Ocala, FL — The Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing has selected a now retired, career-long employee of General Motors, Herb Fishel of Ann Arbor, Mich., to receive the Founder’s Award, and also announced the Museum’s International Drag Racing Hall of Fame Class of 2018. The inductees will be honored at the 28th annual banquet March 15, 2018 in Gainesville, Fla.
Jeb Allen (Redding, Calif.) – Jeb Allen was the youngest (at the time) to win the Top Fuel class at the National Hot Rod Association’s (NHRA) Summernationals in Englishtown, N.J. in 1972. In 1981, Allen was also the youngest (and still is) to win the NHRA Top Fuel World Championship in 1981 at the age of 27.
Kelly Brown (Gazelle, Calif.) – Top Fuel racer Kelly Brown won the 1978 NHRA World Championship driving in the legendary Brissette & Drake entry. In 1979, he joined the “Over the Hill Gang” team, winning four events including the prestigious U.S. Nationals.
Gary Densham (Menifee, Calif.) – Gary Densham, an independent Funny Car racer who began in 1971, built and tunes his own race cars for three decades before joining John Force Racing in 2001. In five years, Densham won eight races. He continues to race today on a limited NHRA schedule.
Roy Fjastad (Mission Viejo, Calif.) – Roy Fjastad’s Speed Products Engineering (SPE) company “perfected” the concept of fixture built chassis to assure repeatable performance behavior, supplying 225 chassis to racers. Fjastad later worked in the street rod market using the same fixture concept to start Deuce Factory. His latest company, Full Bore Products produces specialized tools for engine and chassis builders. He also has been a fixture in the Land Speed racing arena with a streamliner car, and a Modified Roadster.
Jim Oddy (Mooresville, N.C.) – In the 1960s, Jim Oddy raced in the “Gasser” classes, setting records in the NHRA Northeast Division. He retired from driving in the 1970s to launch Oddy’s Automotive and build race-winning engines. In the late 1980s, he and driver Fred Hahn debuted a revolutionary late-model Corvette in the IHRA’s Pro Modified class, winning a dozen races.
Oliver (Ollie) Riley, deceased – (La Verne, Calif.) – After being approached by the NHRA in 1954 to develop a portable, repeatable drag racing timing system, Ollie Riley, who helped design Top Secret timing mechanisms for guided missiles, accepted the challenge. He was also involved with the creation of the “Christmas Tree” race starter.
Greg Sharp (Pomona, Calif.) – Greg Sharp, historian and curator of the Wally Parks/NHRA Motorsports Museum at the L.A. County Fairgrounds, was the NHRA Director of Historical Services in 1995. In that role, he helped create the Wally Parks/NHRA Motorsports Museum and was named the curator when it opened in 1998. He has won the Pioneer Award from the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2010.