FIELD NARROWED TO 23 FOR 2001 INDUCTION CEREMONY

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    Twenty-three individuals who have distinguished themselves in the world of motorsports have been selected as finalists for election into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. In the final round of voting later this summer, five individuals will be selected from this group to be inducted on April 19th, 2001.

    These nearly two dozen men represent virtually every form of racing, from stock cars to open wheel to motorcycles to power boats to airplanes. They were drivers, car builders, engine builders, owners, and pilots. They were also daredevils, pioneers and innovators.

    "Many of our 130 media panelists commented last year on how hard it was to pick the top six for 2000, but I think their job will be harder this year, "said IMHOF Executive Director Jim Freeman. "I believe this group, our 11th, will be the most diverse we have ever had to pick from. There are no heavy favorites like there were last year when Andretti and Foyt were mentioned on virtually every ballot. It's going to be tough on the panel to pick only five."

    Freeman noted that the semi-final group was supposed to be 20 people, but a four-way tie for the 20th spot resulted in 23 semi-finalists.

    NASCAR racing is represented, with Neil Bonnett, Red Byron, Ray Fox, Ray Hendrick, Jack Ingram, Alan Kulwicki, Cotton Owens, Maurice Petty, Tim Richmond and Glen Wood. Indycar racing is next with Gary Bettenhausen, Jimmy Bryan, Fred Offenhauser and A. J. Watson.

    Formula 1 has Ettore Bugatti, Denis Hulme and Jackie Ickx, while Cannonball Baker, Sir Henry Seagrave and Chuck Yeager have all set world speed records. Briggs Cunningham made his name in sports car racing, Mike Hailwood was a nine-time motorcycle champion and Bill Muncey is the all-time win leader in unlimited hydroplanes.

    As is the case with a great many racers, several in this group were involved in more than one form of motorsports. Richmond was Indy Rookie of the Year before moving to NASCAR. After his racing career, Baker became the first commissioner of NASCAR. Hailwood also raced F1, and Ickx competed in several kinds of racing. Kulwicki was an ASA champion before racing NASCAR, and Hulme was a Can-Am champion.

Official Finalists for the 2001 Induction Ceremony

  • Cannonball Baker - First NASCAR commissioner; set 200 records in different forms of motorsports.
  • Gary Bettenhausen - Four Indy Car wins, won USAC sprint car title and 40 races, 27 USAC Midget wins.

  • Neil Bonnett - Won 18 NASCAR Winston Cup races and 20 poles.

  • Jimmy Bryan - Won three AM-USAC National titles, and 1958 Indy 500, 19 career Indy Car wins.

  • Ettore Bugatti - Builder of race cars that won over4,000 races between 1911 and 1945.

  • Red Byron - First NASCAR champion (Modifies 1948, Grand National 1949), one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest.

  • Briggs Cunningham - Sports car racer and developer of the highly-successful Cunninghams.

  • Ray Fox - Stock car builder and crew chief, built cars for Pearson, Roberts, Johnson, Baker and others.

  • Mike Hailwood - Nine motorcycle championships, also raced Formula One.

  • Ray Hendrick - 500+ wins in NASCAR Modified and LM Sportsman, one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest.

  • Denis Hulme - 1967 Formula One Champion, 8 GP wins, 2 titles and 22 wins in CanAm.

  • Jackie lckx - Won LeMans 6 times, 8 wins and twice runner-up in F-I points, won Daytona 24 Hours.

  • Jack Ingram - Five NASCAR Late Model/Busch Grand National titles, one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest.

  • Alan Kulwicki - ASA Champion, 1992 Winston Cup Champion, one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.

  • Bill Muncey - Championship driver of unlimited hydroplanes. All-time leader with 62 wins.

  • Fred Offenhauser - Noted engine builder. His engines dominated Indycar racing for 25 years.

  • Cotton Owens - Won more than 400 Modified and Late Model sportsman races, nine Winston Cup races and 40 more as car owner.

  • Maurice Petty - Crew chief and engine builder for his brother, Richard Petty.

  • Tim Richmond - 1980 Indy Rookie of the Year, then won a total of 13 NASCAR Winston Cup races.

  • Sir Henry Seagrave - Set world land speed record of 203.79 mph in 1927, the first over 200 mph.

  • A.J. Watson - Indycar Chief Mechanic. 27 career wins, 18 with Rodger Ward.

  • Glen Wood - 4 Winston Cup wins and 11 poles as driver, one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.

  • Chuck Yeager - Test pilot, first to break the speed of sound. Set many world records for speed in point-to-point flights.

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