Motorsports Hall of Fame of America announces 2017 inductees

Scott Pruett, one of the 2017 inductees
Scott Pruett, one of the 2017 inductees

A seven-person list of luminaries representing sports cars, stock cars, land-speed records, motorcycles, open-wheel and drag racing will be showcased by the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA) 2017 class of inductees that was announced today at Daytona International Speedway.

The announcement was made in the speedway's infield media center prior to qualifying for the 55th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Five-time Rolex 24 champion Scott Pruett is part of the 2017 class and was present at the announcement. Pruett is joined on the new inductee list by Sprint Car giant Steve Kinser; three-time DAYTONA 200 motorcycle champion Dick Klamfoth; two-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Terry Labonte; drag racing and land-speed record pioneer Paula Murphy; Herb Thomas, another two-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series titlist; and multi-faceted legend Brock Yates.

The 2017 class will be inducted on June 28 in Daytona Beach during the 29th Annual MSHFA Induction Ceremony.

Pruett shares the record for Rolex 24 championships with 2005 MSHFA inductee Hurley Haywood. Pruett is racing in this year's sports car classic that starts Saturday afternoon, driving a new Lexus entry in the production-based GT Daytona class.

"I'm honored … I'm overwhelmed," Pruett said. "I've been blessed with this incredible career and these sort of unexpected achievements are humbling. I'm just really proud to represent sports car racing. And considering my special relationship with Daytona and the fact the hall of fame is here in Daytona, is just one more reason this is special."

A rundown of the 2017 class:

Steve Kinser (Inducted in the Open Wheel Category): The "King of the Outlaws" is one of the most successful Sprint Car drivers in history, with 577 World of Outlaw feature victories, 20 WoO championships and 12 Knoxville Nationals championships. … He also competed in the 1995 Daytona 500 and 1997 Indianapolis 500. … Through five decades, Kinser has accumulated 876 Sprint Car feature victories.

Richard 'Dick' Klamfoth (Motorcycles): Klamfoth will forever be associated with the DAYTONA 200. At the age of 20, he burst onto the motorcycle racing scene in March 1949 when he rode to a surprise victory in the 200 on his very first attempt. Klamfoth won the beach-road classic again in 1951 and '52 to become the first three-time winner of America's most prestigious motorcycle race. … He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.

Terry Labonte (Stock Cars): In 25 full seasons, Labonte finished in the top five in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings seven times — including championships in 1984 and '96. … Labonte broke Richard Petty's record of 513 consecutive starts in 1996 and continued his "Iron Man" streak until Aug. 5, 2000, when he missed the Brickyard 400 due to injuries. … He and Bobby Labonte are the only brothers to win NASCAR's premier series championship. … Named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers, Labonte also was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2016.

Paula Murphy (Drag Racing): Murphy played a pivotal role in drag racing's formative years, as the first woman licensed to drive a Funny Car and by becoming a successful match racer through 1972, driving an STP-sponsored ride in an era when few drivers had sponsorships. … Her career began in road racing. That caught the attention of STP's Andy Granatelli, who brought her to the Bonneville Salt Flats where in 1963, "Miss STP" set a 161-mph women's land-speed record in a Studebaker Avanti. She later boosted her record to 243.44 mph in Walt Arfons' "Avenger" jet car.

Scott Pruett (Sports Cars): Pruett is one of North America's most accomplished drivers, with 11 major sports car titles from 1986-2013 including IMSA GTO (1986, '88), IMSA GT Endurance (1986), SCCA Trans-Am (1987, '94, 2003) and Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype (2004, '08 and 2010-12). … Pruett was the 1989 Indianapolis 500 Co-Rookie of the Year and won two Indy Car races. … He also had six top 10s in 40 NASCAR starts. … Pruett began his career in karting at the age of eight and won 10 professional karting championships. … Pruett dominated the Rolex Series with 41 wins in 132 starts. … His record-tying five Rolex 24 victories came in 1994, 2007, '08, '11 and '13.

Herb Thomas (Historic): Thomas was NASCAR's first two-time champion (1951 and '53) and has the highest career winning percentage in NASCAR's top series (21.053%). Overall, he won 48 NASCAR Cup races, 39 poles and was in a close battle for a third title when his career was cut short by injury. … Thomas was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. … Thomas, who died in 2000, was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2013.

Brock Yates (At Large): Longtime executive editor of Car and Driver, Yates championed the role of the automobile in American life. … Yates established the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, a cross-continental road race known as the Cannonball Run; Yates won the second installment in a Ferrari Daytona with 1991 MSHFA inductee Dan Gurney. The race became the inspiration for several Cannonball Run movies, for which Yates wrote the screenplays. … Yates was a pit reporter for CBS and a commentator on TNN and the Speed Channel.

"From the King of the Outlaws to the creator of the Cannonball Run, we've got an outstanding class of pioneers, champions, record-breakers and innovators," said MSHFA President Ron Watson. "This group, like so many of our inductee classes, represents the entire spectrum of motorsports that forms the foundation of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America."

MSHFA inductees are chosen via a multi-round voting process involving 200 motorsports peers and experts – including members of the media.

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