The International Drag Racing Hall of Fame, housed at the famed Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing (Ocala, Florida) announced the 2014 inductees to the Hall of Fame. 2014 marks the 24th year of honoring those who contributed significantly to the sport in their careers. The prestigious induction ceremony will take place in Gainesville, Florida, at the Paramount Plaza Hotel & Suites on Thursday, March 13, 2014, preceding the NHRA Amalie Oil Gatornationals. Popular former NHRA Announcer Bob Frey will again serve as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.
The six members of the inductee class for 2014 will include the sport’s most prolific Pro Stock winner and six-time NHRA Pro Stock World Champion, a two-time NHRA Funny Car World Champion, a racer/turned master sheet metal craftsman, a popular top fuel racer and US Nationals champion, a highly popular Funny Car driver and AHRA Funny Car Champion, a passionate benefactor of drag racing, and one of motorsports’ most popular and prolific artists.
The Class of 2014:
John Abbott (Denver, Colorado) -- Abbott was a highly popular top fuel driver from the early 1960s into the 1980s who successfully transitioned the somewhat difficult conversion from the front engine Top Fuel cars to the rear engine cars. The highlight of his career was marked by winning the NHRA’s (National Hot Rod Association) most prestigious event, the U.S. Nationals.
Al Bergler (Shelby Township, Michigan) -- Al Bergler has been a hot rodder at heart throughout his adult life, racing cars and shaping sheet metal to create some of the most memorable appearing race cars in the sport. His Competition Coupe, the beautiful yellow “More Aggravation,” is the only race car to win the Detroit Autorama’s Riddler Award in its 49 year history.
Frank Hawley (Newberry, Florida) -- Hawley, the Canadian Top Fuel and Funny Car star, took the famed Farkonas, Coil & Minik “Chi-Town Hustler” fuel Funny Car team to back-to-back NHRA Funny Car World Championships in 1982 and 1983. Hawley was later tabbed by Jerry and Darryl Gywnn to replace Darryl in the cockpit after his accident in the family’s Top Fuel car. He currently operates the Frank Hawley School of Drag Racing which has trained thousands of racers.
Tom Hoover (Maple Grove, Minnesota) -- Tom Hoover and the “Showtime” Funny Cars were highly popular with fans. Tom was the driver element of the Hoover family racing operation, with his father George (“Pa”) doing the tuning, and Ruth (“Ma”) always present to do what needed to be done. Across a 30-plus year career, Tom (and his parents) captured five NHRA Funny Car wins, and the AHRA (American Hot Rod Association) World Championship in 1976.
Warren Johnson (Buford, Georgia) -- Warren Johnson acquired the nickname of “The Professor” over his career in the NHRA and IHRA Pro Stock class. A dogged, determined and crafty practioner of the art of engine building, chassis and clutch tuning, Johnson’s 97 Pro Stock wins and six NHRA World Championships, and two IHRA (International Hot Rod Association) Mountain Motor World Championships made him the most successful Pro Stock racer in the sport’s history.
Forrest Lucas (Corona, California) - Lucas, through his Lucas Oil Products company, has become one of motorsports’ greatest modern day supporters. He has utilized motorsports marketing, and particularly drag racing, to build brand awareness of his company’s extensive line of lubricants. He is at the drag strip as frequently as his busy schedule allows, supporting his wife Charlotte’s Super Comp class dragster and son Morgan’s two car Top Fuel team.
Sponsors for the 2014 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony dinner are: Presenting sponsor -- Lucas Oil Products, Inc. (Corona, Calif.), Summit Racing Products (Tallmadge, Oh.) -- Commemorative Rings, Commercial Power Cleaners (Jerry & Pat Baltes, Richmond, Va.) -- Commemorative trophies, Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC service, parts and customer-care group (Auburn Hills, Mich.) sponsoring the Commemorative dinner glasses. Additional sponsor opportunities remain available.
A cocktail reception starts at 6:00 p.m., with dinner served at 7:00 p.m. (Eastern). The event will be filmed for later broadcast by Masters Entertainment of Bristol, Tennessee.
The honorees are selected by a committee of veteran drag racing and performance industry figures. The selection committee consists of: Steve Gibbs (Retired Vice President, NHRA), Harry Hibler (President, UNI-Marketing, LLC), Ted Jones (Masters Entertainment, Retired President, IHRA) and Greg Sharp (Curator, NHRA Motorsports Museum).
Corporate table sponsorship programs are available. A table sponsorship costs $1000, which includes seating for ten with logo on the table, a banquet program listing, and inclusion in 2015 promotional brochures, a pair of free passes to the Don Garlits Drag Racing Museum plus logo placement on the banquet DVD credits. Table sponsors will receive a DVD of the evening’s event, and additionally, each sponsor will be recognized from the stage during for the televised portion of the event. Individual seating tickets will be available at $100 each.
The presenters will be named in the future.