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2014 International Drag Racing Hall of Fame announces sponsors, inductee presenters



Ocala, Fla. (JANUARY 14, 2014) – Three of the largest corporate supporters of drag racing will again be supporting the 24th International Drag Racing Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, which will be held in Gainesville, Fla. at the Paramount Plaza Hotel & Suites on March 13, 2014. The banquet will again be hosted by Bob Frey as the Master of Ceremonies.

Donna Garlits, General Manager/CFO of the Don Garlits Drag Racing Museum (Ocala, Fla.) disclosed that Lucas Oil Products, Inc. (Corona, Calif.) will be the presenting sponsor, and the event will be known as the Lucas Oil Products 24th Fame Induction Banquet. "Lucas Oil has been a major supporter of the Hall of Fame Banquet over the past five years, and have been highly active in support of the entire drag racing community," said Ms. Garlits. "They have continued to show their strong support for, and appreciation of, the inductees who have helped build drag racing's history; support which my father and I truly appreciate."

Three other long-term backers of the induction banquet have returned as Associate Sponsors, as well -- Summit Racing Equipment (Tallmadge, Oh.), MOPAR, Chrysler Group LLC service, parts and customer-care group (Auburn Hills, Mich.) and Commercial Power Cleaners (Jerry & Pat Baltes, Richmond, Va.). Summit Racing will present commemorative rings to each inductee and Commercial Power Cleaners will present trophies for each inductee. MOPAR will provide commemorative glasses of the evening to each attendee.

We truly appreciate the support we are provided by Summit, MOPAR/Chrysler and the Baltes family," Ms. Garlits said. "Their support makes it possible for the Museum to hold the induction banquet every year. Their belief in the Hall of Fame program has helped make the banquet such an important 'off track' event over the years."

Ms. Garlits also announced the individuals who will present the seven inductees of the Class of 2014. The inductees and their presenters are:


Inductee Presenter
John Abbott Roger Gustin
Al Bergler Ron Colson
Frank Hawley Jack Beckman
Tom Hoover Paige Hoover
Warren Johnson Tony Sheffler
Forrest Lucas Tom Compton
Kenny Youngblood Harry Hibler & Don Garlits

Roger Gustin, a member of the Hall of Fame, crossed paths often with John Abbott in his early racing career when racing his Mercury Factory Experimental (A/FX) cars. Gustin is best known for his popular jet-powered Funny Cars, and later as the promoter of the "Super Chevy" race/car show events.

Ron Colson grew to know Al Bergler when he raced Top Fuel and Funny Cars for some of the sport's best, including Farkonas, Coil & Minick and Roland Leong, then oversaw the United Drag Racing Association (UDRA) events in the Midwest.

Jack Beckman was the 2012 NHRA/Mello Yello World Champion in the Valvoline Oil-backed Dodge Avenger, and was a former instructor at Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School.

Paige Hoover grew up in the sport, spending a great deal of her youth in the pits of her Dad's funny cars. The Hoover pits were always a family affair, since her grandparents, George ("Pa") and Ruth ("Ma") Hoover were key team members.

Tony Sheffler has been a long-time friend of Warren Johnson. He has been a contributor to drag racing magazines, announced races for the American Hot Rod Association (AHRA) for several years, and announces at the Atlanta Dragway. Tony gave some of Warren's retired Pro Stock cars new life, racing them in sportsman classes.

As the National Hot Rod Association's President, Tom Compton is the sport's most prominent executive. With the heavy involvement of Lucas Oil in drag racing, the relationship between Tom and Forrest would become important personally and professionally.

Harry Hibler and Don Garlits are the selectors for the "Founder's Award." Both men have long friendships and business relations with this year's honoree, Kenny Youngblood.

Banquet tickets are available, but are moving briskly. The Corporate Tables for 10 people are priced at $1000 per table. Individual seating tickets are available at $100 each. Corporate table sponsors receive table signage, program recognition and other benefits. The banquet is preceded by a cocktail reception which starts at 6:00 PM (Eastern). The banquet dinner will be served at 7:00 PM and the awards ceremony beginning at 8:00 PM. The event will be filmed for later broadcast by Masters Entertainment of Bristol, Tenn.