Eight individuals who have made significant contributions to the Sports Car Club of America and the world of motorsports have been announced as the Club’s newest Hall of Fame class, adding their names to a list of timeless superstars. William C. Bradshaw, Peter Cunningham, Janet Guthrie, August Pabst, Dave Stremming and Loren Pearson, Bob Sharp and Dr. Dick Thompson comprise the latest class to join the select ranks.
As in years past, this group will be formally inducted during the SCCA Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet. That event takes place Saturday, January 20 and serves as the capstone of the three-day SCCA National Convention taking place again in 2018 at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.
Along with the accomplishments of the 75 previous inductees, these Hall of Fame members positioned the building blocks that have elevated SCCA’s stature in the motorsports world for more than 70 years.
William C. Bradshaw
Over his 50+ years as an SCCA member, William “Bill” Bradshaw held many positions within the Club and earned many awards, including The Carl Haas Award for outstanding service to SCCA, Glen Region’s Jacquelyn Homan Race Worker of the Year Award, Glen Region RE’s Award, and the Northeast Division’s Floyd Stone Award for excellence among Stewards. As a steward, he took an interest in driver safety, gathering statistics on incidents and outcomes to create risk management profiles. His process for data collection, analysis and reporting helped form the current Club Racing Safety Steward model. Bradshaw’s commitment to safety extended to supporting and promoting the recognition of Emergency Services as a separate, unique specialty, an effort that resulted in the creation of a stand-alone license for Emergency Services.
In 1975, Finger Lakes Region requested Bradshaw’s assistance as they attempted to create a stage rally in northern Pennsylvania. The Susquehannock Trail Pro Rally (STPR) became a perennial highlight of the SCCA Pro Rally season and Bradshaw continued to tirelessly support it. In 2004, the Pro Rally community created the Bill Bradshaw Award for volunteerism.
Bradshaw’s commitment to SCCA and the Northeast Division never waned. In the 1990s, he ran for a position on the SCCA Board of Directors (BOD) to represent Area 10. However, Bradshaw did not reside within the Area’s geographic boundaries. But the support for Bradshaw’s candidacy was such that the Central Pennsylvania Region, where he lived, actually ceded Bradshaw’s home county to Glen Region in Area 10, thus forever redefining the border between the two areas. Bradshaw went on to serve two full terms on the BOD.
Shortly after graduating from high school in 1980, Peter Cunningham began participating in SCCA Solo events, claiming one national championship along the way. In the early ’80s, he started contesting SCCA road races in the Showroom Stock class before making the jump quickly in 1985 to the pro ranks. In 1987, he founded RealTime Racing which, to date, has claimed nearly 90 race victories.
Cunningham has never strayed far from the Club. He has been a factory Honda, Acura, BMW, Nissan and Audi driver in his career. Beyond road racing, Cunningham has also ventured into ice racing, SCCA Pro Rally, and even gave the SCCA RaceTruck Challenge a go. While he stopped driving full-time in 2017, his RealTime Racing team continues to be at the forefront of North American motorsports, and he continues to be an ambassador for the sport and for SCCA. Under his leadership, RealTime Racing contributed significantly to the SCCA-sanctioned World Challenge record book, taking 14 driver championships — seven of which were claimed by Cunningham himself. The team has also earned 14 manufacturer championships.
Janet Guthrie grew from grassroots SCCA regional racing to be a pioneer in Indy cars and NASCAR, inspiring others to imagine the impossible. Early on, she campaigned a Jaguar XK 120 coupe, competing in autocrosses, hill climbs and field trials in the New York Region. She then moved to a Jaguar XK 140 for competition in SCCA regional and national races. Guthrie built her own engines, towed the car to races and was her own crew. By 1972, she was a full-time racer, and a year later won the SCCA North Atlantic Road Racing championship in a BS Toyota Celica. She also managed to achieve a couple Sebring class wins.
In 1976, Guthrie tested an Indy car and was also the first woman to run a NASCAR superspeedway cup race. In 1977, she was the first woman to qualify for and compete in the Indy 500, and was the first woman and top rookie at the Daytona 500 that same year. Her driver’s suit and helmet are in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and she is also a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and was one of the first inductees into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame.
During his 10-year racing career, August “Augie” Pabst teamed with some of the best in the motorsport world, including SCCA Hall of Fame members Roger Penske and Briggs Cunningham, as well as Walt Hansgen and Harry Heuer. He piloted some of the best and most famous cars of the era – Ferrari, Scarab, Maserati, Mercedes and Corvette — and won countless races, along with two National Championships driving for Peter Hand. Additionally, Pabst was part of a group of drivers who helped bring about payment for drivers involved in U.S. road racing.
In his short, but storied career, Pabst not only competed against but often beat competitors such as Carroll Shelby, Roger Penske, Bob Holbert, Jim Hall, Bob Sharp, Sterling Moss and Dan Gurney. He is a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, remains a supporter of local Club events and is a member of the Road America Board of Directors Emeritus. Of course, Pabst is also well known as one of the impish individuals responsible for landing a Ford Falcon rental car at the bottom of a hotel pool in Monterey, California.
Dave Stremming and Loren Pearson
In 1994, the Solo Nationals were looking for a new home. In the fall of that year, Topeka’s Forbes Field was suggested as an alternative venue, and SCCA Solo organizers set up a meeting with Forbes Field airport president Dave Stremming and local SCCA representative Loren Pearson. What resulted was an 11-year partnership that changed the future of Solo in profound ways.
Pearson was a cheerleader for SCCA and the Topeka area. And while Stremming had every reason to say “no” to the potential use of Forbes Field for a motorsports event, he, too, saw the potential of it being a benefit to the local community. Stremming convinced the airport board to make an investment in the Solo Nationals because it would be good for Topeka.
