The International Motorsports Hall of Fame announced today that two NHRA greats, Kenny Bernstein and John Force, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame along with NASCAR’s Richard Childress.
“Congratulations to the Class of 2012. Kenny and John have shown a competitive fire in their sport that earned them this International honor, “said IMHOF Executive Director Grant Lynch. “Both have shown their gift behind the wheel and as car owners. Kenny, Richard and John are true pioneers in their sport and have sealed their place in motorsports history.” Lynch added, “The three 2012 Inductees bring personality, individuality and uniqueness to the IMHOF induction.”
Team owner and six-time NHRA champion Kenny Bernstein is a gifted driver and businessman. He holds the unique distinction of being the first and only race team owner to have collected wins in each of America’s three major motorsports series: NHRA drag racing, NASCAR, and CART. He earned the title “King of Speed” when he became the first NHRA driver to break the 300 miles-per-hour barrier March 20, 1992. In May of 1992 his IndyCar with driver Roberto Guerrero sat on the pole of the Indy 500. Bernstein began an association with Budweiser which lasted for 30 years, setting the watermark as the longest-running sponsorship in the history of auto sports. During his driving career he won 69 NHRA national events, four consecutive Funny Car championships along with two Top Fuel championships. He was also voted in the top 10 on NHRA’s 50 Greatest Drivers list.
“We are honored to be chosen by a blue ribbon media panel as an inductee into the 2012 International Motorsports Hall of Fame. We are humbled to accompany John Force and Richard Childress with all their amazing accomplishments and talents,” stated 2012 IMHOF Inductee Kenny Bernstein. “We are looking forward to all the festivities and a great evening. We also want to take a moment to thank all the team members and employees who have worked for us through the years that have helped contribute to the success that has made it possible for us to be considered for such an honor. We owe a debt of gratitude to our past sponsor Budweiser, long-time sponsor Mac Tools and our current sponsor Copart.”
John Force owns virtually all of the major records in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series including those for final round appearances, tour victories, No. 1 starts and 15 championships. The 1996 Driver of the Year, Force is a 15-time Auto Racing All-America selection and the only four-time winner of the Jerry Titus Memorial Award which identifies the driver receiving the most overall votes for the All-America team. The oldest champion in a major series when he won the 2010 NHRA Funny Car title at age 61, Force was named RACER Magazine’s 2010 Racer of the Year.
“I am honored to be selected for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega Motor Speedway. To go in with Kenny Bernstein and Richard Childress is amazing. Those guys are real legends. I am just happy to be out here racing for my sponsors Castrol, for over 26 years, Ford, Auto Club, Mac Tools and BrandSource. They could have given up on me after my crash but they stayed with me and we got another championship, number 15. This honor is not just about me it is about my crew chiefs, Austin Coil, Bernie Fedderly and Mike Neff, my crew guys, all my drivers and everyone at John Force Racing,” stated 2012 IMHOF Inductee John Force. “I am not done yet so while I say thank you to the media that voted for me I want everyone to know that just because I am going into the Hall of Fame you haven’t heard the last of me. I am out here chasing these young drivers like Mike Neff, Robert Hight, and Matt Hagan. Those guys might be the next Hall of Famers for all I know.”
IMHOF Induction Ceremony is scheduled for May 3, 2012, at the SPEED Channel Dome in Talladega, Alabama. Tickets are now available by calling 256-315-4531 or 256-315-4528. Visa, MasterCard and Discover are accepted.