|Moderated by: Rick Terry||
|2013 Inductees|| Rate Topic
|Posted: Monday Jan 21st, 2013 09:20 PM||
SIX TO ENTER ELMA AUTO RACING HALL OF FAME
Elma, Washington.....Four champion drivers and two visionaries who helped shape the course of auto racing in Grays Harbor comprise the 2013 Elma Auto Racing Hall of Fame Inductees.
Ken Stearns, Rick Leighty, Tom Williams, Dan West, Dick Morlan, and Tom Neff will be honored in a ceremony on March 16th in the banquet room of the Elma Eagles.
Hoquiam’s Stearns began racing in the 70s on the fairgrounds ½ mile and went on to claim the 1978 hobby stock championship. Stearns played an instrumental role in the construction of the 3/10 mile oval in 1980 and was one of the top competitors in the super stock division in the early years of the new track. Success on the Elma dirt led to a stint on the asphalt tracks of the NASCAR Northwest Tour before stepping away from racing.
1983 supermodified champion and a second generation driver, Leighty spent his teen years selling programs and being the track reporter before spending time on his father’s pit crew. Beginning his driving career in 1981, the "racing teacher" from Pacific Beach spent the next 20 years racing wheel to wheel against his dad among others on tracks throughout the Northwest. He returned to crew chief duties in 2001 and continued to guide the Leighty Racing Team to victories on dirt and asphalt.
Tom "Porky" Williams used a combination of track smarts, aggressiveness, and well prepared cars to dominate the hobby stock division in the early 80s. Williams claimed the hobby stock title in 1981 and 1983 and was a consistent top five finisher throughout his career. As the son of a car owner father and an EARA officer mother, the Shelton native grew up at the Elma race track and became an instant crowd favorite when he began competing.
West, a stock car veteran from Aberdeen, competed in most every division of the fendered classes offered at Elma. Always a top contender, West claimed the 1989 bomber championship. His friendly manner, attitude, and sportsmanship at the track made him a favorite with both the fans and his fellow competitors.
Olympia’s Richard "Dick" Morlan was one of the original Grays Harbor racers being involved with the Evergreen Speedway on Clemons Hill and moved with the racing group to the Grays Harbor Fairgrounds in 1957. A jack of all trades, Morlan spent time as a driver, the first flagman at Elma, pit boss, and tech official. He is credited with developing the first full roll cage at Elma, a safety development that became mandatory for the Grays Harbor racers.
Neff, also of Olympia, began his racing involvement in the 70s crewing on a car. He drove his own open wheel car for a short period of time and eventually became president of the Evergreen Auto Racing Association. During is tenure as president, Neff was instrumental in negotiating the contract that led to the 3/10 mile facility being built. Neff spent untold hours researching, designing and helping construct a facility that would satisfy the needs of the racing community. His vision helped guide Elma auto racing to a new level.
The 5th Annual EARHoF Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, March 16 at the Elma Eagles. The evening will begin with a Silent Auction at 6:30 with the Induction Ceremony getting underway at 7:30.
The Elma Auto Racing Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization established to preserve and honor the history of auto racing in Grays Harbor. Information on the EARHoF can be found at http://elmaautoracinghalloffame.webs.com .
Elma Auto Racing Hall of Fame
9th Annual EARHoF Induction Ceremony
Stay Beyond Inn & Suites, Elma, WA
March 18, 2017
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