Three men who gained fame in stock-car racing, one world-renowned road racer, a Formula One champion, and an innovative car builder and engine designer head up the International Motorsports Hall of Fame Class of 2002. The six new hall-of-famers will be inducted in April 18 at the Speedvision Dome in Talladega. Ala.
Glen Wood, Alan Kulwicki and Tim Richmond carry the banner for NASCAR; Jacky Ickx for his road-racing exploits; New Zealander Denis Hulme for Formula One; and Ettore Bugatti as a visionary in car building and design.
All but Wood and Ickx are deceased. “It’s quite an honor for me to be in this hall of fame,” Wood says. “It’s been a long 50 years, and when I started out as a driver I never dreamed of this. We’ve had a number of the greatest drivers in NASCAR drive for us, and it has been an honor to work with all of them.”
Wood, who brought the famous Wood Brothers team into racing, is counted among NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers, although his career behind the wheel was a brief one. Wood won the North Carolina Sportsman title in 1954, and in 1959 he was voted NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver.
His greatest fame came when he was a crew chief for the likes of Cale Yarborough, David Pearson, A.J. Foyt, Fireball Roberts, Curtis Turner, Joe Weatherly, Marvin Panch and Tiny Lund. Seventeen drivers considered members of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest drove for the Wood Brothers, and the team is still strong today with Elliott Sadler behind the wheel of the Wood Brothers Ford.
Bugatti (1881-1947) built cars that won nearly 4,000 races between 1911 and 1947, dominating European racing as no one has done since. Among his most famous cars were the Type 35 Bugattis, produced with four different types of engines; and the Type 59 that won three Grands Prix in 1934.
Hulme (1936-1992) raced and won in Formula One, Group Seven cars, Indy cars, sports cars and off-road vehicles. In 1967 he also claimed the World Championship in Formula One.
Born in 1945, Ickx began his career driving motorcycles, winning the European 50cc title at age 12. By 21 he was racing Formula Two cars, and he won his first Grand Prix in 1968 at the age of 23. He was also successful in sports cars and endurance racing, winning LeMans a record six times.
Kulwicki (1954-1993) was the first driver/owner to claim a Winston Cup crown in more than a decade when he accomplished the feat in 1992. A successful ASA driver, Kulwicki worked his way up the ranks, earning Rookie of the Year honors in Winston Cup in 1986.
After winning the title by 10 points over Bill Elliott, Kulwicki died in a plane crash on his way to Bristol, Tenn., in April 1993.
Richmond (1955-1989) began his career in open-wheel cars, but soon became a NASCAR standout, winning Rookie of the Year honors in 1981. His best season came in 1986, when he won seven of the last 17 Winston Cup races held that year.
In early 1987, however, Richmond contracted AIDS, and he died two years later. The motion picture “Days of Thunder” is loosely based on Richmond and his crew chief, Harry Hyde.