2016 Driver Inductees

     Erik Johnson: (pictures) Erik won racers at Mance Park, Waukegan and O?Hare Stadium. He achieved much of his success when he teamed up with Roy Martinelli driving his 2nd car. He won the O'Hare Championship in 1962, 1967 & 1968. He won the pole position for Chicago's longest race, the O'Hare 500 in 1963. He won the last 500 ran in 1966 and won both end of the year 100 lap races in 1967.


     Roger Long: (pictures) Roger's racing career started in 1972. Roger won 10 Features and was crowned Illinois Clay Racing Club (ICRC) Late Model Champion in 1976. He won Stock Car Championship titles at Farmer City, Fairbury, Danville and Kankakee Fairgrounds. Roger dominated late model racing at Kankakee in the 80's winning the Championship 4 times once in 1981 then set a modern day record by willing 3 years in a row. He collected 15 Track Championships and boasts over 350 career wins all accomplished in spite of being a full time Farmer to pay the bills. Roger is known to his many loyal fans as "The Racing Farmer". He is one of UMP's all-time winning weekly drivers.


     Al Johnson: (pictures) Al was one of the most popular drivers to ever race at Santa Fe Speedway. He was the 1st of only 2 drivers to win a Sportsman and Late Model Championship at Santa Fe. Al was consistent and starting in 1971 he began a string of 18 consecutive "top 10" finishes in the final point standings by taking ninth in the season-end points rally. He was an innovator as he was the 1st to win a Late Model Championship in 1981 driving a car with an automatic transmission. Driving the Silver Bullet he scored 11 feature wins. His second Championship in 1983 recorded him scoring 7 feature wins. Al was known for getting the most out of his equipment.


     Jim Agans: (pictures) Jim started his racing career in 1955 at the age of 29 after being involved in harness racing for a number of years. He won the first race he ever drove. He continued winning and in 1958 he won his first of 5 consecutive track Championships (1958-1962) at the Lincoln Speedway. During that span he also won the track points Championship in 1959 at the Taylorville Speedway, and also won the points Championship in 1962 at the Fairbury American Legion Speedway. In 1973 he won the Late Model points Championship at Joe Shaheen?s Springfield Speedway and followed that with a second place finish in 1975. In 1976 he won the Late Model points Championship at the Jacksonville Speedway making a total of 9 Track Championships. He also racked up an impressive number of pole positions and Feature wins. He was often sought out by drivers and owners to drive their cars and diagnose their problems. One of Jim's engine builders said he had a magic foot and knew exactly how to get a car to hook up to the dirt track. The dryer and slicker the track got the faster he ran and made most of his adjustments with tire pressure and stagger. In 1976 he was the only driver to have his name and car engraved on a collectable souvenir plate by the Morgan County Fairgrounds Association in honor of their Bi-Centennial Celebration. Jim enjoyed working on and building many of the cars he raced. His family says they can still go to the tracks and run into older fans who say they used to love to watch Jim race and that he was their favorite driver of all time.


     Joe Shaheen: (pictures) Joe built his own 1/4 mile Dirt Track which he named Springfield Speedway. There were no jobs at the track he couldn?t do. It was not unusual to see him driving the Grader on Race Day preparing the track. His racetrack featured Midgets, Hot Rods, Old Coupes, Sprint Cars and Late Models. In the early days as car counts struggled, Joe bought 3 cars to run and build his weekly car count. Through the years the racetrack had the reputation of being one of the best Dirt Tracks in the country. This attracted out of state stars from Texas, Florida, Wisconsin and Indiana. Indy Drivers would often travel to the dirt speedway to return to their roots and sharpen their skills in front of standing room only crowds. As a promoter he wasn't afraid to change his racing nights. One year he raced on Monday nights. It was so popular he immediately built bleachers on the backstretch to seat the huge crowds of race fans. The racetrack was affectionately known as "Little Springfield". Big name drivers would run the Springfield Mile then compete at Little Springfield on Sunday nights. The track closed in 1988. Joe passed away 18 months later and received the last checkered flag at his beloved "Little Springfield Speedway".


     Mike Terrafino: (pictures) Mike started his racing career in the mid 50's at Mance Park Speedway in Hodgkins, IL. Mikes first car was an old MG that he raced in a Sports Car Special Championship event with the Crosley Races. He switched to old Coupe stock cars and drove at Soldier Field, O'Hare and Rockford Speedway. Mike's cars were fast and dependable. He decided to give up driving and dedicate his time as an owner/mechanic. Terrafino Auto Garage had 2 bays dedicated to his Short Track Star Drivers Bill Lutz and "Whitey" Gerken. His cars never lost a motor, transmission or rear-end. In 1960-1961 these cars were hard to beat. Gerken captured a number of Features at Soldier Field and won the season Championship 100 lap race 2 years in a row and at Rockford winning everything in sight numerous times. Mike's reputation soon caught the attention of Ford's Holman/Moody division. They dropped off an H/M 1964 Ford, 3 completed engines and plenty of parts to race in USAC. In 1964 the Terrafino/Gerkin Ford competed in 7 events and accomplished 4 top 10 finishes.


     Art Kelly: (pictures) Art was the dean of racing starters in the Chicagoland area for many years and was a familiar face at Chicago area racing events from the late 1930's until 1975 when he retired from his service station business and moved to Florida. He was a native Chicagoan and the area's premier flagman for almost three decades. Whether it was at a midget racing event at the old Chicago Armory in the late 30' or at Chicago's Soldier Field O'Hare Stadium or at Indiana's Illiana Motor Speedway, Art was on hand in some capacity as a race official. He was a crewman for one of Chicago's top midget drivers Jimmy Snyder. Art was a member of Snyder's Joel Thorne racing team at Indianapolis in 1937, 1938 & 1939. One of his first flagging jobs was at the Savage Speedway in Gary, IN., around 1946. 1947 found him handling the flagging chores for the weekly United Auto Racing Association midget races at Chicago's Hanson Park. Moving on from there, he served as the official starter for most of Andy Granatelli's hot rod and stock car promotions in the late 1940's and 50's. Art traveled the circuit with Granatelli, one night at Rockford Speedway another at the old quarter-mile Milwaukee and another evening at Soldier Field. He became the official starter at O'Hare Stadium in Schiller Park in 1956 and served in that capacity until the track closed after the 1968 season. Near the end of 1969 he began flagging the stock cars at Illiana Motor Speedway in Schererville IN. Art held that post through 1975. He returned to the Chicago area one more time in 1979 to handle the flags for Gene Marmor?s new Fastrak Racing series at the inaugural event at the Sycamore Speedway.

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