Officials at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame announced their Class of 2004 this morning at the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham. The class consists of five individuals who will be inducted next April in a black-tie ceremony at the Hall of Fame.
Hall of Fame Executive Director Jim Freeman stated that this was one of the most diverse classes in the 14 year history of inductions. “We have both men and women, drivers and non-drivers, and have one inductee who will be the very first to represent his particular venue of racing,” said Freeman.
Four world-class drivers and the driving force behind the most successful sanctioning body in racing make up the Class of 2004. They are:
- Charles “Red” Farmer, who has raced and won in seven different decades starting in the 1940’s. Farmer, who still runs dirt tracks every weekend, has won four NASCAR Touring Series Championships and was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.
- Bill France, Jr., who took the reins of NASCAR from his father in 1972 and guided the still-young sanctioning body to the top of the racing world. He has taken it from a regional to a national sport, and made it one of the hottest television commodities in all of sports.
- Shirley Muldowney, one of the top performers in all of drag racing history, has won four Top Fuel national championships, and was named to the All-American team five times. Her career nearly ended in a vicious crash in 1984, but she fought back and was racing again in 18 months.
- Bill Muncey, described by many as the greatest hydroplane race driver in history, is the first power boat racer to gain admission to the Hall of Fame. He won eight Gold Cups, seven national championships and four world titles, finishing his career with a record 62 wins.
- Bobby Rahal, selected by RACER magazine as one of the 20 Greatest Drivers of the 20th Century, has won three CART championships, 24 races and 18 poles. He won the 1986 Indianapolis 500, and has also won the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.
This five-member class brings the total number of inductees into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame to 106. The induction ceremony will be on Thursday night, April 22nd, in the Speed Channel Dome at the Hall of Fame.