Recently on the Sportsman Racing Podcast with Luke and Jed, they discussed and listed their picks for a first induction class for a hypothetical Sportsman Drag Racing hall of fame. What a great idea. Sportsman racers are the back bone of drag racing and some of the most unsung heroes of our sport. For every John Force or Steve Torrence, there are a couple hundred sportsman racers slogging it out week after week around the world. Very very few people start off in the whiz-bang world of the Pros. At one point or another, we all make our first passes down our local track, running whatever we could afford.
So, let’s get started.
I have to go with George Howard, how can I not? At a time when if you knew drag racing you almost certainly knew the NHRA Pros. But if you had a toe in racing at all everyone heard of the “Million Dollar Bracket Race” and for that alone, putting Bracket racing on a bigger map, not even counting his other achievements he has to be my pick.
Dale Wilson/Bracket Racing USA This man and the magazine he created were a staple to back yard racers. columns by Dale himself, the chassis guru Dave Morgan and Frank Hawley to name a few was a godsend to the guy with an open trailer and a car. The knowledge we gained from Dale and his magazine is priceless.
Member of Automotive Aftermarket Industry
Jeg Couglin Sr. THE catalog. What do you need? Tires. intake. delay box? Jegs had and has it all. In the days before the internet and social media, Jegs was there and is still here today for whatever you need. And he’s not just here to sell you parts. A stout supporter of the Sportsman classes by sponsoring events and drivers.
“Legend” a name from the past that has either passed or is no longer in active competition.
Ronnie Davis. 5-time IHRA world champ who had more than 25 years behind the wheel, and a vocal supporter of fast bracket racing. It’s in a large part due to Ronnie’s lobbying that Top Sportsman got its start in the NHRA and spread to the rest of the country.
4 racers (past or present)
It’s easy to say guys like David Rampy and Dan Fletcher belong in, and they do. It should almost be named “The Dan Fletcher Sportsman Racing Hall of Fame presented by David Rampy” But I digress, the truth is these two guys aren’t done yet. Dan is on track to become the second winningest driver in the NHRA ever and David will certainly get over 100 wins this season. So I say let’s wait on putting them in, let’s see where they wind up in the annals of racing history and when they do get put in, let’s be able to fully recognise their achievements.
Sheldon Gecker One of the first to run with some substantial sponsorship, Who can forget his Fel-Pro King Kong cars.
Mike Federer Consistent winner spanning decades. Top notch equipment just a class act all around.
Ted Seipel Early Pioneer in Super Gas. West Coast legend in that Austin Healy.
Larry Morgan We forget that before Pro Stock Larry was a sportsman stand out in Competition Eliminator and Super Stock. He had an impressive career before he even got to Pro Stock.
There you have it. As to where to locate a possible Hall of Fame/Museum? I have to say Indy. Pretty centrally located and a mecca for any racing fan. As a proxy home of the NHRA away from California, it’s the perfect place to show the sportsman racers the support they deserve.
I’ve said it before. If you only go to the local National events during the year, then you’re missing out on some amazing racing on the Regional and Divisional level as well as the Bracket program the local track runs. Do yourselves a favor and get out and support your local tracks..
You can hear the full episode here
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