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2012 Driver Inductees

     Wayne Adams (pictures)-was the "Voice" of Raceway Park in Blue Island, IL from 1947 through 1989. He announced over 2000 midget and stock car racing events at the "World's Busiest Track". Wayne witnessed the popularity explosion of midget auto racing prior to and just after WWII. He watched the midgets fall from popularity with short track stock car racing taking over the lead as the 1950's approached. Wayne followed the sport of stock car racing from the cars being nothing more than "right off the street" to specially built, high tech racing machines. He also chronicled Chicago area racing for over 40 years writing for the old auto racing newspaper the Illustrated Speedway News.


     Don Bohlander (pictures)-Don's driving career spanned over 45 years. The Peoria State Championship was won by him SEVEN times. He also won track Point Championships at Mt. Hawley, Sterling, Freeport, Peoria and Davenport Speedway. He totaled up 350 feature wins. He also competed on a National level at Talladega and Michigan International Speedway. was a stock car champion at Soldier Field, Raceway Park and Mance Park Speedway during his exciting career. He always drove a Buick and he won 5 Championships. He won 17 features in 1953 at Raceway Park driving a 1941 Buick. He captured 3 straight Championships at Soldier Field in 1960, 1961 and 1962 driving a 1957 Buick. He closed out his career at O?Hare Stadium in 1963 driving a 1963 Buick Convertible. The Guy made Stock Car Racing Cool!!


     Bob Boyce (pictures)-Bob started his racing career as a driver at OHare Stadium winning two Figure 8 Championships. After he won the Illiana Late Model Championship he decided to retire as a driver and design and build race car chassis. He was the first to successfully mass produce stock car chassis for Dirt and Asphalt. Some of the biggest names in Illinois competed and won championships driving Trackburner Chassis. Bob has built cars and provided parts on a local and national level.


     Arnie Gardner-Arnie was a multi talented driver. He won races and Championships on Dirt and Asphalt, including Mance Park, Mazon Speed Bowl, Sycamore Speedway and Kankakee Fairgrounds. He won the Mazon 300 lapper two years in a row in 1956 & 1957. Santa Fe Speedway's NCTC 200 4 times in 1970, 1975, 1981 & 1986. Arnie was well known by his fans as "The Geneva Fox". On a national level he competed at Daytona, Atlanta and Charlotte Speedways!


     Andy Granatelli-Long before he was known for his career involving STP and the Indianapolis 500, Andy and his brothers ran a hot rod speed shop in Chicago. In 1947 Andy introduced the short-lived sport of hot rod racing to thousands at Chicago's Soldier Field. As quickly as the hot rods rose to popularity, their attraction fell to the favor of stock car racing at the lakefront arena. Over a hundred thousand fans a year would witness the action in the early 1950's under Andy Granatelli's promotion.


     Fred Lorenzen-Fred won Short Track Championships at Soldier Field in 1956 and O'Hare Stadium in 1958. He then accomplished the unthinkable by winning the USAC Championship in the same year. In 1959 he won 50 short track events and another USAC Championship. Fred won at Milwaukee, Duquoine, Trenton NJ, Meadowdale Raceway and O'Hare. In 1960 he won 6 features in a row. In 1961 he moved full time to Nascar winning his 1st race, The Rebel 300 at Darlington. In 1963 he became the Golden Boy winning over $100,000 in one season. Fred won races on every major Super Speedway completing the Grand Slam of Auto Racing. Fred was one of Nascars' Superstars.


     Gene Marmor-Gene raced at Soldier Field, Rockford and O'Hare Stadium. He won numerous races locally and nationally. He won multiple championships at Rockford and O'Hare Stadium. He won a USAC race at Meadowdale Raceway in Elgin, IL driving a 1957 Chevy. He was a threat to win wherever he raced. His 1963 Chevy convertible was so fast he intimidated the competition.


     Dick Nelson-Dick was a showman as well as a great racer. His victory celebrations with Lucky the Clown were unforgettable and sometimes bone chilling with Lucky holding on with one hand and waving to the children with the other hand while spinning around. Dick won Championships at Kankakee Fairgrounds in 1970 & 1971. He was a 7 time Santa Fe Speedway Champion in 1960, 1961, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1971 & 1972. Dick won the Santa Fe NCTC 200 twice. "Rapid Richard" entertained the fans when he turned on his roof tow lights while leading feature events.


     Tom Pistone-"Tiger Tom" Pistone began his stock car racing career at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. He was a 3 time track Champion at the Andy Granatelli promoted Soldier Field, capturing titles from 1953 through 1955. Pistone moved to the Nascar Grand National competition. Tom competed in the first Daytona 500 in 1959 and was among the race leaders in this historical inaugural event. Before finishing his racing exploits, Pistone competed in 130 Nascar events with 2 wins.


     Joe Shear-Joe won over 350 races during his career. He won 6 Championships at Rockford, 2 at Freeport on the dirt and 2 ARTGO Series. He won the prestigious NSTC 200 lap race an incredible 8 times. He was one of the most successful drivers ever in Illinois to climb into a race car.


     Les Snow-Les started his career in 1949. He won 3 Championships in a row at Peoria Speedway in 1950, 1951 and 1952 doubling up at Kankakee in 1950 & 1951. He also competed at Lincoln, Springfield, Fairbury and Farmer City. He remarkably was able to get a factory ride with Chevy in 1956. Les drove ARCA scoring over 35 victories including an ARCA 200 at Daytona International Speedway.


     Sal Tovella-Sal began his long stock car racing career at Soldier Field claiming his first feature win in 1952. Tovella was the late model stock car champion at Soldier Field in 1963 and has the distinction of winning the last stock car feature race held at the mammoth arena on June 9, 1968. Tovella was also a regular on the old United States Auto Club (USAC) circuit, winning 6 career USAC events. He also made 5 consecutive starts in Nascar's Daytona 500 from 1960 through 1964.


     Bill Van Allen-Perhaps one of the most versatile stock car drivers in the Chicago area., Bill won track titles at both Asphalt and Dirt speedways. Bill began his racing career in 1948 when area short track racing was first introduced. He won 6 titles at Santa Fe in Willow Springs, IL and 2 at Raceway Park in Blue Island, IL. He also claimed Championships at Chicago's 87th Street Speedway and Mance Park in Hodgkins, IL.


     Don Waldvogel-Don was the master of the power slide through the turns. He won the Kankakee Championship 4 times in 1954, 1955, 1957 & 1967. His 1967 victory helped reopen the fairgrounds by drawing large crowds of fans. He won 2 Championships at Santa Fe in 1959 & 1969. He won the NCTC 200 lapper in 1964. He is well known to his fans as the "Flying Dutchman".


     Ronnie Weedon-Ronnie's career started in 1948 driving Fords until 1972 when he made a huge decision to switch to Chevy. He nicknamed his car "Old Blue". Driving Old Blue he continued his successful career. He tallied up 504 feature wins. His slogan painted on his cars was "It's not how old the dog in the fight is it's how much fight is in the old dog".


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