Once the airport board was aboard, Stremming and Pearson teamed up to garner support from regional and state government officials, the visitors’ bureau, local media and local businesses. It quickly became apparent that while Salina had been a great home for the event for many years, something special was brewing in Topeka and the event could move to the next level, which it most certainly has over the following decades.
An example of the dedication Stremming and Pearson showed to the Solo Nationals program took place the week of September 11, 2001, after the terrorist attacks on the United States. The attacks occurred just minutes after Solo Nationals began, and the Air National Guard needed to secure the Forbes Field runways. Pearson and Stremming were not only instrumental in helping to evacuate the site, but were also responsible for the Club’s return to the venue later in the week to complete Solo Nationals.
In 1960, after serving in the Army and while attending college, Bob Sharp began racing a 1960 Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite despite it being his “daily driver” used to go back and forth to school. He competed across the northeast in SCCA competition, and switched to a Lotus Seven for a couple seasons before driving a Datsun, a partnership that would last 35 years.
Sharp was a salesman at P. Bruck & Son in Greenwich, Connecticut, selling Ramblers and Datsuns. He approached his boss, Paul Bruck, about racing a Datsun “Fairlady” 1500 Roadster to help promote the dealership. The car was a rarity in SCCA competition at that time, but Sharp’s success changed that as he was an expert at tuning the 85-hp, 1500cc engine and suspension to maximize performance. At only 24 years old, Sharp started his own car dealership and repair station in Wilton, Connecticut, with a three-bay garage/Gulf gas station and a used car dealership, and operated a race shop in one of the garage bays. To help fund his racing, he convinced the head of Nissan USA-East Coast in 1965 to sponsor his team, which became the first factory-backed racing sponsorship.
Between 1967 and 1975, Sharp won the Sports Car Club of America National Championship six times racing for Datsun. His success led to greater factory support for his team and paved the way for Nissan to support other Datsun campaigners around the country. Even after his driving career ended, Bob Sharp Racing would be the springboard from which several top drivers of the era would leap to the pinnacle of success, including Sam Posey, Brad Frisselle, Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Paul Newman.
Dr. Dick Thompson
Dr. Dick Thompson, known as The Flying Dentist, began racing in 1952 when he purchased an MG TD to drive on the street and entered competition events as well. He competed in the first 12-hour race at Sebring, when he took his MG to the track and co-drove to an eighth-place finish. The following season, he purchased a Porsche 356 and ran it regularly in SCCA races for a couple of seasons, winning the 1954 F Production National Championship. That same year, Thompson ran some demonstration laps in a Chevrolet Corvette and immediately recognized the vehicle’s potential. He sold his Porsche and a Jaguar XK 120, bought a Corvette, and embarked on a path that brought the Corvette to prominence in motorsport. Behind the wheel of Corvettes, Thompson tore through the record books, earning a class victory at Sebring and several National Championships. His success with Corvettes was inspirational in making the car a viable part of the SCCA race scene, and he was inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame in 2000, and then in 2013 joined the Le Mans Hall of Fame.
The new class of eight inductees join the list below of 75 previously-entered SCCA Hall of Fame members:
2005: Cameron Argetsinger, A. Tracy Bird, John Fitch, Arthur Gervais, Harry Handley, Vern Jaques, Bill Milliken, Sue Roethel, Art Trier, Rob Walker
2006: John Bornholdt, John Buffum, Mark Donohue, Denise McCluggage, Grant Reynolds
2007: Marge Binks, Marc Gerstein, Carl A. Haas, General Curtis E. LeMay, Theodore F. Robertson
2008: Roger E. Johnson, Don and Ruth Nixon, Kjell Qvale, Robert Ridges, Fred Schmucker
2009: Bill Chambres, Bill Johnson, Jim Kimberly, Paul Newman, John Timanus
2010: Nick Craw, Briggs Cunningham, R. David Jones, Burdette “Berdie” Martin, Wayne Zitkus
2011: Karen Babb, John Bishop, Jim Fitzgerald, Tracer Racing, Harro Zitza
2012: Charlie Earwood, Jim Hall, Gene Henderson, Dr. Peter Talbot, Bryan Webb
2013: Skip Barber, Bill Noble, Bobby Rahal, Carroll Shelby, Andy Porterfield
2014: Kathy Barnes, Robert “Bob” Bondurant, Dan Gurney, Dr. Robert “Bob” Hubbard and Jim Downing, Pete Hylton
2015: Roger H. Johnson, Oscar Koveleski, Ron Sharp, Dr. George Snively, Bob Tullius
2016: Hubert Brundage, Bob Henderson, Roger Penske, Randy Pobst, Alec Ulman
2017: Pete Brock, Dennis Dean, Larry and Linda Dent, Joe Huffaker Sr., Lyn St. James, Phil Hill, Jim Kaser
The purpose of the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame is to preserve, protect and record the history and accomplishments of the Club for current and future members by recognizing those members who have had a significant impact on the Club and the sport. This may be through service to the national organization, achievements in competition, advancement of the sport, or bringing recognition to the SCCA.
The Hall of Fame is overseen and guided by four Committees. The Steering Committee oversees the entire process. The Legacy Committee focuses on nominees from the first third of SCCA’s history. The Nomination Committee focuses on nominees from the last two-thirds of the Club’s history. The Chairs of the Legacy and Nomination Committees are encouraged to liaison with each other in cases where nominees might reasonably fall under the purview of both committees. The Selection Committee then picks each year’s inductees.
Online registration for the SCCA National Convention can be found here and includes the Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet. Additional information about the upcoming SCCA National Convention can also be found here.