LAS VEGAS, Nev. (March 3, 2012) – With 444 Sports Car Club of America members and guests in attendance at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the 2012 SCCA National Convention came to a close on Saturday night with the induction of five legendary members into the club’s Hall of Fame.
The SCCA National Hall of Fame was created in 2004 to preserve, protect and record the history and accomplishments of the Club by acknowledging those members who have made a significant impact on the development of SCCA, be it through service to the national organization, achievements in national competition or brining national recognition to SCCA. The 2012 class consisted of Charlie Earwood, Jim Hall, Gene Henderson, Dr. Peter Talbot and Bryan Webb.
Jim Hall is best known as a leading innovator in race car design and generally credited for being the first to use aerodynamics and ground effects to an advantage on race cars. Hall was also a founding and charter member of the West Texas Region SCCA in the 1950s. After founding Chaparral Cars, he also built Rattlesnake Raceway for testing purposes, and made the track available to the region for SCCA races. Hall was a driver in Formula One, Can-Am, Trans-Am and more during his driving days, and won the Indianapolis 500 as a team owner in 1978 and 1980.
“I’m really proud to be here tonight to accept this honor along with the other recipients and the prior groups,” Hall said. “This is a nice group to belong to and I’m proud of the honor.
“I ended up with a long relationship with the SCCA. I got my 50 year pin several years ago… It’s a really interesting organization because it deals with people who come in for all different reasons and at all different levels, and they do a great job with that. I think that’s its strong point. It was a good organization for me because it helped me get started with what turned out to be a lifetime career.”
Bryan Webb, who passed away in 2004, served as an SCCA member for over 30 years in multiple capacities, leading the Southeast Division as an elected member of the SCCA Board of Directors, serving as Regional Executive in the Florida Region on two different occasions, and participating as a Steward and Club Racing driver. Wendy Webb Nesheim, Bryan’s daughter, accepted the award on behalf of her father.
“You’ve honored Bryan Webb with many awards, but I think this award would have pleased him the most,” Nesheim said, before giving a nod to one of her father’s favorite sayings. “On behalf of my family and in memory of my father, thank you sports fans.”
Charlie Earwood, an SCCA member since 1960, started racing Porsches in E and F Production before turning his attention to where he made his name in the sport – officiating. Earwood is also a former General Manager at Sebring International Raceway, where he was tasked with designing the current course allowing the track and the general aviation airport to run simultaneously, opening Sebring for year-round events. Mr. Earwood was not in attendance, but his awarded was accepted by his son, Terry Earwood.
“Mom and Dad wanted to be here tonight, and definitely wanted to come, but decided a six hour plane ride would be a bit taxing,” Terry Earwood said. “Mom said after about four hours, he’d miss SPEED Channel anyway. They’re watching this back at home, and there are a lot of great people here.”
Dr. Peter Talbot was active for many years as an SCCA Club Racer, but his real contribution to the sport came as the inventor and innovator of the tire wall safety system. Dr. Talbot passed away in 1999, but his daughter, Gussie Talbot Baker, accepted the award on behalf of the family.
Gene Henderson is best known by those in the rally community, having successful careers in both the former SCCA ProRally and the current Road Rally. Henderson began as a road racer, participating in rally events during the winter months. Mark Henderson accepted the award on behalf of his Hall of Fame father, who passed away in 2005.
Several other awards were handed out during the evening’s ceremony. Jeff Jacobs, who was presented with the Solo Cup for outstanding achievements to the Solo Events Program at the Tire Rack Solo National Championships, was honored. Mike Johnson was awarded the Driver of Eminence at the same event, and recognized again on Saturday evening.
The RallyCross Dirty Cup was first presented a year ago and is the top honor a RallyCross individual can achieve, based on an individual’s contribution to the sport. Jerry Doctor, from the Nebraska Region, took the honor this year.
The John McGill Award, given to the person who makes a significant contribution to the Club Racing program, was awarded posthumously in an emotional presentation to Con Peplowski. Peplowski, the well-liked mentor to many and a long-time timing and scoring official, passed away last April preparing for an SCCA Pro Racing Playboy MX-5 Cup.
Elivan Goulart earned the prestigious Presidents Cup for Club Racers, presented annually since 1954.
The Member of Excellence award is an award funded by an anonymous SCCA member, which awards an exemplary member a trip to any motorsports event anywhere in the world. Arnie Coleman, of the Continental Divide Region, has turned hard work and a passion for SCCA into a vacation in the coming year.
The final award of the 2012 SCCA Convention is the Woolf Barnato Trophy. SCCA’s highest award, the honor is presented to the member who has made the most outstanding long-term contribution to the Club. Winners are nominated by the last three recipients and approved by the Board of Directors.
This year’s recipient was Dick Templeton.
The convention concluded with a final message from SCCA President Jeff Dahnert.
“I’m very pleased with the way the week has unfolded,” Dahnert said. “We presented a lot of new ideas and there are a lot of changes going on. I want to thank all of you for how open you are to those ideas, and I’m very encouraged by that. It’s been a great week and I think we’re going to have a great year.”
The 2013 SCCA National Convention will return to the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, February 28 – March 2.