Skip to content

Chip Ganassi, Bobby Rahal lead new class of Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductees

May 16, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

Indianapolis 500 - Practice Getty Images

Chip Ganassi (pictured), Bobby Rahal, Bill Simpson, Jimmy McElreath, and Leo Mehl are set to be inducted next week into the Auto Racing Hall of Fame, which primarily honors the most important figures in the history of the Indianapolis 500.

The induction ceremony will take place during the annual Indy 500 Oldtimers’ dinner on Thursday in downtown Indianapolis. The ARHF currently has 148 members and had its inaugural class of inductees in 1952.

Ganassi and Rahal are probably the best-known figures in this year’s class. While Ganassi has won the Indy 500 five times as an owner, he also was a five-time starter as a driver, collecting a top finish of eighth in 1983. And as you probably know, Rahal won the 1986 Indy as a driver and the 2004 Indy as an owner with American racer Buddy Rice.

Longtime racing fans will also know of Simpson’s contributions to the sport through safety innovations. Recently, the former Indy 500 driver has started to put his expertise to work in football, creating lighter helmets for the sport’s players in a partnership with Ganassi.

McElreath competed 15 times in the Indy 500 from 1962 to 1980, with a best finish of third in ’66. His sixth-place run in the 1962 Indy was enough to net him the race’s Rookie of the Year Award, and he also netted some notable wins in his career at other historical tracks such as Ontario (he won the inaugural California 500 there in 1970 for A.J. Foyt), Langhorne, Trenton, and Phoenix.

Mehl logged almost four decades of service to Goodyear, and the last 17 years he spent there came as its worldwide director of racing – overseeing efforts in series as diverse as Formula One, NASCAR, CART, USAC and more. From 1997-1999, Mehl was also executive director of the Indy Racing League, which is now known as the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Latest Posts
  1. Justin Wilson looks to make most of Indy rides with Andretti Autosport

    May 5, 2015, 7:49 PM EDT

    justin wilson 2014 Getty Images

    Without a full-time ride for this season, Justin Wilson is happy to be back in a race car and to have a ride for at least the next two races.

  2. On eve of 300th IndyCar start, Helio Castroneves eyes record-tying fourth Indy 500 win

    May 5, 2015, 6:02 PM EDT

    Helio ST PETE 2015 AP AP

    Helio Castroneves hopes to enjoy the appetizer this weekend and then sink his teeth into the main course two weeks later.

  3. NHRA legend John Force turns 66, not slowing down any time soon

    May 5, 2015, 2:03 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy International Motorsports Hall of Fame) (Photo courtesy International Motorsports Hall of Fame)

    At a time when many people would be embracing retirement, legendary NHRA drag racer John Force just keeps motoring along.

  4. Road America adds new video boards, makes further track investments

    May 4, 2015, 5:18 PM EDT

    Photo: Road America Photo: Road America

    Road America invests millions into some track upgrades for 2015.

  5. Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin named grand marshal for 2015 Indianapolis 500

    May 4, 2015, 2:18 PM EDT

    Photo: IMS Photo: IMS

    Nastia Liukin named grand marshal for this year’s Indianapolis 500.

  6. Tequila Patron ESM makes its Ligier JS P2 Honda race debut in Spa (VIDEOS)

    May 4, 2015, 1:33 PM EDT

    Photo: Tequila Patron ESM Photo: Tequila Patron ESM

    Videos from the debut of the new Ligier JS P2 Hondas for Tequila Patron ESM at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend.

  7. Andretti, Honda open strongly on Indy 500 opening day

    May 4, 2015, 11:35 AM EDT

    Photo: Honda Photo: Honda

    Early days yet, but seems as though Andretti Autosport is starting the month of May out on the right foot.

  8. Westbrook, Valiante score TUDOR win in Monterey

    May 4, 2015, 11:24 AM EDT

    TUDORmrlswin Getty Images

    The No. 90 Corvette DP pairing ends on top in Monterey.

  9. Montoya fastest on opening day of Indianapolis 500 practice

    May 3, 2015, 8:42 PM EDT

    Photo: IMS Photography Photo: IMS Photography

    Day one of the month of May is in the books at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

  10. Iranian government planning to build Formula 1 circuit

    May 3, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-BHR-F1 Getty Images

    Could we see the Iranian Grand Prix join the F1 calendar in years to come?

  11. Chester confident Lotus can compete with Red Bull

    May 3, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain Getty Images

    Lotus technical director Nick Chester expresses his confidence in the upcoming upgrade package for the E23 Hybrid car.

  12. A handful of new drivers, liveries make first outing for Indy 500 practice (PHOTOS)

    May 3, 2015, 2:11 PM EDT

    Mann and Daly. Photo: INDYCAR Mann and Daly. Photo: INDYCAR

    A run through of new driver firesuits and liveries thus far on the first day of practice for the Indianapolis 500.

  13. Di Resta, Wehrlein score podiums in opening DTM weekend

    May 3, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    DTM German Touring Car Hockenheim - Qualifying Getty Images

    Ex-Force India driver di Resta picks up his first podium finish since returning to DTM in 2014.

  14. MotoGP: Lorenzo claims first win of 2015 at Spanish GP

    May 3, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    Spain Motorcycle Grand Prix AP

    Spanish rider wins on home soil as Valentino Rossi scores his 200th podium finish.

  15. Conor Daly’s Smithfield Foods “Fueled by Bacon” special revealed at IMS

    May 3, 2015, 12:26 PM EDT

    Photo: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Photo: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

    Conor Daly’s “Fueled by Bacon” No. 43 Smithfield Foods Honda is revealed.

  16. WEC: Hulkenberg impresses on debut, finishing sixth

    May 3, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    © Porsche AG © Porsche AG

    The no. 19 crew fights back at Spa to finish sixth overall after six hours of racing.