Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti and NASCAR champion Tony Stewart were among 2019’s seven new additions to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA), officially inducted in a gala Tuesday night at Daytona International Speedway (DIS).
Motorcycle racing legend Kevin Schwantz; racing pioneer, the late Augie Duesenberg; longtime sports car innovator, the late Phil Remington; drag racing driver/owner Don Schumacher; and one of the sport’s favorite trackside personalities, Linda Vaughn joined Franchitti (Open-Wheel) and Stewart (NASCAR) in the Class of 2019.
“Seeing all the great inductees from the past, it’s very humbling to be a part of that group now,’’ said Stewart, who was introduced by seven-time NASCAR Cup champ Jimmie Johnson. “I guess because I’m still racing, I never even thought about being a part of it — normally when you think about being in a Hall of Fame you’re nearing the end of your career and I feel like this is the second part of my career starting, not the end of it. It was a big surprise and at the same time, very humbling.”
The seven MSHFA Class of 2019 honorees were the top vote-earners from a list of 43 nominees from all walks of motorsports.
“Dario and I were talking and I joked, ‘I don’t even know what category I’m getting inducted in with short track racing, IndyCar and NASCAR.’ It’s been fun and I’m excited about the group here. .. all of motorsports,” Stewart added. “There’s a lot of crossover between the drag racing guys, motorcycles and everything in between, and I have a lot of friends across the board.”
Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles presented racing pioneer Duesenberg for induction, sharing some fascinating background on the innovator. NHRA Funny Car champion Ron Capps made his first trip to Daytona Beach for the event, which honored his team owner Schumacher. And his former team owner NHRA legend Don Prudhomme introduced Vaughn for her induction.
There were sports car greats such as Hurley Haywood, Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Brian Redman laughing with motorcycle stars such as Jeff Ward and off-road legend Walker Evans. Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi was there, as was five-time and reigning IndyCar champion Scott Dixon, who introduced his good friend and longtime Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Franchitti for induction.
NASCAR, too was well represented, from NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison and his brother Donnie to team owner Chip Ganassi and series executives such as Mike Helton.
Quotes via NASCAR Wire Service