LINCOLN, Neb. - The Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame held its 2009 Induction Ceremony on Friday, October 2, at the Lincoln Firefighters Reception Hall at 241 Victory Lane in Lincoln, Neb. The 12th annual event honored Nebraskans with an outstanding history of involvement in auto racing.
Nearly 300 people were in attendance with some traveling from as far away as Arizona and California. Many friendships were renewed with old stories and experiences relived.
It was obvious inductees, during their acceptance remarks were, emotionally moved with the honor of induction into the NARHoF.
Linda Vaughn, Miss Hurst Golden Shifter, the First Lady of Drag Racing and trophy queen at many types of automotive competition events, was the special quest and featured speaker at the ceremony.
Linda has been the sweetheart of race fans since the ‘60s. She entertained those in attendance with stories regarding the contest she won to obtain the title, Miss Hurst Golden Shifter and experiences at various racing events though the years.
A true piece of Americana, Willie “The Welder” Ideen was awarded the Gordie Shuck Memorial Sportsman Award for his time and skill of repairing broken racecars at the race track or at his shop. Many racers would not have made the next race or feature after a crash if Willie had not made the repairs. And Willie has also repaired a few push trucks and guard rails too.
The 2009 Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductees included Clarence “Speed” Haskell, Chuck Kidwell, John MacKichan, Larry Swanson, Charley & Rose Sesemann and Dick Wells.
Clarence "Speed" Haskell
Haskell was a Big Car driver during the 1920s and ‘30s. On September 7, 1931, he became the first Nebraskan to win a feature race at the Nebraska State Fair. Haskell was fatally injured at Winchester, Ind., driving Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductee John Bagley's car on July 29, 1934 during practice.
Kidwell raced all kinds of cars during his long career. He became involved with racing for kids and was among the first to build a caged kart with seat belts. Kidwell was also involved in the development of the Junior Dragster program and the Junior Sprint class for the National Modified Midget Association. Kidwell is the current President of the NMMA.
A designer, engineer and fabricator, MacKichan built a land speed record holding streamliner in 1989. He also helped engineer Carson Smith's Indy car and Pikes Peak Hill Climb car. MacKichan continues to work with the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
Charley & Rose Sesemann
The Sesemanns were involved in area auto racing for over 40 years as the owners of Charley’s Speed Shop. They were very active in Drag Racing and supplied parts for all forms of racing. Rose is still very active in the business today. Charley passed away in 2000.
Swanson was a car owner whose drivers included Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductees Lloyd Beckman, Lonnie Jensen, Don Maxwell, Jan Opperman, Roger Rager and Joe Saldana. During the 1970s, with Jensen at the wheel, Swanson's cars won the points championships at Eagle Raceway, Beatrice Speedway, Knoxville Raceway and the BCRA championship.
Wells was the first editor of National Dragster magazine and a staff member of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). He was later named the feature editor of Hot Rod magazine and the executive editor of Motor Trend magazine at Peterson Publishing Company. In 1967, his department in the publishing company produced the first show, under the grandstands of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, that has become the annual SEMA trade show now held in Las Vegas.
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 for which they are being honored. 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, 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.