Fresh off of presiding over the biggest edition of the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the 61-year history of the legendary endurance race, General Motors President Mark Reuss and IMSA President John Doonan will returns to the spotlight in Daytona Beach at next month’s 35th Motorsports Hall of Fame of America Induction Ceremony presented by Toyota Racing.
Reuss will present for induction the Class of 2023’s Sports Cars enshrinee Zora Arkus-Duntov — the father of the Corvette and Corvette Racing — while Doonan will serve as the Honorary Chairperson of the 35th MSHFA Induction Ceremony and begin the evening with a keynote address. The sold-out black-tie event takes place at the Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach on Tuesday, March 7.
“We know our guests will be eager to hear from John about the latest developments in the ongoing sports car racing renaissance that began with Jim France, Don Panoz, John’s predecessor Scott Atherton, and Ed Bennett,” said MSHFA President George Levy (pictured above with Reuss). “And what a tribute it is to Zora and the GM racing programs that he pioneered that Mark Reuss will be on hand personally to present him for induction.”
Other presenters include drag racing legend Don Garlits, who was inducted into the inaugural MSHFA Class of 1989, and four-time IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti (Class of 2019).
Reuss has served as President of General Motors since January 2019. A mechanical engineer, he began his career with GM as a student intern in 1983. As President he has overseen some of the most exciting racing programs in the corporation’s long history, including the new IMSA GTP Cadillacs, “Garage 56” Chevrolet Camaro entry at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and the just-announced plan to launch GM’s first F1 program.
As Rolex 24 Grand Marshal, Reuss gave the official “Drivers Start Your Engines” command and 24 hours later watched a pair of GM teams secure podium finishes in the record-setting race. The No. 01 Chip Ganassi (MSHFA Class of 2016) Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-LMDh finished third overall and in the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class and the always-popular No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R scored a second-place GT Daytona Pro (GTD Pro) class finish.
Doonan (pictured above) was named IMSA president at the end of 2019 and, like Reuss, brought a lifetime of automotive and motorsports passion to the position. Doonan spent the previous 17 years at Mazda North American Operations where he was promoted to manage the manufacturer’s growing competition department in 2005, ultimately ascending to the position of Mazda Motorsports Director.
While at Mazda, Doonan guided the growth of the company into the top classes of American sports car racing while also bolstering the brand’s grassroots and ladder system programs. The broad experience has been useful in his leadership of IMSA where Doonan was at the helm of the organization at the 61st Rolex 24 that marked the debut of IMSA’s first hybrid-technology race cars under the returning GTP moniker.
Doonan is also an active and longtime supporter of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, serving as Chairman of the MSHFA Board of Directors from 2013-2017 and continuing today as a member of the MSHFA Board of Trustees.
In addition to Duntov, the MSHFA Class of 2023 includes national champion driver and trailblazing USAC official Henry Banks (Historic), America’s most successful enduro rider, Dick Burleson (Motorcycles), air racing superstar Art Chester (Aviation), one of NASCAR’s most innovative crew chiefs, Ray Evernham (Stock Cars), early NASCAR fan favorite Fonty Flock (Historic), one of the NHRA’s 50 Greatest All-Time Drivers, Darrell Gwynn (Drag Racing), prolific land speed record-setter Ab Jenkins (Speed Records) and two men who revolutionized racetrack emergency services, saving countless lives and careers, Drs. Stephen Olvey and Terry Trammell (Open Wheel).
Garlits will present Gwynn for induction while Franchitti will do the honors for Drs. Olvey and Trammell.
Induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is decided by a group of 200 voters, half of them inductees, the other half leading motorsports experts, journalists and historians.
The MSHFA Induction Ceremony presented by Toyota Racing will be preceded on Monday, March 6, by the traditional “Heroes of Horsepower” presented by Firestone reception and strolling dinner at the MSHFA Museum on the grounds of Daytona International Speedway. The “HoH” reception joins the next night’s Induction Ceremony as being completely sold out.
The main daytime event is the annual Inductee Breakfast on Tuesday morning, March 7, that features the formal induction of each year’s Historic inductees, which in 2023 includes Banks and Flock.
The 2023 Induction Celebration also features the continuation of special daytime presentations and roundtable discussions Monday and Tuesday that were popular with guests and past and present inductees last year.
Although tickets for the 35th Induction Ceremony presented by Toyota Racing are sold out, the MSHFA returns in 2023 with a pair of livestream programs offering viewers a live look at the complete show as well as a complementary stream of behind-the-scenes and red-carpet interviews. The pair of free livestreams will air on the MSHFA Facebook and YouTube pages respectively from the early evening through the end of the event at 10 p.m. EST. The detailed schedule of the complete livestream schedule of events from the 35th Induction Celebration will be announced in the near future.
The MSHFA is housed in Daytona International Speedway’s Ticket & Tours Building located in front of the famed 2.5-mile DIS tri-oval. Access to the MSFHA museum is included with every Daytona International Speedway tour, which run throughout each day, or as a museum-only ticket. The museum is open daily 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. nearly year-round except major holidays. It is visited by more than 100,000 guests each year from every state in America and countries all over the world.