The North Carolina Motorsports Association will honor legendary racing promoter H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler with its Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award at the seventh annual North Carolina Motorsports Industry Awards Ceremony presented by Fifth Third Bank. The ceremony will take place Jan. 28 at the Embassy Suites Concord.
The NCMA Motorsports Industry Awards Ceremony presented by Fifth Third Bank pays tribute to North Carolina’s $6 billion motorsports industry. Each year, the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award recognizes a person whose contributions to racing have made an immeasurable impact on motorsports in North Carolina. Previous recipients were Benny Parsons, Richard Petty, Richard Childress, Dale Earnhardt, Junior Johnson and O. Bruton Smith.
The Media Recognition Award honors a member of the motorsports media whose impact has advanced the sport of auto racing, specifically in the state of North Carolina. Previous recipients are the Dean of American Motorsports, Chris Economaki and longtime Charlotte Observer motorsports reporter David Poole.
Sometimes referred to as “the voice of NASCAR”, Barney Hall has been announcing races for more than five decades. He started his motorsports career as a public address announcer at Bristol Motor Speedway in 1960. He was already working in radio at the time. The move to covering motorsports led to MRN Radio. Hall is one of the network’s original announcers, and still co-anchors coverage of MRN’s NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series broadcasts. He was inducted into the National Motorsports Hall of Fame and received the prestigious Bill France Award.
In addition, NCMA presents industry awards to various North Carolina entities that have positively affected the motorsports community within the state. The 2013 recipients are listed below.
North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s BioMoto STEM Challenge
The North Carolina Biotechnology Center, in conjunction with dozens of industry partners including the North Carolina Motorsports Association, created the BioMoto STEM Challenge which leverages North Carolina’s Biotechnology and Motorsports assets to maximize STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) for 8th Grade students across North Carolina. The program capitalizes on the allure of motorsports to entice students to learn about STEM disciplines while focusing on fun, challenging and innovative activities focused on health, nutrition and human performance. The program is in its second year. The first year was a rousing success with hundreds of students converging on Rockingham Dragway in March to test their new found skills.
Performance PR Plus
Representing the longest running active driver/owner/sponsor combination, Performance PR Plus reached a milestone in November when it celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Jeff Gordon, DuPont and Hendrick Motorsports program. Performance PR Plus is one of the largest entertainers in motorsports, and thought its innovative hospitality program, it is the first company outside of DuPont Corporation to win the highly prestigious “DuPont Marketing Excellence” award for its efforts as part of the Gordon-DuPont relationship. In 2012, the firm developed and executed the “DuPont 20 Years” campaign which celebrated the relationship. It has also diversified its business and started The Charlotte Destination Group, a full-service meeting, event and destination management agency. The Destination group was awarded two contracts for the Democratic National Convention.
Bowman Gray Stadium
Bowman Gray Stadium is simply North Carolina and motorsports history personified. The longest running NASCAR weekly racing track, the famed quarter-mile opened in 1949. It was the first NASCAR weekly racing track, started by Bill France Sr. and Alvin Hawkins. Richard Petty won his 100th race at the track and a young Richard Childress fell in love with racing while selling peanuts in the grandstands. And today, Bowman Gray Stadium is as successful as ever. Filling the grandstands to capacity every weekend during the summer, the track is still producing quality short-track racing. Learn more about Bowman Gray and its history here.
Roush Yates Performance Products
Opened in 2008, Roush Yates Performance Products was created to re-purpose and recycle used racing parts from NASCAR top Ford teams. The main goal of Roush Yates Performance Products is to offer a way for the grassroots racer to purchase a wide variety of new and used race parts bringing NASCAR Sprint Cup technology to the Saturday night local race track. RYPP offer high quality race proven used engine parts directly from the Roush Yates Engine Cup, Nationwide and Truck engine shop at a fraction of the new price. It is also the exclusive outlet for used chassis parts directly from Roush Fenway Racing that basically covers all parts from ball joints to gauges.
Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority
With an organization-wide vision of Southern hospitality and world-class customer service, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) seeks to ensure that the visitors and events that come to the area have a positive experience. Operating the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the adjoining Charlotte Convention Center, the CRVA did a tremendous job showcasing how important motorsports is to the state of North Carolina during the Democratic National Convention. During the convention, both the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the Convention Center were booked solid with events from morning to late night every day, giving visitors an excellent opportunity to see what Charlotte has to offer.
Hank Thomas Performance
Hank Thomas has been selling performance parts to racers since 1961 when he purchased a parts truck that serviced Bowman Gray Stadium. He began traveling the racing circuit in North Carolina, selling parts as Hank Thomas Motors and Speed Parts. For more than four decades, Hank Thomas also built racecars. He discontinued the fabrication portion of the business in 1996, but has continued the tradition of providing quality performance parts to the racing industry for more than 50 years. Hank Thomas Performance services approximately 3,000 local and area customers, and has expanded nationwide through internet and telephone sales.