As one might expect, the five 1999 inductees into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame will be the primary focus during the sold-out induction ceremony on the evening of April 22nd. There will, however, be many other significant motorsports figures in attendance.
In addition to the inductees (Harry Hyde, Gordon Johncock, Alain Prost, Wendell Scott and Louise Smith), the 1998 Driver of the Year, Jeff Gordon, will also be honored. This is the third such honor for Gordon in the past four years.
There will be another impressive group of racing greats on the stage, also. They will be presenting the inductees, or in some cases, receiving on their behalf. Buddy Baker will induct Harry Hyde. Harry Lee Hyde will accept for his father. 1998 Indy 500 winner Eddie Cheever will induct Gordon Johncock, who will accept for himself David Hobbs will induct Alain Prost, and Derek Daly will accept on behalf of Prost. Ned Jarrett will induct Wendell Scott, with Scott’s wife Mary accepting. Bill Elliott will induct Louise Smith, who will accept for herself
“This is certainly a star-studded line-up of racing personalities that will be part of our ninth annual induction ceremony. It is easy to see why this event has been sold out every year,” said IMHOF Executive Director Don Naman.
Gordon and Cheever will be part of another elite group of drivers that will also be recognized, the 12 competitors in the International Race of Champions (IROC) series. IROC drivers who have accepted an invitation are Kenny Brack, Jeff Burton, Cheever, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Gordon, Bobby Labonte and Rusty Wallace. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will represent his father as well as himself, Ned Jarrett will represent Dale Jarrett and Jack Roush will represent 1998 IROC series champion Mark Martin. The second round of the 1999 IROC Series will be run April 24th at Talladega Superspeedway.
Gordon (NASCAR Winston Cup) and Earnhardt, Jr. (NASCAR Busch Series) will be joined by two more 1998 series champions, Ron Hornaday of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Frank Kimmel, who won the ARCA title.
Traditionally, there are several past inductees who enjoy coming back each year for the induction ceremony, and this year’s list includes racing legends Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker, Ned Jarrett, Benny Parsons, Richard Petty, Carroll Shelby, Herb Thomas and Smokey Yunick.
The induction ceremony will be held in the Speedvision Dome at the Hall of Fame, with dinner at 6:00 pm and the ceremony slated to get underway at 7:30 pm. It will be aired once again by the Speedvision cable channel.