During the 1960’s, NHRA Division 4 Director Dale Ham began to sense that the current generations of drag racers did not really know of the history and the individuals who had laid the groundwork for their favorite motorsport. To combat this trend he decided to create the Division 4 Hall of Fame. Dale and his wife Glynanna consulted with their certification team, racers, and track operators to solicit nominees for the hall. The criteria were impact on the sport and racing accomplishments.

When divisional banquets began in the 1970’s, the dinners became the occasion for inducting new members into the hall, and the members and newly inducted were noted each year in the banquet program.

Later, nominations were solicited in Ham’s monthly newsletter, and the persons who wanted to present nominees were asked to provide written recommendations and list the qualifications of those nominated.

In the 1980’s, Hall of Fame member Bill Heilscher wanted to further honor the hall members by commissioning hall of fame rings for each member. He turned to Ham, a commercial artist prior to his being named Division Director, to design the first generation of rings. Dale and Glynanna retired in 1987.

Years later, the fear that the current racers and fans really didn’t have a good grasp of their history reoccurred at the Division 4 NHRA Awards banquet in Houston in 1993, where Dave McClelland and Leslie Lovett were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

During McClelland’s introduction as the sport’s premier announcer and m.c., and the creator of Super Chevy Sunday, an audience member was overheard to comment “I didn’t know that Dave McClelland had something to do with Super Chevy Sunday.” During Leslie Lovett’s induction as the most famous drag racing photographer, who got his start in Ft. Smith, AR, another audience member noted that they didn’t know Lovett was “from around here.”

Overhearing this exchange prompted Glenn Menard, the GM of the Texas Motorplex, to approach Billy Meyer with a plan to establish a physical presence of the Hall at the Pro Drivers’ Lounge in the pits of the Texas Motorplex. The building as renamed the Division 4 Hall of Fame building, and the members and their families were invited to a meeting where they were asked to create a display to honor their member of the Hall.

These displays, along with display cases full of memorabilia, were housed there until the fall of 2008, when the space was renovated into a Media Center for use during the O’Reilly Fall Nationals.

To preserve the Hall, and expand its reach into cyberspace, Meyer commissioned a web site dedicated solely to the Division 4 Hall of Fame so that it could be visited by fans from around the nation and the world.

“Division of Champions”

The Division 4 Hall of Fame has been called many things over the years by its members and fans, the most descriptive being the “Division of Champions”. This division is home to names like Eddie Hill, Raymond Beadle, Kenny Bernstein, Bill Meyer and many more. It is an honor to be among these famous drivers and officials.

Over the years the division wanted to not only bestow the title “Hall of Fame Member,” but also to commemorate the occasion and thank them for making the sport what it is today.

In 1997 Bill Hielscher created the original Division 4 Hall of Fame Member Ring. This gold ring was complete with diamonds and a carved image of a dragster. The existing members were presented with their ring in a well attended ceremony then each year new members are presented theirs at induction.

The ring has continued to play a vital part of the Division 4 Hall of Fame. Today the ring is still complete with diamonds and the South Central Division 4 logo and continues to be a cherished keepsake.


One Response to “About”
  1. mike bailey says:

    I would like to know if anyone out there knows the whereabouts of Richard Tharp? My Dad, Gary Bailey, and Richard were friends back in the 60’s and 70’s. The last time I saw Richard was at my Dad’s funeral and he told me to look him up, but those were trying times and I lost the information that I had for him.
    Also looking for info on a couple of other guys that Gary Bailey drove for back in the day. Any info on Bones Carroll, Donald or Mitchell Anderson would be great.
    Sure wish you still had the Div. 4 hall of fame at the motorplex. Kind of nice to go back down memory lane, even though I was just a kid at the time.
    Thanks again, Mike Bailey

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