LINCOLN—The 18th Annual Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held Oct. 16, 2015, at the Lincoln Firefighter Hall. A great group of seven men were inducted with each expressing their thanks for becoming a member of this elite group of Nebraskans. One was so overcome he could hardly speak (but more on that later).
Those inducted were:
Bill Barbour, Omaha
Barbour started out racing midgets throughout the Midwest until he broke his back and was paralyzed in a racing accident. Bill then started drag racing in partnership with Gene Stanley.
Phil Durst, Lincoln
As a car owner, Durst racked up some impressive wins and championships. Among his drivers were Jack Hewitt, Kasey Kahne, Danny Lasoski, Randy Smith, Doug Wolfgang and his son, Ryan Durst.
Pat di Natale, North Platte
Beginning in solo events, di Natale carved out an impressive racing career with SCCA in regional and national competition. He was twice awarded the SCCA’s Governors’ Cup and was one of three founders of Pro Solo—SCCA’s professional autocross program.
Scott Fernyhough, Lincoln
Fernyhough spent his early years working for Jerry Day, Duke McMillen and Kenny Woodruff, with drivers Jimmy Sills and Jan Opperman. He then worked as a welder and pitman for Bob Trostle from 1977 through 1981, working with such names as Doug Wolfgang, Shane Carson and Tim Green.
Tom Lathen, Grand Island
Lathen’s first experience as an announcer came in 1976 at The Speed Bowl in Red Cloud. Soon he moved into radio and print media. His announcing credits including tracks in Alta, Denison, Spencer, Webster City and West Union in Iowa; and Doniphan and Lexington in Nebraska. He was the full-time voice of the NASCAR All-Star Series and World Dirt Racing League (WDRL), and also announced, from time to time, for a number of other series including UDTRA, UMP, MLRA and others.
Clayton Petersen Jr., St. Paul
Petersen was one of the top late model racers in the country throughout the 1970s. He won points titles and set records across the Midwest. He also built some of the fastest cars in the country at that time.
Larry White, Lincoln
White started his flagging career in 1976 at Eagle Raceway. He has waved the bunting over most of the top dirt track organizations including the World of Outlaws, All Star Circuit of Champions, ASCS, MLRA, WDRL, IMCA and Busch All-Star Series.
And now, back to the inductee who was nearly speechless... As Phil Durst was introduced, Kasey Kahne walked into the hall to help honor Durst. He flew in from Kansas City after qualifying for a NASCAR race and arrived just in time. It was a complete surprise to Durst, and many said after the program that it was the first time they saw him nearly speechless.
It's really a joy to watch people renew old friendships while bench racing before and after the induction ceremony.
After the event, many people visited the Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed to see this great collection of automotive history.