TOPEKA, Kan. (Dec. 5, 2016) – 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. Pete Brock, Dennis Dean, Larry and Linda Dent, Joe Huffaker Sr., Lyn St. James, Phil Hill and Jim Kaser comprise the latest class to join the select ranks.
As in years past, this group will be formally inducted to the Hall of Fame as part of the SCCA Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet. That event takes place Saturday, January 21 and serves as the capstone of the three-day SCCA National Convention taking place again in 2017 at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Along with the accomplishments of the 67 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.
At only 19 years old, Pete Brock was the youngest designer ever hired by General Motors. In November 1957, at only 21 years old, he drew the sketch which GM VP Bill Mitchell picked to become the Stingray. A native of the San Francisco Bay area, Brock also began racing with SCCA around that time.
Brock went on to work with Carroll Shelby. During his time with Shelby, he helped create the Shelby American brand logos, merchandise, ads, car liveries and more. He also designed the Shelby components of the Shelby Mustang GT350, as well as the iconic Shelby Daytona Cobra coupes that won the 1965 FIA World GT Championship.
In 1965, Brock started Brock Racing Enterprises which later became Datsun’s West Coast factory race team competing in SCCA D Production races with Datsun 2000 roadsters. In 1970 and 1971, BRE took on C Production with 240Zs and earned national championships. He followed that up in 1971 and 1972 with 2.5 Trans Am national championships in Datsun 510s.
Dennis Dean began his involvement with SCCA as a tech inspector due to his interest in all things mechanical. Because of his insight as a tech inspector and his Navy training, his documentation with respect to tear down checklists and other procedures have kept many stewards out of trouble over the years.
At the Regional level, Dean provided Washington DC Region a wonderful set of standards that are still being used today. He later joined the SCCA stewards program where his unparalleled technical excellence served him and the Club well. But beyond that, Dean exemplified all the personal attributes that have been stressed to SCCA stewards.
After many years as an outstanding SCCA volunteer, he took on a new challenge in 1996 when he joined the SCCA staff as Vice President of Club Racing and Rally/Solo. And after his stint with the national office, Dean found time to further expand his impact with ever increasing involvement in the Runoffs, providing guidance and leadership to the Hall of Fame project, and serving on the SCCA Foundation Board. In each of these areas his impact has been felt both now and into the future.
Larry and Linda Dent
SCCA members Larry and Linda Dent designed the SCCA Safety Steward program, a vital initiative that has improved motorsports safety as a whole.
Since 1967, Larry has been an SCCA Chief Steward. He also served the SCCA for nine years as a member of the Board of Directors. He was a member of the Executive Committee, serving as liaison to the Competition Board. He also helped as Chairman of the Board of the SCCA Foundation, serving three years in that capacity during which time he significantly improved the Foundation’s financial standing. And while Larry is the one that held the “official” titles, make no mistake that he and Linda worked as a team over the years to advance the Club.
In 2008, Larry received the Woolf Barnardo award, the top award for service to the Sports Car Club of America.
Joe Huffaker, Sr.
For more than 30 years, Joe Huffaker Sr. was one of the most successful racecar constructors. In 1954, he was contracted to build an Austin-Healey Special. The car, known as the Huffaker-Healey, was a common site in the late 1950s on race tracks in Northern California. In 1959, Huffaker joined British Motor Cars in San Francisco to open a competition department. Known as BMC Competition Department, this effort spawned a very successful string of cars including the BMC Formula Juniors and Genie Sports Racers. During this era, BMC Competition Department became one of the largest racecar manufacturers in the United States.
From 1964 to 1966, Huffaker’s attention was turned toward Indianapolis 500 competition. He helped build the famous MG Liquid Suspension Specials, for which he received an engineering award for design and development. Huffaker also helped develop safety technology in the form of the deformable fuel cell.
Not forsaking SCCA racing, BMC Competition continued to build dominate production racecars such as MGBs and Jaguar XKEs. But in 1967, Huffaker left BMC and formed Huffaker Engineering where preparation of winning cars continued. These included SCCA championship winning MG Midgets, MGBs, Triumphs and Jensen-Healeys. In the 1980s, Huffaker Engineering built Pontiac cars for the Trans Am and IMSA series.
Lyn St. James
Lyn St. James started in Florida as a racer in Showroom Stock classes, and was the 1976 and 1977 Florida regional champion. A two-time class winner at Daytona, a class winner at Sebring, and a class winner at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, she has also competed at Le Mans and was a 1988 record speed holder of 212.577 at Talladega in a Ford Thunderbird. James entered 53 SCCA Trans Am races and was a top-five finisher seven times. She also entered 62 IMSA GT races, and was a top-five finisher 17 times. She is the only woman to win an IMSA GT race driving solo, when she won in 1988 at Watkins Glen.
The Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in 1992, James went on to form the Women in the Winner’s Circle organization dedicated to the advancement and promotion of women in the motorsports industry. Outside of racing, she was also the President of the Women’s Sports Foundation during the early 1990s.
The only American-born racer to ever win the World Drivers’ Championship, Phil Hill was one of the first dozen members of the California Sports Car Club. He began his storied career wrenching on others’ cars and went on to compete in major SCCA races. He piloted assorted Alfa Romeos, OSCA’s and various Ferrari’s for wealthy car owners, and quickly gained a reputation as the man to beat in West Coast racing.
In 1955, Hill was the SCCA Champion in D Modified, driving a Ferrari to wins in 8 of 14 races, including the inaugural event at Road America. He began racing outside the U.S. that same year which later landed him a drive with Ferrari in Formula One. But beyond Formula One, Hill exhibited a great deal of prowess as an endurance driver. He was an overall winner at Le Mans and Sebring three times, and became Sports Illustrated’s 1959 Sports Car Driver of the Year.
The original head of SCCA Pro Racing, James E. “Jim” Kaser oversaw the first SCCA professional racing series, the United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC). The success of USRRC led Kaser to organize a series initially involving two Canadian races, thus giving birth in 1966 to the Canadian American Challenge Cup, more commonly known as the Can-Am series. Soon after, Kaser’s Pro Racing department introduced America’s longest running road racing series, the Trans-American Sedan Championship, later known as Trans Am.
It was Kaser’s success with these series that resulted in the most significant change ever to the Sports Car Club of America. The organization turned from being an amateur’s club to a professional, international sanctioning body and organizer.
The new class of eight inductees join the list below of 67 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
The SCCA National Hall of Fame was created in 2004 to preserve, protect and record the history and accomplishments of the Club by acknowledging those members who have made a significant impact on the development of SCCA, be it through service to the national organization, achievements in national competition, bringing national recognition to SCCA, or a combination of these factors. Nominations were submitted to, and reviewed by, the Hall of Fame Nomination and Selection Committees before the inductees were selected.
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.