Rollie Beale, Gus Hoffman, Jud Larson and Eddie Sachs emerged the winners in USAC’s recent social media poll to complete the 2014 list of inductees into the USAC Hall of Fame.
The four inductees received the most votes from a select list of 16 candidates and will join eight previously announced inductees in the ceremony, which accompanies USAC’s May 17 “Hall of Fame Classic” Silver Crown Championship race at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Ind.
Previously announced inductees are George Bignotti, Don Branson, Larry Dickson, Norm Nelson, Don Smith, Bob Stroud, Rodger Ward and Bob Wente.
Beale won USAC’s prestigious national sprint car championship in 1973 and scored 32 victories during his illustrious career. One of the most respected drivers in USAC history, Beale retired in 1977 and joined the USAC officiating crew, eventually becoming chief steward for both the Silver Crown and national sprint car series for many years.
He passed away at the age of 84 this February.
Hoffman was the patriarch of the famed Hoffman Auto Racing/Dynamics, Inc. family from Ohio who have amassed an all-time USAC sprint car record 83 national wins, dating back to Jim Hemmings’ victory at the Salem (Ind.) Speedway in 1961. They own nine USAC national sprint titles, coming in 1989-1992-1993-1996-1997-1999-2002-2004 and 2008. Fondly referred to as “old timer,” Gus’ USAC victories actually started in 1957 when Don Branson won a Midwest race at New Bremen, Ohio.
Larson excelled in both national championship cars and sprint cars before meeting an untimely end in a 1966 sprint car accident at Reading, Pa. He claimed 15 USAC sprint car victories and added seven wins in the Championship cars. In 1964 he finished second to Don Branson in the 1964 USAC national sprint car standings.
Sachs was revered by participants and fans alike. Prior to perishing in a crash during the 1964 Indianapolis 500, Sachs excelled on the high-banked ovals in the sprint cars, winning 10 races in the 1950s, including the 100-lap 1957 “Joe James/Pat O’Connor Classic” at Salem, Ind.
In championship cars he posted wins at Atlanta, Ga., in 1956, Langhorne, Pa., and the Hoosier Hundred at Indianapolis, Ind., in 1957, Syracuse, N.Y., in 1959 and four races at Trenton, N.J., in 1959, 1960 and 1961.
Very versatile, he also won a couple of 200-mile USAC Stock Cars races at the famed Milwaukee Mile in 1961. He nearly won the 1961 Indianapolis 500, finishing second to A.J. Foyt. He also won four USAC Midget races.