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Lanny Edwards To Be Inducted Into Texas Hall

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Tuesday, April 3 2012

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Lanny Edwards, whose Devil’s Bowl Speedway rates as one of dirt-track racing’s meccas, will be cited for his lifetime impact on the sport next month as the 14th member inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Edwards will be honored Thursday, April 12, during ceremonies at the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala held in The Speedway Club’s Grand Ballroom at Texas Motor Speedway. The HOF program is a prelude to the Samsung Mobile 500 NASCAR doubleheader weekend in Fort Worth.

Edwards’ induction is part of an evening that benefits Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter while honoring some of the biggest names in motorsports. Others being recognized are Tony Stewart, defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion; legendary NASCAR team-owner Richard Childress; Dan Wheldon, the late two-time Indianapolis 500 champion; one of rock-n-roll’s most popular bands, Foreigner, and George Riba, veteran Dallas/Fort Worth television sports reporter.

Edwards joins an accomplished list of Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame inductees since 2003 – A.J. Foyt Jr. (2003), Johnny Rutherford (‘03), Terry Labonte (‘04), Lee Shepherd (‘04), Kenny Bernstein (‘05), Jim Hall (‘05), Eddie Hill (‘06), Mark Martin (‘07), Jim McElreath (‘07), Bobby Labonte (‘08), O. Bruton Smith (‘08), Joe Gibbs (‘09) and John Force (‘10).

“To be mentioned in the same class as these individuals truly is an honor,” Edwards said. “I surely appreciate the recognition for many years of dedication and work in dirt-track racing.”

Entering his 52nd year in dirt-track racing, Edwards has been instrumental in developing the growth of the sport throughout much of the Southwest as owner/promoter. His work as promoter of the famed Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Lawson Road in Mesquite, Texas, and the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Okla., earned him the prestigious Racing Promotion Monthly National Promoter of the Year award in 2002. Edwards also has been honored as Regional Promoter of the Year 10 times. His accomplishments have earned him a spot in both the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and National Midget Hall of Fame.

Childress, one of NASCAR’s most recognizable team-owners, will be honored with the Bruton Smith Legend Award for his ongoing impact in motorsports. Childress has accomplished everything there is to accomplish as a team-owner, capturing championships in all three of NASCAR’s touring series. Richard Childress Racing’s 11 championships are second-best all-time among NASCAR owners. His career is highlighted by his dominance of the Sprint Cup Series with legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, who captured six championships (1986, ‘87, ‘90, ‘91, 93, ‘94) during a nine-year span from 1986-94.

Stewart, who earned his fourth of five victories in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup during November’s AAA Texas 500, will receive the Texas Motor Speedway Racer of the Year award. Stewart’s dominating performance in his victory at “The Great American Speedway!” helped propel him to his third career Cup championship and first as owner/driver. With the win, Stewart became the fifth Cup driver with multiple victories on TMS’ 1.5-mile quadoval.

Wheldon will be recognized posthumously as recipient of the Texas Motor Speedway Sportsmanship Award. Wheldon, who lost his life in a multiple-car accident during the IZOD IndyCar Series season-finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 16, was one of open-wheel racing’s most popular and well-respected drivers. His accomplishments on the racetrack were matched by his efforts off it to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease. Wheldon’s monumental victory in the 100th anniversary Indy 500 last May 29 _ fittingly with the Alzheimer’s Association as his sponsor – allowed the 33-year-old Englishman to further spread the word about the deadly disease.

Legendary rock-n-roll band Foreigner will be recognized for its contribution to Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter via the Maj. General Thomas Sadler Award. The “Hot Blooded” band has helped champion Speedway Children’s Charities mission through promotions and special fundraisers that have helped the organization raise thousands of dollars in North Texas. Foreigner will perform an acoustic concert on Monday, April 9, at the Flying Saucer (formerly 8.0) in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square and also will be selling Foreigner CDs and t-shirts on race weekend, with all proceeds to benefit SCC.

Riba, award-winning sports reporter/anchor at WFAA-ABC Channel 8 in Dallas, will be the third recipient of the Excellence in Motorsports Journalism Award. While Riba has covered a variety of sporting events in Dallas/Fort Worth, races at Texas Motor Speedway remain his favorite. He has become a fixture at TMS, covering events at the track since it opened in 1997. During his 38-year-career at WFAA, Riba has earned several honors including the Texas Association of Broadcasters award for Best Sportscast, the State Associated Press award for Best Sports Feature and a regional Emmy.

TMS management once again will listen to its fans as they decide the winner of the top moment from the 2011 season. The choices have been narrowed to four moments: Kyle Busch wrecking Ron Hornaday Jr. during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 350, Trevor Bayne’s first career Nationwide Series victory in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge, Matt Kenseth snapping his 76-race Cup winless streak during TMS’ inaugural nighttime Samsung Mobile 500, and Stewart’s pivotal win in the AAA Texas 500. Fans can submit their vote by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com.

Located in the outdoor atrium adjacent to The Speedway Club, the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame is open year-round and free to the public. The Hall of Fame atrium features pedestals of the inductees with a portrait painting and career highlights.

The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala benefits Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter. The event serves as one of the many fundraisers held by the organization throughout the race season. The organization’s mission is to care for children in educational, financial, social and medical need in order to help them lead productive lives. In 2011, Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter surpassed the $8 million mark in grants distributed since its inception to local children’s organizations in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties.

A VIP reception will take place prior to the awards ceremony at 6:30 p.m. (CDT) on the ninth floor in the Grand Ballroom. The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame induction ceremony will begin at 8 p.m. Table sponsorships, beginning at $1,200, and individual tickets for $150 are available by calling the Speedway Children’s Charities office at (817) 215-8421 or by visiting www.scctexas.org.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Tuesday, April 3 2012
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