General News
Thursday, 16 June 2016





The initial eight 2016 inductees into the USAC Hall of Fame have been announced and four more, selected by popular vote from a list of 16 eligibles distributed through social mediums, will be announced June 20.

The fifth annual USAC Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will be held July 21 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Ind. in conjunction with the “Rich Vogler Classic” USAC Silver Crown race.

The eight-member class of inductees announced today includes five drivers, two officials and a car owner-chief mechanic. They are (alphabetically) Russ Clendenen, Jimmy Davies, Bob Higman, Tommy Hinnershitz, Dick King, Pat O’Connor, Tony Stewart and Bob Tattersall.

Online voting for the final four 2016 inductees into the USAC Hall of Fame will be available on the USAC website Monday (June 20) at

Clendenen, of Dayton, Ohio, probably supervised more USAC racing events than anyone in history, spanning several series, primarily including the National Championship Series and the National Sprint Cars. Involved in Midwestern oval-track racing for more than five decades, he started as a mechanic for driver Everett Saylor, the 1937 Central States Racing Association champion. After the war, he turned to officialdom and was an assistant to AAA Midwestern Supervisor Bob Martindale. In 1958, he succeeded Martindale and, after his retirement as a full-time official, he was honored in 1982 with the prestigious Eddie Edenburn Award for his lifelong contributions to the sport. He passed away in 2002 at the age of 94.

Davies, of Gardena, Calif., was  three-time USAC National Midget Champion, taking consecutive titles in 1960, 1961 and 1962. His 48 career Midget victories still rank sixth on USAC’s all-time National Midget win list. A winner at age 20 in the ill-fated 1949 Del Mar, Calif. AAA 100-miler which claimed the life of Rex Mays, Davies would eventually compete in five Indianapolis 500s, recording his best finish of third in 1955. He also won USAC’s Pacific Coast Midget title in 1960 and scored three victories in the prestigious “Night Before the 500” classic. Proficient in his appearances “down under,” Davies won the 1963 Australian Speedcar Grand Prix and the 1963 and 1964 South Australian Speedcar titles. He lost his life in a 1966 Midget race at Santa Fe Park Speedway in Hinsdale, Ill. and in 1984 was inducted into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame.

Higman, of Lafayette, Ind., was instrumental in the growth of USAC’s National Midget Series in so many ways, from providing top-flight cars for the top drivers to his insightful assistance into rules making as part of USAC’s Advisory Board of Directors. His list of major drivers ran the gamut of America’s greatest talent and he was directly responsible for USAC Midget Championships for drivers Bob Wente (1963), Mike McGreevy (1966) and Larry Rice (1973). The only man to build a successful turbo-charged Offy Midget engine, he served as the crew chief for Indianapolis 500 driver Jigger Sirois who nearly stole the pole starting position in 1969. Bob’s enormous contributions resulted in his induction into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1995. He was also awarded USAC’s “Jim Blunk Award” for contributions to Midget racing in 1973 and the prestigious Eddie Edenburn Award in 1988. Bob passed away January 13, 2010.

Hinnershitz, of Oley, Pa., was one of Eastern America’s all-time motorsports heroes, claiming USAC Eastern Sprint Car crowns in 1956 and 1959 after winning AAA Eastern titles in 1949-1950-1951-1952 and 1955. He grabbed 11 victories in USAC Sprint racing and competed in a trio of Indianapolis 500s in the 1940s, scoring a ninth-place in 1948 and a 10th in 1941. Inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1990, he also was honored by the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1975. Hinnershitz died on August 1, 1999.

King, of Niagara Falls, N.Y., joined USAC as an official in 1966 and as its Safety Director for the Championship Series in 1967. Three years later, he became the chief steward for the Championship Series and in 1972 became Assistant to the USAC Executive Director and Competition Director. He served as USAC’s President and Chief Executive Officer from 1976 to 1997 and also held the title of Chairman of the Board between 1979 and 1981. In 1984, he also took on the additional responsibilities of President of USAC Properties, Inc. King directed USAC through its most turbulent times, after the 1978 plane crash in Indiana which claimed the lives of eight key officials. In 1997, he was awarded USAC’s most prestigious honor, the Roger McCluskey Award of Excellence. He passed away in 2004 at the age of 73.

O’Connor, of North Vernon, Ind., earned the respect of everyone with is demeanor on and off the race track and in 1958 graced the cover of Sports Illustrated in a build-up to that year’s Indianapolis 500. He unfortunately perished in a first-lap crash in that year’s race, but his career in the sport is legendary. Despite his somewhat brief career (10 years), he captured USAC’s inaugural Midwest Sprint Car championship in 1956 and earlier had won 1953 and 1954 Midwest titles under AAA sanction. He scored eight wins in USAC’s Sprint car campaign and was generally regarded as one of the “Kings of the Hills,” extremely proficient at the high-banked Salem and Winchester, Ind. and Dayton, Ohio ovals. In 1956, he scored a popular victory in the “Pee Dee 200” National Championship race at the Darlington, S.C. Raceway. In 1957, he led the American contingent as they tested at the spectacular Monza, Italy Autodrome, then competed in the famed “Race of Two Worlds.” His best Indianapolis 500 finishes in five starts were eighth-places in 1955 and 1957. In 1995 he was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.

Stewart, of Columbus, Ind., became the first driver ever to claim all three of USAC’s National championships in a single season (in 1995) and is one of only six USAC “Triple Crown Champions.” He won the 1994 USAC National Midget title, then added the Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown honors the next season. Proficient in virtually every form of motorsports, he has earned three NASCAR Cup championships (2002, 2005 and 2011) and a 1997 Indy Racing League title. He has 27 USAC National Midget wins to his credit, as well as 10 wins in the Sprint cars and three in the Silver Crown series. A member of the National Midget Hall of Fame (2001), his list of impressive motorsports awards and accolades continues to grow. In five Indianapolis 500 appearances, he started first in 1996, finished fifth from the front row in 1997, was ninth in 1999 and sixth in 2001. His charitable contributions through his Tony Stewart Foundation are endless. In addition to his USAC driving titles, he also has seven Sprint Car Owner championships as well as seven in the Silver Crown Series as an owner.

Tattersall, of Streator, Ill., continues to rank fourth on USAC’s all-time Midget winners list with 63 total victories. In 1969 he claimed the USAC National Midget Championship. As an ambassador for America, he travelled to New Zealand and Australia, winning over 50% of his races during a 13-year stretch! In 1966, he passed a Rookie Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway but was unable to secure a starting spot in the 500. Starting in stock cars, he switched to Midgets in 1950 and earned a pair of UARA Midget crowns. He debuted in USAC in 1960 and, in the ensuing 11 years, he never finished worse than eighth in the standings. In 1971, he passed away after a bout with cancer. In 1984, he was inducted into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame.