(Kansas City, MO) — The 2014 Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame class of inductees has been announced. Eight new members will be enshrined March 1 during the annual ceremony at the Gladstone Community Center. Selected were Jack Cunningham, Karen Darling, Bill Hill, Joe Kosiski, Bobby Layne, John Layne, Jim McVay, and Ken Williams.
Doors open at 3:00 for the event on March 1 with the program beginning at 4:00 p.m. and dinner served after four of the new Hall of Fame members are inducted.
2014 C.A.R.R.B. HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
Jack Cunningham became interested in racing after WWII, and teamed with Jim Poppawell and Kenny Barret to purchase an Offy powered midget in 1952. By the end of the year, Jack had purchased the car outright, and a legendary career was on its way for the KC man who owned and operated his Transmission shop for over 25 years. From 1952-1986, Cunningham would win over 60 midget races across the country. Racing the KCMARA, Cunningham would win the title in 1954 with Jud Larson after the Texan won 3 times at Riverside in North KC. Jack also won races at Lakeside, Olympic, Shawnee (Topeka), Clinton, and Savannah. Winning those midget races were drivers that included Larson, Chennault, Buddy Gagle, Carl Williams, Bill Burdick, Eddie McVay, and Joe Walter among others. Outside of the KC area, the Cunningham 14 also worked its magic winning on the pavement at Indy’s Speedrome with Jim Adair, 81 Speedway in Wichita with legend Bob Tattersall, and in Tulsa with Joe Walter, among other venues.
By 1967 Cunningham had become tired of racing midgets, selling all his stuff. It seemed as if his career in racing was over, in fact it was just the opposite. After a call from Super Modified owner Luther Brewer asking Jack to buy his car, so he could race a new one, Cunningham accepted, and a super modified juggernaut was born! He started first with Ray Lee Goodwin, who had raced the car for Luther, and the new team was a winner. After Goodwin left the car in August, Jack would team up with Thad Dosher, winning the Knoxville Nationals. From there Jack would team up with super modified veteran Tiger Bob Williams, with Bob they would win the SW Championship at Amarillo, TX in 1968. But as good as those results were Cunningham’s third season as an owner in the super modified ranks would be legendary! In 1969 teamed once again with Williams, and the Magic of the 14 team was at its greatest. Tiger Bob went on a tear winning track titles at the Topeka Fairgrounds, Knoxville, and Olympic. He also took the Missouri State Super Modified title at Sedalia, while winning an amazing 46 times at tracks in Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa. Cunningham retired after that incredible season, his place in history as one of the top racing figures in KC secured.
From the outside racing seems pretty simple, you need a track, cars, and racers, and then you race. But, it doesn’t work like that. Many dedicated workers are needed to make things run smoothly at the track. One of the most important jobs at a race plant is held by the score keeper, and Karen “Boss Lady” Darling has been one of the best in our area for over 35 years! It started simply enough for Karen over 40 years ago at Marshall, Mo. Darling was scoring up in the grandstands for her hubby Rick in 1972. Darling did such a great job, other racers wives would ask her for the results! After that the drivers started asking her where they finished, and after the drivers showed support for her, the owner of the Sportsman’s Speedway, Woody Carpenter asked her if she wanted to join the scoring team as an assistant. In just a short time Karen was bumped up to head scorer, and she would go on to be one of the most respected scorers in the area. Over the years Darling has scored races at over 20 race tracks, and 15 sanctioning bodies.
Some of the tracks Karen has scored at include Parkside Raceway, Capital Speedway, 65 Speedway, Double X Speedway, Moberly Motor Sports Complex, Valley Speedway, I-35 Speedway, and Central Missouri Speedway all in Missouri, as well as LInn Co., Heartland Park, Lakeside, and Thunder Hill in Kansas among others. Some of the organizations Karen has scored for include NASCAR, WOO, USAC, ASCS, IMCA, and USMTS among others. Other jobs she has held at tracks include, checking in the racers, doing the payouts, and generally helping anywhere it was needed with the race program. But, Darling’s service to the racing community goes way beyond the scoring tower and the track. Working for the Central Auto Racing Boosters for several years, Karen has held many positions, and helped with numerous events. She has been on the board of directors, Chairmen of the HOF selection committee, Vice President, and President for CARB HOF and Museum for 2013. Karen is also the head scorer at Lakeside on Fridays and Head Scorer at I-35 Speedway on Saturdays.
