- Stewart, Childress, Wheldon, Foreigner, Riba Also Being Honored At April 12 Gala Benefitting Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter
FORT WORTH, Texas (March 26, 2012) - Lanny Edwards has served as an icon in dirt track racing across the country. The legendary promoter created one of dirt track racing's most prestigious events with the annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Okla. His lasting impact in the dirt-track community has helped him become the 14th member inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Edwards will be honored Thursday, April 12, at the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala held in the Speedway Club's Grand Ballroom at Texas Motor Speedway during the Samsung Mobile 500 NASCAR doubleheader weekend.
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 defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart; legendary NASCAR team owner Richard Childress; the late two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon; one of rock-n-roll's most popular bands Foreigner; and veteran Dallas/Fort Worth television sports reporter George Riba.
Edwards joins an accomplished list of individuals that have been inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame since it was established in 2003. He joins previous inductees A.J. Foyt (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), 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."
Edwards, who enters his 52nd year in dirt track racing, has played an instrumental role in developing the growth of dirt track racing across much of the Southwest as one of the premier racing promoters and track owners. His work as promoter of the famed Devil's Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas, and the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals has helped him earn the prestigious Racing Promotion Monthly National Promoter of the Year award in 2002, and he has been honored as the Regional Promoter of the Year 10 times. His work has earned him a spot in 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 given to individuals that have made a lasting impact in motorsports. Childress has accomplished everything there is to accomplish as a car owner in NASCAR. He has captured championships in all three of NASCAR's national series and his 11 championships are second-best all-time among NASCAR owners. His career is highlighted by his dominance with legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, who captured six Cup championships (1986, '87, '90, '91, 93, '94) in a nine-year span from 1986-94.
Stewart, who earned his fourth of five victories in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 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 Sprint Cup Series championship. With the win, Stewart became the fifth Sprint Cup Series driver with multiple wins at Texas Motor Speedway.
The late two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon will be recognized as this year's recipient of the Texas Motor Speedway Sportsmanship Award. Wheldon, who lost his life following a multi-car accident during the IndyCar Series season finale, was one of the series' most popular drivers and well-respected in the garage. His accomplishments on the track were matched by his efforts off it to raise awareness of Alzheimer's disease. It was his monumental victory in the 2011 Indy 500, fittingly with the Alzheimer's Association as his sponsor, which allowed him to help 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 by receiving the Maj. General Thomas Sadler Award. The band has helped champion Speedway Children's Charities mission through promotions and special fundraisers that have helped the organization raise thousands of dollars in funds for children in North Texas. Foreigner is performing 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, both of which will benefit SCC with the proceeds raised.
Award-winning veteran WFAA-ABC Channel 8 sports reporter/anchor Riba will receive the Excellence in Motorsports Journalism Award. Riba has covered the largest sporting events in Dallas/Fort Worth, but races at Texas Motor Speedway remain his favorite. He has become a fixture at Texas Motor Speedway as he has covered the track since it first opened in 1997. During his 38-year-career at WFAA, he has earned several awards including the Texas Association of Broadcasters award for Best Sportscast, the State Associated Press award for Best Sports Feature, along with a regional Emmy.
Texas Motor Speedway will once again listen to its fans as they will decide the winner of the top moment from the 2011 season at "The Great American Speedway!" The choices have been narrowed to four moments: Kyle Busch wrecking Ron Hornaday Jr. during the WinStar World Casino 350, Trevor Bayne's first career Nationwide Series victory in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge, Matt Kenseth snaps his 76-race winless streak during Texas Motor Speedway first-ever nighttime Sprint Cup Series race in the Samsung Mobile 500, and Tony Stewart's pivotal win in the AAA Texas 500. Fans can submit their vote by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com.
The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame, located in the outdoor atrium adjacent to The Speedway Club, 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 beginning at 6:30 p.m. CT 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.