with the High Point (N.C.) Enterprise as a reporter and sports editor. He also wrote for Stock Car Racing Magazine for 27 years and commentated for 12 years on TBS. Known for his ability to transform drivers into heroes with his words, Phillips penned four books, including Dale Earnhardt’s autobiography “Determined,” which he co-authored with fellow NASCAR reporter Ben Blake. Phillips died in 2012 at the age of 74 from polio, which he battled his entire life.

The 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, hosted by Rick Allen and Krista Voda, was broadcast on NBCSN.

Shapiro Motors Back on Track at the Steel Palace in 2017

OSWEGO, NY (January 19, 2017) – Leon Shapiro Motor Sales has announced they will again supply a Ram Truck as “The Official Safety Truck & EMS Vehicle” for the 67th season at the Oswego Speedway in 2017.

Todd Shapiro, third generation dealer stated “Shapiro Motors has been proud to support the Oswego Speedway’s effort on safety for competitors and spectators for over two decades by supplying an official vehicle each racing season.”
The Ram Pick Up, has been voted Motor Trend Magazine “Truck of the Year” three times this decade and was the first ever back-to-back winner of that prestigious award in 2014 and 2015. Properly equipped Ram 1500 and 3500 models get “best in class” fuel economy, both in miles per gallon and miles per tankful, and “best in class” payload and towing capacities, than their closest competitors.
Leon Shapiro Motor Sales on 410 West First Street in Oswego, is the area’s oldest franchised new car dealership and will celebrate its 77th year in business during the 2017 model year after being founded by Leon Shapiro in 1939 at the same location.
The available inventory of nearly three hundred units includes used vehicles and nearly two dozen different nameplates for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram Truck models.
During each racing season, Chrysler unveils a new model to the public and for the summer of 2017, it will be an all-new Jeep Compass which will be on display and for sale at Shapiro Motors.
Shapiro Motors, “The Name to Know…in Oswego”, is proud to be a partner and supporter of action at the Steel Palace again in 2017.

For more information on Oswego Speedway visit online at www.oswegospeedway.com, follow on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway, or like on Facebook at facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway.

FREEHOLD FORD SPONSORSHIP AND 2017 SKED ANNOUNCED; 2016 DRIVERS HONORED AT WALL STADIUM AWARDS DINNER SUNDAY

 

MANALAPAN, N.J. ~ Over 300 Wall Stadium Speedway competitors, crew members and fans gathered at the Battleground Country Club Sunday evening to hear announcements about the 2017 season including new Modified sponsor John Marotta’s Freehold Ford and the upcoming season schedule and to honor top stock car drivers and teams from 2016.

The Modified division sponsorship drew large applause as Freehold Ford representative Justin Huettler was introduced to the gathering and he announced that the headlining division would be known as the Freehold Ford Modifieds for 2017. Attendees were also anxious to review the 2017 schedule, which will open on Saturday night, April 22, and will continue through the traditional Thanksgiving weekend Turkey Derby. The entire schedule is available on the speedway website.

In the Modified ranks Jackson’s Steven Reed was honored for his second straight driving championship. Former champ Chas Okerson of Freehold, Holmdel’s Andrew Krause, Derek Hopkinson of Toms River and Little Falls’ Shaun Carrig completed the top five. Krause was honored as the “Most Improved Driver,” Hopkinson accepted the “Hard Luck Award” and Ed Delage of Tinton Falls was the “Rookie of the Year.”

Howell’s Kevin Davison was honored as the 2016 Snap On Sportsman driving champion, his second title in the division. Brick’s Dom Fattaruso, Ricky Collins of Willow Grove, Pa., Jackson’s Blake Barney and Parlin’s Larry Thompson were second through fifth in the season-long final count. Collins was the “Most Improved Driver,” Barney was honored as “Rookie of the Year” and Matt Langbein of Laurence Harbor got the “Hard Luck Award.”

Bayville’s Mike Tillett celebrated his first ever Elite Maintenance Limited Late Model driving crown while Brian Doyle of Ronkonkoma, N.Y., Freehold’s Howie Conk, Beachwood’s Bill Vanderveen and Jackson’s Glen Conk wrapped up the top five. Jackson’s Greg Gastelu won the “Hard Luck Award’ and Beachwood’s Michelle Moorman was the “Most Improved Driver.”

Louie Keraitis of Toms River enjoyed his first ever Green Flag Driving Experience Legend Cars championship. Nick Van Wickle of Edgewater Park, Eatontown’s Malcolm Campbell, Howell’s Robert French and Peter Bruno of Little Silver were second through fifth. Chris Gall of Brick took home the “Hard Luck Award,” Ron Merlino, Jr. of Pine Beach was the “Rookie of the Year” and Brick’s Roger Nickerson was the “Most Improved Driver.”

Brick’s Joe Mongeau celebrated his second straight crown in the O’Shea’s Auto Repair Factory Stocks. Scott Riggleman of Manchester, Gerry Koenig of Seaford, N.Y., Scott Maher, Jr. of Brick and Howell’s Richie Byrne were second through fifth. Byrne was the “Most Improved Driver,” Tom Rajkowski of Fords was the “Rookie of the Year” and Dave Green of Howell got the “Hard Luck Award.”

Beachwood’s Todd Pilla was honored as the Surfside Collision 4 Cylinder Stock champion while Brian Osborn of Howell, Brick’s Jason Lane, Fred Cannock of Port Monmouth and Jackson’s Darren Burdge completed the top five. Osborn was honored as the “Rookie of the Year” and Darianne McLaren of Edison was the “Most Improved Driver.”

The top ten drivers and their teams in each division were honored with awards and the Sportsman No. 10 team of Brick’s Dom Fattaruso was honored for preparing the season’s “Best Appearing Car.” MEG Wheels also awarded top drivers.

With the 2016 campaign complete 2017 activities begin on April 1 when teams are welcome to bring their cars to the track for technical and safety inspection. April 8 and April 15 will be reserved for practice sessions before the season opens on Saturday night, April 22.

The regular season schedule, which runs on Saturday nights through September 30, when 2017 champions will be crowned, is available at wallspeedwayracing.com as are the rules and regulations for all divisions. Post-season events, the “Spooky Spectacular” on October 21 and the Thanksgiving weekend “Turkey Derby” are also being planned.

Wall Stadium Speedway is located on Route 34 in Wall Township, N.J., just one mile north of Garden State Parkway exit 98 and Interstate 195 exit 35B. More information can be obtained by visiting www.wallspeedwayracing.com. The speedway hotline number is 732-681-6400 and email address is ckmotorsports@aol.com.

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