The “Hill” family name is synonymous though out the Midwest and across the United States. From Kansas City, Sedalia, St. Louis, and Belleville, KS, Bill has mastered his skill and knowledge of racing to hold positions with IMCA, RMMRA, BCRA, and Pikes Peak. He then became an announcer who many listeners followed by radio and television. As Bill continued to utilize his talent, he became a columnist, working with Chris Economaki at the National Speed Sport News. This led to a position with ABC’s Wide World of Sports, where Bill helped in making sure the world knew about dirt track sprint car racing. He was also the General Manager at the Devils Bowl Speedway, announcer/public relations at Tulsa and Muskogee, and later a track inspector with K&K insurance Company.
Bill is also known for writing and publishing books, one of his many books is called, “One Tough Circuit”. His books consist of stories, facts, interviews, and photos of many great drivers in the midget racing world. Many great moments at Olympic Stadium and around the KC area are captured in this book. Bill never forgot his roots and often came back to visit family, friends, and attended the CARB HOF Banquet. Bill Hill is a Kansas City product that went on to fame and glory.
Joe Kosiski has been involved in racing for many years, 36 years to be exact. He has worn many hats during his racing career – driver, owner, and now race track owner. As a driver, he participated with the following sanctioning bodies: NASCAR, MLRA, NCRA, and Busch All Star. He raced at Lakeside Speedway, I-70 Speedway, Sunset, and Park Jefferson during his driving days.
Joe was recognized as the 1986 NASCAR National Champion for the Weekly Racing series. In addition to this national recognition, Kosiski won 25 NASCAR track championships, and was the 2011 NCRA Late Model Champion. More than half of his national championship was earned at the old Lakeside Speedway. “Joe Kosiski is a champion racer, champion driver, champion of our sport.”
Bobby Layne participated in his first race ever at the age of 16 in July of 1970 in Neosho, Ks. Bobby Layne started racing in 1973 at Riverside Stadium, claiming Rookie of the Year title. Over his career, he raced at a total of 160 different race tracks. Some of those include Olympic, I-70 Speedway, I-35 Speedway, and Lakeside Speedway. I-76 Speedway in Ft. Morgan, CO was the 160th track at which Layne raced.
While never officially keeping track of his feature wins, Layne claimed many championships titles: Sprint Car in 1984 at Lakeside Speedway; Modified at Riverside and Lakeside in 1986, 1987, and 1988; and IMCA Champion at Riverside. Bobby raced with many sanctioning bodies throughout his career – IMCA, NASCAR, WoO, and the Midwest Lightening Sprints.
Not only has Bobby driven his own cars throughout his career, he has also driven for other car owners – Pappy Taylor Weld, Tom Charles, Don Williams, Ronnie Wheeler, to name a few. Bobby has been a car driver, owner, mechanic and engine builder.
John Layne is known for many things in the world of racing; he’s worn all hats – driver, car owner, mechanic, car builder, fabricator, engine builder, restoration, and welder. Layne built and drove his first race car in 1965. He was Rookie of the Year at Lakeside Speedway. Other drivers who have driven for him include Sam Austin, Dale McDaniels, Gene Gennetten, Jon Backlund, Vernon (Van) VanBeber, Gordan Wooly, and Jimmy McVay, or “whoever showed up.” Over the years, John’s cars have competed at as many as 150 race tracks. To mention a few: Riverside, Devils Bowl, Eagle, Granite City, Olympic, Topeka Raceway, both old and new Lakeside Speedway. After John “retired” from owning cars, he turned his focus to restoring old race cars.
John’s philosophy on racing is that you “never went racing without enough money to get home.” His vision is to look at something first to see how it works, what makes it work, and not so much copy how to make it better. Layne’s passion for racing always compelled him to raise the bar as he manufactured parts at Layne Machine Works. Come fall, John hosts his annual Old Timers picnic, generally with over 200 people in attendance.
Jim McVay started his racing career humbly enough running in the Kansas City Soap Box Derby in 1949-50. In 1952 Jimmy got his first seat time in a car running at Frank Carrollo’s short track on Highway 40, near the old Heart of America Airport. McVay competed against others in runs against time, and eight lap races, often winning. When McVay joined the USAF in 1954, he was sent to England. While there, Jimmy acquired a F1 license, competing in rallies with cars including a 1954 TR2. McVay’s biggest victory came in the London Rally which took place over a 24 hour period. McVay took first place in the American division, and fourth place overall out of nearly 300 competitors.
Jimmy returned to the United States in 1957. Later that year he started racing midgets like his brother Eddie. In 1960 Jimmy’s dad bought one of Vito Calia’s midgets and the young McVay won his first night out in the car! The McVays won the second and third time out at St. Charles as well. Over the next several seasons McVay became a star in the fast little machines while also running a jalopy both at Riverside and Olympic.
