|by Randy Lawrence, Media Director
LINCOLN, Neb. (October 3, 2009) -- The Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame held its 2008 Induction Ceremony on Friday, October 3, at the Lincoln Firefighters Reception Hall at 241 Victory Lane in Lincoln, NE. The annual event honored Nebraskans with an outstanding history of involvement in auto racing.
Dick Berggren, the Executive Editor of Speedway Illustrated was the guest speaker at the event. Berggren spoke to the sold out, standing room only crowd about his history in auto racing. Berggren talked about some of his favorite moments during his illustrious career.
Former Sprint Car driver and long time Eagle Raceway official, Mike Cacak was awarded the Gordie Shuck Memorial Sportsmanship Award for his years of involvement in area auto racing.
The 2008 Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductees included Joe Fahnstock, Lincoln; Terry Fritsch, Omaha; Bob Nickolite, Lincoln; Joe Orth, Lincoln; John Wilkinson, Lincoln; Charlie Williams, Lincoln and Bill Wrich, Kennard.
Fahnstock promoted the first midget races in Nebraska in 1935. Joe also promoted races at the Nebraska State Fair from 1932-41 and was an official at many Nebraska tracks.
Fritsch started his racing career in Go-Karts in 1958 at the age of 11. After four years in Karts he turned his sights to drag racing and his first pass was at 104 MPH. Fritsch won two national events in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), the World Championship in 1966 and the 1969 U.S. Nationals in the A/Comp Eliminator class.
Nicholite started as a flagman for Ed O’Boyle in North Platte and was a race official throughout Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado for many years. Bob was also a driving force in getting the race track at the Nebraska State Fairgrounds built in the 1990s.
Orth has been a photographer, crew member and a true ambassador to the sport of auto racing in Nebraska. Orth’s career has spanned nearly five decades and he is one of the finest racing photographers in the country. Joe has been the track photographer at Eagle Raceway for many years and his work has graced the pages of Flat Out Magazine and the Paul Oxman Sprint Car Calendar.
Wilkinson raced Modifieds and Super Modifieds throughout the 1950s and 1960s winning several track championships. While driving the Williams-Swenson No. 24, Wilkinson won the track championship at Midwest Speedway in 1965 and numerous feature wins.
Williams, a car owner teamed with his son-in-law, Gary Swenson to win many races and track championships. With Ray Lee Goodwin at the wheel the Williams-Swenson team won the 1968 Knoxville Nationals, the track championship at the Topeka Fairgrounds in 1970, the Eagle Raceway track championship in 1971 and the 1972 IMCA championship.
Wrich began racing in 1954 at the age of 16. Bill has won track championships at Washington County Speedway, Sunset Speedway, Playland Park, Shelby County Speedway and Crawford County Speedway. Wrich also raced with USAC and IMCA during the 1970s. His last feature win came in 2005 taking the Race of Legends at I-80 Speedway, 51 years after the start of his career.
The purpose of the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame is to perpetuate the memory of these individuals who have brought lasting fame to the state of Nebraska through their efforts in auto racing.
Nominees to the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame must have been a resident of the state for at least two years and must be retired for at least four years from the discipline they are being honored for. Active participants in the sport will be considered if they are at least 55 years of age and have been with the sport for at least 30 years.
All candidates must have made positive contributions to the sport of auto racing on a local and regional level and go on to some national prominence.
Anyone wishing to nominate a person to the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame can do so by submitting the person's name, with a list of their accomplishments in a short bio to: The Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame, Inc., 5527 S. 20th St., Lincoln, NE 68512. You can also call 402-421-2266, or e-mail your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame is located inside the Museum of American Speed at 340 Victory Lane on the Speedway Motors complex in Lincoln, Neb.
The Museum of American Speed hours: May through September, two-hour guided tours begin at 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. October through April, two-hour guided tours begin at 2 p.m. every Friday. Admission is $10 to tour the museum.
For more information about the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame please visit www.narhof.com