Les Richter Again Nominated for NASCAR Hall of Fame
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (April 10, 2013) -- Les “Coach” Richter, who was instrumental in the development of Auto Club Speedway, from the demolition of the historic Kaiser Steel Mill, to its transformation into a first-class racing facility, has been nominated again as one of 25 nominees for the 2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame’s induction class, the NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominating Committee announced today. Richter, who passed away in 2010, was also a nominee for the 2012 and 2013 classes.
Five inductees will be elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on NASCAR.COM. Voting Day for the 2014 class will be May 22. Fans can attend the announcement at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C.
Richter, a native of Fresno, Calif., was an All-American linebacker and guard at the University of California Berkeley and played for the Los Angeles Rams from 1954 to 1962 after being acquired from the Dallas Texans for 11 players. The defensive star was picked for the Pro Bowl eight times and was an Associated Press first team All-Pro in 1956.
“Coach” joined the NASCAR family in 1983 after a successful second career as president and general manager of Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway. Richter soon evolved into one of the most important advisors to then-NASCAR Chairman/CEO Bill France Jr. as NASCAR’s popularity expanded. Richter was named NASCAR's Ex. VP of Competition in 1986 and the Sr. VP of Operations in 1992.
Richter previously was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame as well as the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Richter also served as vice-president of special projects for International Speedway Corporation, the parent company of Auto Club Speedway. The current trophy for the Auto Club 400 is named the “Richter Trophy” as a lasting tribute to his contributions to Auto Club Speedway and the world of motorsports.
This round of nominees was selected by a 21-person Nominating Committee consisting of representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and track owners from both major facilities and historic short tracks. The committee’s votes were tabulated by accounting firm Ernst & Young.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame’s 2014 inductees will be determined by a 54-member Voting Panel, which includes the entire Nominating Committee, media members, manufacturer representatives, retired competitors (drivers, owners and crew chiefs) and recognized industry leaders. In addition, the fan vote will result in the Voting Panel’s final ballot. Fan voting on NASCAR.COM opens today, April 10 and closes May 21 at noon.
In addition to Richter, following are the other 25 nominees, listed alphabetically:
• Red Byron, first NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion, in 1949
• Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series
• Jerry Cook, six-time NASCAR Modified champion
• H. Clay Earles, founder of Martinsville Speedway
• Tim Flock, two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
• Ray Fox, legendary engine builder, owner of cars driven by Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and others.
• Anne Bledsoe France, helped build the sport with husband Bill France Sr. Affectionately known as "Annie B.," she is the first woman to be nominated for induction.
• Rick Hendrick, 13-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series
• Jack Ingram, two-time NASCAR Busch (now Nationwide) Series champion and three-time Late Model Sportsman champion
• Bobby Isaac, 1970 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
• Dale Jarrett, 1999 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion and three-time Daytona 500 winner
• Fred Lorenzen, 26 wins and winner of the Daytona 500 and World 600
• Raymond Parks, NASCAR’s first champion car owner
• Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
• Maurice Petty, chief engine builder for Petty Enterprises
• Larry Phillips, only five-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion
• Fireball Roberts, 33 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series wins, including the 1962 Daytona 500
• T. Wayne Robertson, helped raise NASCAR popularity as R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company senior VP
• Wendell Scott, NASCAR trailblazer was the first African-American NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series race winner, and first to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
• Ralph Seagraves, formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
• O. Bruton Smith, builder of Charlotte Motor Speedway, architect of Speedway Motorsports Inc.
• Curtis Turner, early personality, called the "Babe Ruth of stock car racing"
• Joe Weatherly, two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
• Rex White, 1960 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
Detailed information about the 25 nominees is available at NASCAR.COM (www.nascar.com/halloffame).
About Auto Club Speedway: Located 50 miles east of Los Angeles in Fontana, California, Auto Club Speedway is California’s premier motorsports facility, hosting over 320 days of track activity each year including the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 weekend in March and the MAVTV 500 INDYCAR World Championships Finale weekend in October. The two-mile D-shaped oval is one of the fastest tracks on the INDYCAR and NASCAR circuits. The Speedway is also home to numerous movies, television and commercial productions, photo shoots, new car testing, club racing and a variety of racing schools. For more information on events at Auto Club Speedway call 1-800-944-RACE (7223) or visit www.autoclubspeedway.com . For more information on event lodging, visit the Hilton Garden Inn, Fontana, the official hotel partner of Auto Club Speedway.