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This year’s Induction Ceremonies to be held in Lincoln this October

(Lincoln, Nebraska) The Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame is poised to enshrine seven new members at this year’s Induction Ceremonies to be held this October in Lincoln. This year’s 22nd annual Induction Ceremony will be on Saturday, October 12 at Courtside Banquet Hall in Lincoln.

The 2019 class of inductees includes Driver/Mentor Wayne Huntley of Hastings, Driver Ray Lipsey of Lincoln, Driver/Journalist Bob Mays of Lincoln, Driver Kenny McCarty of North Platte, Driver/Track Owner Terry Richards, Sr. of David City, Car Owner Ed Smith of Lincoln, and Drag Racer Don Stephenson of Omaha.

Also recognized at this October’s Induction ceremony will be sculptor, John Lajba of Omaha, who will receive the organization’s Gordie Shuck Lifetime Achievement Award. Lajba has created numerous racing sculptures, including one of NASCAR founder Bill France, Sr. and his wife Ann, which is displayed at NASCAR’s corporate headquarters in Daytona Beach, as well as the sculpture of Dale Earnhardt, Sr., which sits outside of Daytona International Speedway.

2019 inductees:

Wayne Huntley. Wayne Huntley began his racing career in 1966, when he and a group of former high school classmates, including 2005 Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductee Terry Klatt, purchased a Chevrolet Coupe stock car and began racing at the local county fairgrounds dirt track in Hastings. The team eventually put together a 1955 Chevrolet race car in 1969, and over the next three seasons won three track championships at Kearney Raceway and two at Hastings Raceway. He later won the track title during the 1972 inaugural season at Mid-Continent Raceway in Doniphan, as well as the track championship at the Speed Bowl in Red Cloud in 1973. Following a serious racing accident, Huntley hung up his fire suit and helmet at the end of the 1974 season. As an instructor at Central Community College in Hastings, Huntley founded and coached the college drag race team from 1994 through his retirement in 2011. During that 17 year period, Huntley mentored and coached over 200 community college students, as they gained first-hand experience at building, maintaining and racing drag cars.

Ray Lipsey. Ray Lipsey began his racing career in the mid 1970s, racing Late Models at Beatrice Speedway. He won the track championship at Beatrice in 1978, and also raced at both Midwest Speedway in Lincoln and Sunset Speedway in Omaha before turning his attention to Sprint Cars in 1982. Lipsey experienced great success behind the wheel of Sprinters, winning back-to-back track championships at Midwest Speedway in 1985 and 1986, and two additional open-wheel-titles at Eagle Raceway in 1986 and 1992. He is tied for the most Sprint Car feature race wins at Midwest with 18. He is a former Knoxville Nationals A-Main qualifier, finishing 22nd in the 1989 edition of the prestigious Nationals. After hanging up his helmet and fire suit in the early 1990s, Lipsey continued on as a car owner, with major wins as an owner including the “National Cheater’s Day” event at Sioux Empire Fairgrounds Speedway in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with Doug Wolfgang doing the driving, and the Knoxville 360 Nationals, with Danny Lasoski turning the wheel.

Bob Mays. Bob Mays’ interest in automobile racing began as a three year old when his father took him to his first car race at Capital Beach Speedway in Lincoln. In 1974, he was asked to join the pit crew of a local Micro-Midget racer, and at the conclusion of the season, he and a friend purchased the race car. Mays wheeled Micro-Midgets, Mini-Sprints and Sprint Cars off and on through the mid 1990s, when he turned his attention to racing history and journalism. He has since authored or co-authored six hard cover titles including “High Plains Thunder, Supermodified Racing In The Midlands,” which resulted in four printings, and “Valley County Thunder, The History Of Racing In Ord, Nebraska,” which was selected by National Speed Sport News as the ‘best racing book of the year’ in 2004. Another popular title co-authored by Mays is “The Highbanks! Belleville’s Amazing Track And The Men Who Tried To Tame Her,” which was published in 2017. Mays is currently a Research Technician at the Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed in Lincoln. He was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2018.

