LINCOLN, Neb. -- The Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame inducted seven new members at the Firemans Hall in Lincoln, Nebraska, on October 21st before a crowd of more than 300 racing fans. The evening started with guest speaker, Dr. Dean Sicking, Director of the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, gave a presentation on how his team was able to design the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barrier, which has become standard equipment at every major race track in the nation.
Following Dr. Sicking’s remarks, the new inductees into the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame were presented. They are:
Fred Anderson, Omaha, started his drag racing career in 1952, and set many national records. He has 12 U.S. Nationals class wins and raced in 53 straight U.S. Nationals, beginning with the inaugural event in 1955 at Great Bend, Kan.
Keith Chambers, Beatrice, was a staff photographer for the Omaha World-Herald from 1946-’50, covering all forms of auto racing, especially the exciting midgets. He drove and promoted stock cars in the early 1950s. Chambers handled publicity for Omaha Dragway from 1962-’65 and was listed as the number one reporter for the National Hot Rod Association during that time.
Don Droud, Sr., Lincoln has been a driver, owner, promoter, coach and sage during his 54-year career in motorsports. He’s raced motorcycles, supermodifieds, sprint cars, late models, trucks and dwarf cars during that time, winning several track championships along the way. Don’s two sons, Don, Jr., and Rodney have, through his wisdom, had very successful careers in auto racing.
The Kelley Family, Omaha, promoted Sunset Speedway from 1976 through 2000. They were a four-time nominee for National Promoter of the Year and Sunset Speedway was one of the first tracks to join the NASCAR Weekly Series. Sunset led the way in the use of radios for officials; they set time limits for races; among the first tracks to have a website; corporate VIP boxes; live pre-race radio show; and engine compression rules along with many other innovations.
Eddie Kracek, Omaha, started his racing career in 1928, in stock cars and by 1935, he had become a star on the fledgling midget circuits in the Omaha area. By 1937, he was racing on the national stage against some of the top midgeteers in the country. Kracek was one of the first “outsiders,” to win at Olympic Stadium in Kansas City, and competed very successfully for several years. Shortly before the U.S. put a stop to racing in 1942, because of World War II, Kracek was badly injured in a race at Olympic. He passed way two weeks later on August 4, 1942.
Wayne Mason, Omaha, was a championship car owner and mechanic for many years with drivers such as, Bud Burdick, Ed Morris, Bob Kosiski and Steve Kosiski. Mason’s cars have scored 17 track championships, seven Busch All Star titles; two Topless Outlaw Racing Association championships and has had feature wins in NASCAR, MLRA, NCRA and IMCA.
Jim Wyman, Fremont, started racing in 1954, and was a four-time champ at Sunset Speedway winning 58 A Features. He was three-time titlist at Harlan, Iowa and a two-time champ at Corning, Iowa.
At the end of the evening everyone was invited to the Smith Collection Museum of American Speed, where the largest collection of racing and high performance engines resides. Smith Colleciton also features race cars, show cars, street rods and the largest collection of pedal cars known.