The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America will induct its 26th class of racing legends Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 at Detroit’s historic Fillmore Theater.
Those being honored include Ole Bardahl, Raymond Beadle, John Bishop, Ricky Graham, Arie Luyendyk, Marshall Teague and Rusty Wallace.
“Once again, the depth and breadth of American motorsports is reflected in the 2014 class of inductees,” says Ron Watson, president of the Motorsports Hall of Fame.
The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is racing’s Cooperstown, memorializing achievement in all forms of motorized competition. Over the years, 209 motorsports luminaries have been inducted. The 99-person nominating panel itself reads like a who’s who of racing, including names like Mario Andretti, Don Garlits, Craig Breedlove and Richard Petty.
Ole Bardahl (1902-89) – As founder of the Bardahl Oil Company, Bardahl was convinced success in motorsports would be a great selling point. By the mid-’50s, his additives were No. 1 in the world with distributorships across the globe. Bardahl sponsored IndyCars for over 25 years, his “Miss Bardahl” powerboats won 6 national championships and 5 Gold Cups, and the “Miss Bardahl II” P-51 Mustang won the 1968 Reno Air-Races Transcontinental National Championship.
Raymond Beadle (1943-) – “Blue Max,” one of the most famous names in drag racing, is synonymous with Raymond Beadle. During the 1970s, Beadle and his Blue Max Funny Car were nearly as popular as “Jungle Jim” Liberman and as proficient as Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, his key rivals. Beadle’s Blue Max Funny Cars won three consecutive NHRA (1979-1981) championships and three IHRA championships (1975-76 & 1981). As a NASCAR owner (1983-1990) his team won the 1989 Cup title with Rusty Wallace behind the wheel.
John Bishop (1926-) – Bishop was a visionary for organized sports car racing in the United States. He helped create the United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC) for Group 7 sports cars and was instrumental in founding the SCCA Trans-Am and SCCA/CASC Can-Am series. And that was just for starters. In 1969, Bishop played a key role in founding the International Motorsports Ass’n. IMSA’s GT series introduced international endurance racing to North America in 1971. In 1973, IMSA sanctioned the 12 Hours of Sebring for the first time. Bishop’s encouragement of “special prototypes” led to the creation of the highly successful GTP class of racing.
Ricky Graham (1958-98) – An AMA Grand National Champion three times (1982, 1984 & 1993), Graham is considered by many to be one of the most talented dirt-track racers ever. He posted 39 career Grand National victories, seven Sportster Performance national wins and was 1993 AMA Athlete of the Year. That year, he won a record 12 races, including six straight to establish the longest winning streak in AMA Grand National history. A fifth-place in the Del Mar Mile in 1997 proved to be his final race. Graham’s life was cut short by a tragic house fire in early 1998.
Arie Luyendyk (1953-) – The two-time Indy 500 winner started his career in the early ’70s, winning Dutch national titles. He won the U.S. Formula Super Vee championship in 1984 and was Indy 500 and IndyCar Rookie of the Year the following season. His success at The Brickyard included wins in 1990 and ’97, poles in ’93, ’97 and ’99, and retiring from the lead on three occasions. In 1996, he set the Indy qualifying lap record at 237.498 mph. A three-time participant in the International Race of Champions, Luyendyk also won the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Marshall Teague (1921-59) – A gifted driver and mechanic, Teague is credited with pioneering factory participation in NASCAR when he persuaded the Hudson Motor Car Company to back him. In 1951-52, Teague piloted a “Fabulous Hudson Hornet.” He won seven NASCAR races in total before moving to the AAA stock car circuit, where he won the 1952 and ’54 titles. Teague also prepared winning mounts for fellow drivers Herb Thomas and Dick Rathmann. His best Indy 500 finish was 7th (1957). Teague died in a reconfigured IndyCar two years later while attempting a closed-course speed record at the newly opened Daytona Int’l Speedway.
Rusty Wallace (1956-) – Prior to becoming a NASCAR superstar, the Missouri native made a name for himself winning 200 short-track races. Wallace was USAC’s stock car Rookie of the Year in 1979 and ASA champ in 1983. He finished second in his first NASCAR start and became 1984 Rookie of the Year after joining the series full time. In 1989, Wallace scored six wins and the Cup title with Raymond Beadle’s Blue Max team. He notched a career-high 10 wins and was runner-up to Dale Earnhardt in the title race with Penske Racing in 1993. Wallace’s 55 career wins rank 9th all-time. Since his retirement, Wallace has provided commentary for NASCAR events on ABC and ESPN.
Tickets for the induction ceremony can be purchased by calling 248-349-7223 or through the Hall of Fame’s website www.mshf.com.