Kenny McCarty. After a brief, but successful, career racing motorcycles, Kenny McCarty began his auto racing career in 1968, when he hopped behind the wheel of a car owned by Dick “Snooze” Myers at the local fairgrounds track in North Platte, Nebraska. Over the next few years, McCarty found himself behind the wheel of Stock Cars, Super Modifieds and Sprint Cars, racing at North Platte, McCook, Broken Bow, Hastings, Kearney and Doniphan. He captured the track championship at Mid-Continent Raceway in Doniphan in 1975, and secured four consecutive Sprint Car titles at Sweetwater Speedway in Rock Springs, Wyoming in the early 1980s. McCarty qualified for the A-Main at the prestigious Knoxville Nationals in 1974, eventually finishing 18th, and from the early to mid 1980s, scored more than 50 Sprint Car feature race wins throughout the Midwest. He successfully raced IMCA Modifieds for over 30 years and sat on the pole at the IMCA Super Nationals in Boone, Iowa on three different occasions. During his career, which spanned portions of five decades, he has raced at more than 100 tracks in the United States and Canada.

Terry Richards, Sr. Terry Richards, Sr. began his racing career in 1963 at Skylark Speedway in Columbus. An avid Ford enthusiast, he is most widely remembered as the driver of the yellow #18 Ford Mustang, which won back-to-back Late Model championships at Midwest Speedway in Lincoln in 1973 and 1974. He also won a track title at David City, Nebraska in 1970. Richards was the pilot of one of the first IMCA Modifieds in the state of Nebraska in 1985 and that same year, traveled to Florida to race and promote the new IMCA Modified concept. Over the course of his 40-year racing career, he piloted Jalopies, Hobby Stocks, Street Stocks, Drag Cars, Modifieds, Late Models and Nostalgia Cars at 61 tracks in nine different states. He also helped build and promote Ymada Speedway in David City in the 1980s and later, Thunder Lake Speedway in Rising City in the 1990s.

Ed Smith. Ed Smith’s involvement in racing began in 1965, when he sponsored a race car driven by Mark Greer at Lincoln Speedway. A year later, he purchased his first Sprint Car from “Speedy” Bill Smith and over the next 16 seasons 28 different drivers piloted Smith-owned Sprinters including regional and national stars, Lloyd Beckman, Gary Dunkle, Keith Hightshoe, Lonnie Jensen, Chuck Kidwell, Roger Larson, Eddie Leavitt, Don Maxwell, Jan Opperman, Roger Rager, Joe Saldana, Dick Sutcliffe, and Doug Wolfgang. His cars qualified for the A-Main at the Knoxville Nationals four years in a row, from 1971 through 1974, with fourth and ninth place finishes by Eddie Leavitt, in 1972 and 1974, respectively, being his highest finishes. Leavitt also won the Jayhawk Nationals for Smith in 1972, with Lonnie Jensen winning a Sprint Car title in a Smith-owned machine at Eagle Raceway in 1973. Smith’s last race as an owner was at Belleville, Kansas in 1981, with Lonnie Jensen piloting the Number-44 Sprinter to a third-place finish. Smith was inducted into the BCRA Hall of Fame in 2012.

Don Stephenson. In 1959, as a 14-year old teenager, Don Stephenson purchased his first drag car, a 1952 Chevrolet, and began racing it, using a “fake ID” at the airbase drag strip in Lincoln, as well as at Flightland Drag Strip in north Omaha. Following a summer in California, hanging out at Mickey Thompson’s race shop, Stephenson’s drag racing career began to blossom and in 1963, he put together the 1957 Chevrolet car that eventually became known as “The Tension Car.” Stephenson traveled across the country in the car, winning hundreds of trophies, setting national records, and eventually winning the Winter Nationals in Pomona, California in 1969. Following a stint in the Marines, Stephenson returned to drag racing briefly before turning his attention to motorcycle racing, serving on both the Kawasaki and Suzuki factory race teams, with his son Denny as the rider.

The Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame inducted its first class 1998 and since that time has enshrined nearly 150 members of the Nebraska racing community. The purpose of the organization is to perpetuate the memory of individuals who have brought lasting fame and positive recognition to the state of Nebraska through their achievements in the sport of auto racing.

Tickets for this year’s Induction Ceremony are on sale by calling Joe Orth at 402-429-1812.
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The Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame will enshrine six new inductees at the organization’s 22nd Annual Induction Ceremonies to be held this year on SATURDAY OCTOBER 12th, 2019 at Courtside Banquet Hall in Lincoln, a SAME LOCATION AS LAST YEAR!! Located at 333 SPEEDWAY CIRCLE #2, LINCOLN, NEBRASKA. Previously, the organization’s annual Induction Ceremonies had been held on a Friday evening at Lincoln Firefighter’s Hall through 2017, however timing and space issues prompted the change to a Saturday night at a larger venue.
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