History will record that on
July 25, 1990 twenty of the legends of the global motorsports
community were enshrined in a ceremony befitting their
accomplishments. In a formal affair hosted by the International
Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum, they, their families and the
world will have learned the true meaning of the Hall's creation.
The following day, July 26, the inductees joined officials and
dignitaries from the motorsports community in cutting the ribbon on
a new 15,000-square-foot-UNOCAL 76 building designed to highlight
their place in history. This will be held on the site of the IMHOF
adjacent to Talladega Superspeedway at Lincoln, Alabama.
those on hand and for all who have and will visit in days and years
to come, the events and the physical plant serve to remind that
those who dream and who pursue with diligence can ascend to
The induction of the first class in the International
Motorsports Hall of Fame and the ribbon cutting for the building
which became its home represent the fruits of a seed idea which was
planted more than 25 years ago.
To fully appreciate the events,
one must be familiar with the people who planted that seed and who
nurtured its growth.
In the late 1960's, the man who had the
vision for the IMHOF and museum had just finished construction of an
earlier dream in an area known as "Dry Valley" near Talladega,
Alabama. Originally named Alabama International Motor Speedway, it
was the realization of NASCAR founder William H.G. "Bill" France
Sr.'s desire to build the fastest, and largest, superspeedway in the
In early 1970, France had hired a successful short track
racing promoter by the name of Don Naman to manage the facility. In
his first conversations with his new manager, France shared the
dream we now know as the IMHOF. As Naman recalls, France talked of
the need for a "museum and hall of fame to preserve the history of
motorsports and honor those who had contributed to its growth."
As France shared his dream for such a facility, a number of local
and state elected officials and civic leaders in Alabama and around
the nation lent support to the idea. Talladega, Alabama businessmen
Billy McGehee, Travis McCaig and the late Mrs. Jean Brandli of Pell
City, were chief among those early supporters.
In 1975, the first
major step was realized when then-Governor George C. Wallace
appointed an 18-member commission to oversee the effort to create
the IMHOF museum. Mrs. Brandli served as its first chairman.
During her tenure an unsuccessful attempt was made to secure passage
of a state bond issue to finance construction of the first phase of
the facility. When the issue did not pass, France decided to
underwrite the project himself. Part of that effort was the donation
of 35 acres of land adjacent to what is now Talladega Superspeedway
which served as the site of the project.
As health problems
forced Brandli to reduce her level of involvement, State Senator
Gerald Dial assumed the helm of the commission. Through continued
diligence and support of many prominent business and civic leaders,
they were able to bring about creation of the museum building.
March 27, 1981
ceremonies for the first phase of the facility were held on the site
on March 27, 1981. Serving as members of the Commission at that
time, in addition to Mrs. Brandli, Dial, Mr. McCaig and McGehee,
were Messers Mark Bowen, Benny J. Camp, Ralph Collins, Hank Fannin,
Sunny King, Winston Legge, William Moss, Fred Sington, Phil Smith,
Bobby Davis, Charles Osborne, Tom Wright, Governor Wallace; Dr's
Kenneth L. Harris and James L. Hardwick; Lincoln Mayor Lew Watson
and Judges Walker Hobbie and Kyser Leonard. Mr Andy Allred served as
first Executive Director.
In the Spring of 1983, ribbon cutting
for the $2 million facility was held. The first phase included
opening of the rotunda; welcoming area and gift shop; museum
offices; offices for the International Speedway Corporation; ticket
office; and the first two exhibit halls. They were promptly named
the "Daytona Room," for racing memorabilia centering around racing
on the beach in Daytona, Florida; and the International Room, which
contained a large and varied collection of racing memorabilia.
Since its opening, donations and support have come from throughout
the motorsports community and the automobile industry. Presently the
museum houses some 100 exhibits valued at more than $6 million.
"Nothing (insofar as exhibits)," according to Naman, "has ever been
purchased." If you have something you'd like to discuss donating to
the Hall of Fame, please
In addition to the
International Motorsports Hall of Fame, the facility also houses
other Halls of Fame. These include the Automobile Racing Club of
America (ARCA) Hall of Fame; the Western Auto Mechanics Hall of
Fame; the Quarter Midgets of America Hall of Fame; the World Karting
Hall of Fame; and the Alabama Sports-writers Hall of Fame.
all, the museum has something for everyone. Located just off
Interstate 20, south of Talladega, it is open daily from 9-5 p.m.
Now thanks to the vision of a few and the efforts of many, the IMHOF
realizes its true mission, the enshrinement of the greats of
TOP 10 Race Car Drivers of the 20th Century
International Motorsports Hall of Fame Inductees
Drivers Official Sites
His name is synonymous with the Indianapolis 500. He won
four times at Indy. But A.J. Foyt did much more than that
to be named RPM 2Night's No. 1 driver of the 20th Century.
The best Winston Cup ever saw, Richard Petty ranks No.2
with RPM 2Night. No. 1 must be pretty special. Petty won
200 races and seven championships in his career.
He won Daytona, Indy and a world championship in F1. Mario
Andretti won all around the world and wound up No. 3 on
RPM 2Night's list of 20th Century drivers.
Dale Earnhardt won seven Winston Cup titles and the '98
Daytona 500. RPM 2Night puts the Intimidator at No. 4 among
drivers of the 20th Century.
He's second only to Richard Petty in career wins with 105.
David Pearson also won three Winston Cup championships.
RPM 2Night ranks him fifth among drivers of the 20th Century.
It didn't matter where Dan Gurney raced, he seemed to win.
It's this versatility that makes him RPM 2Night's choice
at No. 6 in its list of 20th Century racers.
His fourth Indianapolis 500 victory came in 1991, but it
was what Rick Mears accomplished along the way that ranks
him No. 7 on RPM 2Night's list of 20th Century drivers.
Al Unser Sr.
His record fourth victory at Indianapolis in 1987 was both
shocking and emotional. But it served as a crowning achievement
for RPM 2Night's eighth ranked driver of the 20th Century
Three-time Winston Cup champion Cale Yarborough comes in
at No. 9 in RPM 2Night's list of the 20th Century's greatest
He won all but one Funny Car title in the 90's and is among
the most recognized faces in NHRA. John Force comes in 10th
on RPM 2Night's list of the greatest racers of the 20th
|CUP DRIVERS OFFICIAL WEB SITES
Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins
Robert "Red" Byron
Everett "Cotton" Owens
Bill France Jr
A J Watson
Al Unser Sr
Dr Ferdinand Porsche
Bill France Sr
Juan Manuel Fangio
Glenn Fireball Roberts