DAYTONA BEACH: The public will have four opportunities next week to rub elbows with some of racing’s powerhouse names (past and present) when the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America hosts four events for incoming inductees.
Among the Class of 2017 is five-time Rolex 24 winner Scott Pruett, who remains active in racing as part of the Lexus sports car team that competes in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class.
“I am humbled and honored to join the ranks of these great racers,” Pruett said in a telephone interview. “This is one of those unexpected, incredible things that happen to athletes.”
Pruett will go into this hall, which is located inside Daytona International Speedway’s Ticket & Tours Building, with Terry Labonte, Steve Kinser, Dick Klamfoth, Paula Murphy, Herb Thomas and Brock Yates.
The MHFA covers nearly every form of professional motorsports. Pruett is going in under the sports car banner, but ran NASCAR and IndyCar during his career.
“The Good Lord truly blessed me with an incredible career,” Pruett said. “This is very cool for me.”
This is one of the few halls of fame, in any sport, that has a series of events leading up to the induction ceremony, which are open to the public.
Hall of Fame president Ron Watson said tickets are still available for the four events spread over Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Yes, we have some tickets left for each event,” Watson confirmed. “We welcome the public to join us celebrating these champions.”
Daytona 500 champion Kurt Busch is the honorary chairman of this year’s induction ceremony.
“I’m very thankful for the pioneers that helped pave the way to create the sport that we love and enjoy today,” Busch said. “And to have the opportunity to honor this group of inductees is an opportunity I didn’t want to miss.”
The MHFA plans a lunch and reception at the Speedway on Tuesday. The Speedway will host a breakfast Wednesday morning. The grand finale is the 29th annual induction ceremony at The Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach Shores.
Pruett and many other former inductees are expected at each event. Pruett said he looks forward to mingling with race fans while in town.
“You just don’t see people like this gathered in the same area at the same time very often,” Pruett said.
“Anybody who likes motorsports, this is such a great opportunity to be part of festivities, meet some interesting people and see some really cool stuff.”
Some of the returning alumni including Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, Chip Ganassi, Hurley Haywood, David Hobbs, Tommy Kendall, Hershel McGriff, Bill Simpson and Rusty Wallace.
Others scheduled to attend Rick Hendrick, Lyn St. James, Don Emde, Marty Reid and Mike Helton.
“You always have that dream in the back of your head, that maybe, just maybe, you are good enough to be in the Hall of Fame,” Pruett said. “I can tell you making into this hall is truly incredible.”