AVONDALE, Ariz. (March 11, 2018) - Joe Garone, president, and general manager of 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Furniture Row Racing, heads the six-member Class of 2018 being inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame later this year.
The Hall's 15th class is comprised of Garone; Joe Gibbs Racing senior executive J.D. Gibbs; Southern California racing legend Oren Prosser; two-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Champion Greg Pursley and NASCAR and open-wheel car owner Richard "Dick" Woodland. The late Larry Albedi, a five-decade-long public-address announcer, will be inducted as a member of the media.
Additionally, five Heritage inductees - outstanding figures from the pre-1971 era of competition - will be announced for enshrinement in the coming weeks.
The Class of 2018 will be enshrined June 21, 2018 at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif. The event, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, again accompanies the annual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West weekend at nearby Sonoma Raceway.
"It is getting increasingly difficult to select the honorees because the West Coast, over 75 years, has produced so many eligible candidates - literally hundreds," said Ken Clapp, Chairman of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. "I salute the tenacity of the voting board and the members of the nominating committee on making these difficult selections."
Garone, a Denver, Colo. native, won crew chief championships in two NASCAR divisions - the K&N Pro Series West in 1993 and Elite Division Southwest Tour in 1991. His induction completes the enshrinement of Chesrown Racing's principals: owner Marshall Chesrown, Class of 2014 and driver Rick Carelli, Class of 2009. Chesrown's team won more than 30 NASCAR touring races, including three in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Prior to joining Barney Visser's Furniture Row Racing, Garone held crew chief positions with a trio of MENCS teams and was NASCAR's Director of Officiating from 2001-03. The 57-year-old Garone is a member of the Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Jason Dean "J.D." Gibbs, born in Los Angeles in 1969 while his Super Bowl winning father Joe was an assistant coach at the University of Southern California, is a senior executive at Joe Gibbs Racing - one of NASCAR's most successful racing organizations. A collegiate defensive back and quarterback, the younger Gibbs helped his William & Mary team to two Division 1 Football Championship Subdivision playoff appearances.
After college, Gibbs joined JGR and was a tire changer on Dale Jarrett's 1993 Daytona 500-winning team. Gibbs later competed as a driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series, becoming president of JGR in 1998. During his tenure, JGR has won multiple Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and XFINITY Series championships and has become the NASCAR flagship organization for Toyota Racing Development. Gibbs, 48, resides with his family in Davidson, N.C.
Prosser was virtually unbeatable at Saugus (Calif.) Speedway in the 1960s and 1970s, winning five sportsman stock car championships (1964, 1967-72). He won nine consecutive feature races at the flat, .333-mile track in 1966. In 1971 Prosser won the July 4 Firecracker 400 - capturing all four 100-lap races at four southern California tracks. He also won Saugus' first 330-lap event in 1975.
Prosser won the NASCAR Permatex 300 in 1967 at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway and competed in three NASCAR Grand National (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) events. The Granada Hills, Calif. competitor, 77, drove Chevrolets for owner Donnie Johnson.
A former desert and motocross competitor, Pursley was a late comer to four-wheel competition at age 25. With Gene Price, a 2017 West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame inductee, Pursley won the 2011 and 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championships. In 2011, Pursley won six of his 12 starts. Over 100 races, Pursley posted 20 victories, won 20 poles, and logged 58 top-five and 75 top-10 finishes. He won races in six consecutive K&N Pro Series West seasons.
Previously, Pursley had won 13 of 18 races at Irwindale (Calif.) Event Center in 2004 to capture NASCAR's national weekly title. Moving to the NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Series, the Canyon Country, Calif. driver won two races along with four poles. Pursley, 50, resides in Parker City, Ariz.
Woodland built his first race car, a jalopy, in 1958 at age 15. During college, he raced NASCAR hardtops at Kearney Bowl in Fresno, Calif. and following military service drove sprint cars at Ascot Park in Los Angeles. With a growing family, Woodland turned owner and hired West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame inductees Frank Secrist and Parnelli Jones, among others.
Woodland entered the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West with NASCAR and West Cost Stock Car Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. in 1991 and continued with his son, Rich Jr. In 55 races, they won once (at Phoenix in 1998) and finished fifth in the 1995 standings. They also entered several NASCAR premier series, Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series events. Residing in Templeton, Calif., Woodland owns an extensive vintage race car museum in nearby Paso Robles.
Although best known for his baritone voice, Albedi was Mr. Everything when it came to automobiles and automobile racing. Born in San Francisco, he became enamored of competition at an early age, working as a pitman for George Bignotti's racing team in 1947 at Bayshore Speedway. He raced stock cars and sprint cars for a brief time, before taking promoter Louie Vermeil's advice that he'd make more money behind a microphone.
Race fans in Northern California over the next five decades became accustomed to hearing Abedi's description of the action. Albedi became known as the "Voice of Sears Point," the current Sonoma Raceway. He also raced sports cars and was a steward for the San Francisco Region of the SCCA, inducted into the organization's Hall of Fame in 2007. Albedi opened British Motors of Vallejo in 1963, a dealership that expanded to include Lincoln-Mercury, Subaru and Jaguar marques before its sale in 1996. Albedi passed away in May 2017 at the age of 85.
For additional information about the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, please visit WestCoastStockCarHallofFame.com or contact Owen A. Kearns at 661-342-2983. To obtain details about table sponsorship for the 2018 awards dinner, contact Jenniffer Wentzel at 623-463-5400. A limited number of tickets will be make available to the public beginning April 1, 2018. Inquiries should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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