John L. Bickford and Anthony (Tony) La Russa have been elected to the board of directors of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. Their election was announced at Phoenix Raceway concurrent with the naming of the Hall of Fame’s 2017 class of seven inductees.
Bickford, 70, is the step-father, mentor and manager of NASCAR premier series champion Jeff Gordon. The Napa, California-native was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in June 2016.
Bickford purchased a quarter-midget race car for Gordon, who began racing at small, California dirt tracks at the age of five. Gordon was ready to compete in sprint cars at age 13 but, because of age restrictions, could not race in his native state. Bickford and his wife Carol made the decision to move the family to Indiana, where Gordon’s career quickly ascended.
La Russa, on the other hand, spent 33 years as a Major League Baseball manager
La Russa, 72, and his wife Elaine are the founders of Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation headquartered in Walnut Creek, California, which saves abandoned and injured animals as well as runs programs to bring dogs and cats to abused children, hospital patients, seniors and shut-ins.
The 2017 West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Inductees are Walker Evans, Michael Gaughan, Joe Leonard, Gene Price, Scott Pruett, Frank Secrist and Kenneth (Kenny) Takeuchi.
The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame was conceived in 2001 as a means of recognizing significant contributors and contributions to the sport of stock car racing. While the Hall of Fame currently only exists in digital form, the Hall’s future goal is to share it with the public at various locations yet to be determined.
The mission of the Hall of Fame is to preserve the history and heritage of the west coast stock car competitors and to recognize outstanding individuals and groups within the sport such as, but not limited to, designers, engineers, mechanics, drivers, race track owners, promoters, publicists and members of the motorsports media.
More information can be found at www.westcoaststockcarracing.com.
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