2013 Driver Inductees

     Rich Clement (pictures) started his racing career at Mance Park. He was a top contender on Asphalt and Dirt. In 1957 he finished 3rd in a 300 lap race at Mazon Speedbowl. In 1959 he won the Santa Fe Speedway Championship on Dirt and capped off the year by winning the season ending NCTC 200. He followed that up by winning the 1974 Kankakee Championship. On a National level, he competed at Daytona and a regular on the USAC series driving a Dodge built by Don White. He revolutionized stock car wheels when he designed the Clement Wheel, they were used nationwide in the Nascar & USAC circuits.

     Jim Cossman was a versatile driver compiling 56 wins on dirt and 8 wins on Asphalt during his career. He won 4 Championships at Waukegan Speedway. He received the honor of being the “#1 Winner” on the all time win list. His fans nicknamed him “Gentleman Jim”. Following his induction in the Hall of Fame, Jim was asked to be the guest of Illinois Vintage Racing at the Dells Raceway Park in June of 2013. Jim strapped himself in the “Doc Hudson” car and hot lapped it keeping up with the club member’s competitive times. He showed us all the old guys can still do it and do it well.

     Hugh Deery started promoting Stock Car races in 1959 at Rockford Speedway. He became the sole owner of the Speedway in 1967. His focus was as much on entertainment as it was on racing to support his events and develop the family racing enjoyment atmosphere alive even today at Rockford. He was nominated 4 times for National Promoter of the year winning the prestigious award in 1976. Hugh developed the nationally known “Rockford Rules” style of Late Model in 1975 to offer low cost Late Models to area drivers. Hugh was one of the first to offer a huge end of year Asphalt special, The National Short Track Championship 200.

     Jan Gabriel started his announcing career in the late 1960’s at a small radio station in Indiana. In 1968 he became famous for his “Sunday, Sunday, Sundaaaaaaaay” announcements for US30 Drag Strip. In 1968 he also became the announcer at Santa Fe Speedway. Jan had the honor to announce at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He also produced the Award winning syndicated TV show “The Super Chargers”. Jan was the owner of Team Demolition Derby that raced in Joliet, IL. He had one of the most recognizable voices in Illinois Racing. One of his greatest qualities was that he never forgot where he came from. He remembered and acknowledged everyone he came in contact with through the years whether it was Drivers, Car Owner’s, Pit Crews or dedicated fans.

     Bud Koehler was an 11 time Stock Car Champion at Raceway Park in Blue Island, IL. He started his racing career in Midgets right after WWII. He became a 3 time Midget racing title winner at Raceway Park. He won a total of 490 stock car main events at his home track in addition to 10 midget feature races. Koehler also won a stock car Championship at Mance Park in Hodgkins, IL in 1959.

     Wayne Lensing started building cars in 1981 after having a very successful driving career racking up over 100 feature wins in the Midwest and a Rockford Championship. In 1969 at Rockford Speedway driving a 1958 Chevy convertible, that he built himself, he won the very first race he drove. He used his years of experience as a driver and applied his knowledge into growing “Lefthander Chassis” into the largest stock car chassis builder in the USA. Over 200 lefthander chassis and complete race cars are built annually. He also carries an enormous inventory of parts and set ups for the weekly racer. He is the owner of the Historic Auto Attractions Museum and The Dells Raceway Park race track.

     Roy Martinelli won features on Dirt and Asphalt. He won he 1960 National Clay Track Championship 100 at Santa Fe Speedway. He also won three Championships at O’Hare Stadium and 2 at Waukegan. He was one of he first to field a two car team. One of his cars was popular for his #7 design which was lettered as a Lady’s leg with a garter.

     Jim O’Connor was a multiple Champion across the Midwest. He won the Kankakee title 4 times in 1975, 1976, 1977 & 1982. Sugar Island Speedway 2 times in 1963 & 1966. Sana Fe 3 times in 1973, 1974 & 1976. In 1975 he won 38 features. His major victories included NCTC 200 4 times in 1972, 1976, 1979 and 1983. His #8 Race Car was extremely popular with the fans. He still holds the all time record for 84 Feature Wins at Kankakee. He is the proud owner of Kokomo Speedway.

     Herb Shannon, Sr. racing career spanned five decades. He won Championships at Mt. Hawley, Peoria Speedways and he was a 3 time Peoria State Champion. In 1957 h won 19 of 26 features. In 1983 he won 9 of 13 features and he also won the Bush Traveling Series Dirt Title that very same year. On a National level, he competed with Nascar, USAC, ARCA and IMCA. In 1963 he set a world record for a one mile dirt track at the Duquoin State Fair. In 1965 he drove a factory Dodge to a 3rd place finish at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. In 1966 he raced in the Daytona 500 driving a Bill Stroppe Mercury. Herb referred to every obstacle as a mere “bump in the road”.

     Jack Tyne drove midgets, sprint cars and stock cars on Dirt and Asphalt. He won multiple Championships at his home track Fairbury Speedway. He competed on every dirt track in Illinois from the smallest to the largest the Springfield Mile. He was always willing to help rookie drivers with his many years of driving experience and versatile talents. He was affectionately known to his fans as “Dirt Track Jack”. He was one of the first to introduce rack and pinion steering to short track dirt racing. In later years he was an expert at building motors for his fellow competitors.

     Ray Young was known to his fans as The tobacco-chewin Truck Driver enjoyed a career that nearly spanned 30 years. Born in Tennessee, Young started his racing career at Blue Island’ Raceway Park in 1952. He won his first Late Model feature at Raceway Park in 1959. He went on to win a total of 107 feature races and two track Championships at the paved oval. Ray was also a two-time late model champion at the Waukegan Speedway. He captured season track titles at Illiana Motor Speedway and at the Grundy County Speedway. He won back-to-back Tony Bettenhausen Memorial 100s at Illiana in the mid 1970s. He retired from racing in the early 1980s.

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