Five persons who have made a lasting contribution to the Sports Car Club of America were officially inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame Saturday night as the 2016 SCCA National Convention came to a close at South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Additionally, winners were named for the Solo Driver of the Year, Club Racing President's Cup, Member of Excellence Award, Woolf Barnato Award, John McGill Award, and the RallyCross Dirty Cup.
This year's superstar Hall of Fame inductees are Roger Penske, Randy Pobst, Bob Henderson, Hubert Brundage and Alec Ulmann. Along with the accomplishments of the 62 previous inductees, this current slate of Hall of Fame members positioned the building blocks that have raised SCCA's importance in the world of motorsports for more than 70 years.
Lisa Noble, SCCA President and CEO, opened the ceremony by noting how special the Hall of Fame is to the Club. It's an event that should make people proud to be SCCA members.
"This evening is meaningful for us," she said. "We get to celebrate our legacy and our future with these great awards we are presenting this evening."
Before becoming one of the most successful businessmen and team owners anywhere in motorsports, Roger Penske started his racing career as a driver. Between 1960 and 1965, Penske claimed three National Championships – before the Runoffs era – and three President's Cup awards. After leaving the driver's seat, Penske's focus rested on his business interests and his startup racing team. The team consisting of Penske and fellow SCCA Hall of Famer Mark Donohue went on to win in SCCA Trans-Am and Can-Am, and the Indianapolis 500. The team has captured championships in IndyCars and sports cars, stood in victory lane at the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500, and won in Formula One.
"It's interesting," Penske said. "When I think about my racing career and I think about my business career, the SCCA was right in the middle of it. It really made the difference."
Randy Pobst is often admired as the ultimate example of what is possible within SCCA. Starting as an autocrosser during his college days, Pobst honed his skills and in the 1980s and took home six Tire Rack Solo National Championship titles. He then moved to SCCA Club Racing where he claimed two SCCA Runoffs titles. Since moving to the professional ranks, Pobst has scored four SCCA Pro Racing-sanctioned Pirelli World Challenge championships and won more than 90 races. Still an active driver, he has spent the last few years developing into a respected automotive journalist. His behind-the-wheel feel, and ability to communicate those sensations, speak to both the auto enthusiast and novice.
"I'm really thankful to the Sports Car Club of America," Pobst said. "You've been so instrumental in making it possible for me to even have a career in racing."
Bob Henderson is a longtime racing driver, Steward and Club leader. His most significant contribution came in 1972 with the creation of the Showroom Stock category of Club Racing classes. The class, and its derivations running today, became the starting place for many, many competitors over the years.
"For over 53 years now, SCCA has been my home away from home," Henderson said. "It's my extended family, if you will, and I've enjoyed most every minute."
Famous for the Brumos Racing brand, Hubert Brundage is perhaps best known for creating Club Racing's Formula Vee class. After a 12th-place finish in a 1952 endurance race at Sebring International Raceway, Brundage envisioned a single-seat, open-wheeled racecar utilizing a standard VW engine, transmission, brakes, wheels and suspension that would allow a low-cost entry into the world of formula car racing. By 1964, the Formula Vee class was recognized by the SCCA and a year later there were more than 1,500 cars in competition around the world.
Alec Ulmann, a Russian immigrant whose family fled the Bolshevik revolution, joined the SCCA in 1944 only months after the Club was formed. He went on to win the SCCA's first road race in 1947 and was the first chairman of the SCCA Activities Board. Ulmann also won the first Tom McKean award and served as Chief Steward for initial events at Watkins Glen, Bridgehampton, Floyd Bennett and Westhampton. Ulmann was also responsible for bringing endurance sports car racing to Sebring, Florida, the first post-World War Two international race in the United States.
Some current SCCA members were also honored for their 2015 achievements and contributions during the SCCA Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet Presented by Mazda.
The Club Racing Presidents' Cup went to Johnathan Goring. He captured the Spec Miata National Championship under the lights at Daytona amidst rapidly changing track conditions. Goring ran the race on Hoosier slicks, taking advantage of the drying track to come from seemingly nowhere to take the lead on the final lap and win by 1.794-second in the No. 118 Alfas Unlimited/Dixon/Rossini Mazda Miata.
"I just want to give a big thank you, obviously, to the SCCA," Goring said after Roger Penske presented him the award. "This is just such a big honor."
Carol Kolk was named 2015 Solo Driver of the Year. She won her first National Championship in 2007, and earned another National Championship this year by 0.591-second in E Street Prepared Ladies.
"This is overwhelming and amazing and I just can't believe it," Kolk said.
The Member of Excellence Award was presented to Paula Hawthorne. This award is given to an SCCA member who provided a great contribution to the Club during the previous 12 months.
The Woolf Barnato Award went to Jerry Wannarka. This is the SCCA's highest award and is presented to a member who has made an outstanding, long-term contribution to the Club.
The John McGill Award was earned in by Terry Ozment. This honor is presented for significant contribution to the Club Racing Program. The winner is chosen by the Club Racing Board and the Vice President of Club Racing.
And finally, the RallyCross Dirty Cup was awarded to Bob Ricker. This accolade is presented by the RallyCross Board in recognition of an individual's extraordinary contribution to the sport of SCCA RallyCross over time.
For more information, visit www.SCCA.com.