The Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame has completed its first decade of inductees. This is the time of year the group is busy with the selection process for the next class to the Hall of Fame. There have been some great moments in this process and there have been some areas which are still under construction.
Let’s begin with the great moments:
– the very first induction ceremony March 6, 2004. Fifteen inductees were in that first class, all very deserving.
– All the inductees since the first class, visit www.kccarb.com to view all the inductees.
– The three Hall of Fame Chairwomen starting with Adrienne Malinowski, whose format we follow to this day, Christina Smith, who organized the files and maintained the program and to this day is still a huge helper, and Karen Darling, who spearheaded the change to inducting 8 people a year and established the four inducted before dinner and four after dinner concept we utilize today.
– Interviews of inductees by the Racinboys on their radio show.
– Hall of Fame trailer, purchased with funds donated by the Roberts family from Rick Beebe.
– Change of venue for the ceremony from Finnigan’s Hall to the Gladstone Community Center, don’t take this wrong FInnigan’s was great but their management made several mistakes.
– The Christy’s serving the dinner.
– The programs written for each inductee.
– The books developed for each inductee which make the Hall of Fame, along with the plaque.
– The stories from the past, can anyone top Bud Hunnicutt, even though Terry Wantland tried last year.
– The Emcees of the ceremony, Scott Traylor, Kirk Elliott, Bob Baker, and Trenton Berry. All of these emcees have done a masterful job of keeping the program rolling and bringing out the stories. – The poster boards, a Hall of Fame tradition.
– All the people who have served on the selection committees over the years.
The idea of a Hall of Fame was first broached by then President Lee Fagala in 1969, based on the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Auto Racing Fan Clubs (NAARFC). This idea never took hold until 2003 when a committee was appointed by myself and chaired by Steve Mitchell. This committee accomplished creating the C.A.R.B. Hall of Fame but not without hurt feelings along the way, my apologies to Steve Mitchell. Two months from the very first induction ceremony I was ready to throw in the towel and give up on the Hall of Fame, too much infighting over stuff that did not mean anything.
Which leads me to let’s discuss the items which need to be addressed:
– This Hall of Fame is the Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame, which means it is Kansas City based and developed for those who made a difference at C.A.R.B. supported tracks, there is a small contingent that would love to remove C.A.R.B.
– It is not open wheel versus stock cars, which is a battle still being fought amongst some of the current group.
– Stop the infighting and game playing, see the note above.
– The selection process must include those living members who have been inducted (this change has recently been made but is still a contentious issue that has hopefully been amended the living inductees, the Hall of Fame Board, and nine members from the General Membership will vote). The selection process was originally a group of five people appointed as a committee by then President J. D. Green. The five people were Vice President Vicki Davis, Diana Green, Dean Merryman, Jim Penny, and Scott Traylor. This process worked for nine years but was always a bone of contention for those not involved. The selection committee was always changing for various reasons, and the group size kept increasing, again for various reasons. Vicki Davis was replaced by whomever was Vice President at the time, Scott Traylor got upset with C.A.R.B and was replaced by Bob Baker, J. D. Cormack came on board as a selection committee member, Bud Hunnicutt became a selection committee member. Three years ago the process was changed due to a previous year tie and the subsequent resolution. The new process was created by Karen Darling and required entering a book on your nominee for review by the committee. Bud Hunnicutt and Jim Penny were replaced and the new process involved a nine member committee which met to review all the books. This knocked down the number of nominations and hurt the feelings of those formerly on the committee. Hopefully this new process will work better. Ballots should be in the mail shortly.
– Accomplish the DREAM, the original dream was a Hall of Fame and Museum building in which the C.A.R.B. Hall of Fame could be on display and house the annual awards banquet and C.A.R.B. meetings. This DREAM is the reason for the separation of the organization into a 501c(3), but the DREAM is under attack because of infighting and people getting older.
Everyone must pull together, work together, to complete the DREAM. Clyde Ellis made a statement at a Board Meeting this organization was not big enough to support a Hall of Fame and Museum. He could be correct. The push towards accomplishing the DREAM was the drawing for the EL Camino. Almost instantly it became a bone of contention and divisiveness. The DREAM was being attacked. This followed up with two very successful auctions, one held at Green Rolling Farms, (again the location was divisive) because of the 2011 flood of Lakeside and then in 2012 the auction held at Lakeside. This year the new organization elected to hold a drawing for a crate motor.
All these events take work, take time, and have risen money for the building, but is not nearly enough to accomplish the DREAM. We must resolve the issues, strive for the DREAM. Possible solutions are many, should the Hall of Fame itself go back under the C.A.R.B. organization and the Museum group press on with fundraising? Do the two groups need to meet and determine what exactly is each group’s object, so we can all work together? Must some people put aside their titles and learn to stop the division? Should the DREAM be changed? Sometimes we have to take two steps back to go forward or in racing terms sometimes we have to learn to slow down to go faster!