In the IMCA Midget ranks, AKA “Compact Sprints” McVay finished third in points in 1969, fourth in 1966, and was champion in 1970 after winning at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, MO. Other big wins for McVay included winning at Riverside racing in the Mike Hill Memorial for midgets. Jim also raced in sprint cars and super modifieds, running locally and at the fair tracks of IMCA and BCRA. McVay is still involved in racing locally with his grandson Todd, running midgets and sprints at venues that include Valley Speedway.
Ken Williams is a well-known Kansas City driver. He was born in 1932 and died in 1969 from injuries suffered in a racing accident at the Topeka Fairgrounds. Ken was known as “being his own man and for being an excellent race car driver. Close friends described him as being a perfectionist. Williams was not one to stay in the pits on race night, he would walk around the stands waving and smiling at fans who greeted him.
Ken raced at both local and national racing venues. Local tracks were Olympic, Lakeside, Topeka Fairgrounds, and Marshall. He also competed at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa. Williams was the 1965 point champion for super modifieds in 1965. In 1967 and 1968, he was the runner up at Olympic Stadium. In 1968, he won the then famed National Short Track Championship. In 1968, Ken won the Amarillo championship in Amarillo, Texas. He was thought by many to be one of the finest drivers in the area.
CENTRAL AUTO RACING BOOSTERS HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM, INC.
The intent of the Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. is to honor those deserving individuals whose contributions per the Selection Committee are deserving of inclusion into the Hall of Fame and Museum. All nominees will be judged on their contributions to racing.
Who May Nominate
Any Member in good standing may submit a name for consideration.
You must be a member of the Central Auto Racing Boosters to nominate someone. To become a member you must pay the $15 membership fee.
Self-nominations are not accepted.
Criteria and Qualifications:
Anyone (Driver, Track Employee, Track Owner, Car Builder, Engine Builder, Car Owner, Mechanic, Crew Chief, Pit Crew, Former or Current Member of the Central Auto Racing Booster, Individual Sponsor, Media Person, or Fan) who has contributed to the betterment of Circle or Figure 8 track racing in the state of Missouri or Kansas can be nominated.
Nominees who have been out of racing for two (2) years or longer will be considered automatically eligible. Active nominees will be considered eligible provided their contribution is and has been ongoing for a minimum of twenty (20) years.
Nomination Forms can be obtained at any General Membership meeting, from the Central Auto Racing Boosters website (www.kccarb.com) or, from any member of the Central Auto Racing Booster Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. Board.
The completed nomination form must be submitted to the Selection Committee Chairperson by December 1st of each year.
Maximum number of inductees per year will be 8.
Selection Committee Chairperson
Chairperson will be selected by the President of Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc.
The Chairperson will cast his/her ballot at the same time as committee members and the ballot will be placed in a sealed envelope and given to the President of the Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc.
The ballot is only opened in case of a tie.
Will consist of:
Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. Board Members (Officers and Directors)
All living Inductees of Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame and Museum
Five to Nine Volunteers from the General Membership
Volunteers must be in good standing.
Volunteers will be requested at the October General Membership meeting.
If More than 9 people volunteer a secret ballot vote will be taken immediately to determine the 9 who will serve on the Selection Committee.
On the 2nd Saturday of December of each year, the following items will be given or/mailed to each person on the Selection Committee:
a short biography of each Nominee including his/her accomplishments
the ballots; and a Self Address Stamped Envelope (returning all ballots to the Chairperson of the Selection Committee at the address of the Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame and Museum Inc. current secretary).
The Secretary should not open any of these envelopes. The envelopes should be turned over to the Chairperson.
Each person on the Selection Committee will have until December 31st of the current year to return his/her ballot. All ballots must be post marked by December 31st in order to be counted.
All ballots that are sent out will be numbered and, if two ballots come back with the same number those ballots will not be counted. The ballots along with the envelopes that they were sent in will be given to the Chairperson, shown to the Committee Members and then destroyed.
Chairperson and the Selection Committee will open all ballots during a Selection Committee meeting (date of that meeting will be determined but, must take place before the January General Membership meeting).
In case of a tie, the Selection Committee Chairpersons ballot will be opened and the tie broken. However, if the tie is not broken then each member of the Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame and Museum Board (Officers and Directors) will each get one vote in order to break the tie.
Committee member that has submitted a nominee cannot vote for that person.
Committee member cannot vote for a nominee if they are related in any way.
Changes to the Selection Process
In order for a change in the selection process to be approved, the Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame and Museum Board must provide, in writing, the proposed change(s) to the general membership.