The Board of Directors of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame announced their Class of 2007 Wednesday morning in the Hall of Fame next to Talladega Superspeedway.
The six member class, comprised of visionaries, is one that no other class has equaled. First, while there is a distinct NASCAR flavor to this class, only one of them has ever won a Nextel Cup race, and that was as a car owner. There are plenty of championships, however, with five in the NASCAR Busch Series, six in NHRA Pro Stocks and five in two separate motorcycle circuits.
Interim Director Don Naman, who ran the Talladega Superspeedway for 18 years and served as Executive Director for 12 years at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, called the Class “one of the most unique that we have ever had. What they have accomplished is truly amazing.” He noted that many of them had been in motorsports for decades, and were pioneers in many ways.
The Class of 2007 is as follows:
JUNIE DONLAVEY, the longtime car owner who gave many of NASCAR’s biggest stars their starts. Bill Dennis, Jody Ridley and Ken Schrader all won Rookie of the Year honors in Junie’s #90 Fords. His biggest win was with Ridley at Dover in 1981. In all, an incredible 60 different drivers drove in Cup races for Donlavey.
RAY HENDRICK won more than 700 times on modified and late model sportsman circuits, and did it so well that he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers. He missed out on a national title in 1966 when he crashed in Atlanta in the final race of the season.
JACK INGRAM won three NASCAR Late Model Sportsman titles in 1972-73-74, then won the first two Busch Series championships in 1982 and 1985. When he retired in 1991, Ingram was the all time win leader with 31.
WARREN JOHNSON. Known as “The Professor”, Johnson has won six NHRA Pro Stock championships, the most recent in 2001. His 96 wins are the most in Pro Stock history, and are second overall to John Force. He was named as one of NHRA’s Ten Greatest Drivers in 2000.
WAYNE RAINEY won three consecutive 500cc Grand Prix World titles in 1990-91-92, and was well on his way to a fourth when a back-breaking crash ended his career in 1993. He posted 24 wins in only six seasons, and also won two AMA Superbike titles in 1983 and 1987.
BRUTON SMITH, the flamboyant owner of Speedway Motorsports, which includes tracks at Charlotte, Atlanta, Bristol, Texas, Sears Point and Las Vegas. Smith was a pioneer in the area of fan amenities, building condos at Charlotte, and being the first to light a major superspeedway. He has amassed a motorsports and automotive empire.
These six men will be inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame on Thursday night, April 26th, 2007, in a ceremony at the Hall of Fame’s Speed Dome. Reservations for tickets may be made now by calling the Hall of Fame office at 256/362-5002. Visa and Mastercard are accepted.