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Jackie Stewart to be inducted into Indy Hall of Fame
12 May 2011
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Auto Racing Hall of Fame has announced that Sir Jackie Stewart is to be one of their two new inductees in 2011.
Sir Jackie is being honoured for his past history with the Speedway and the Indianapolis 500, which include two starts in the race in 1966 and 1967.
In his rookie outing in the Indy 500 in 1966, Sir Jackie was leading the race with just nine laps to go when mechanical failure dropped him to sixth place. Graham Hill went on to win with Jim Clark in second place, while Sir Jackie was named Rookie of the Year.
In his second year, in a race split over two days because of rain, Sir Jackie was running third behind Parnelli Jones and eventual winner AJ Foyt when his engine failed with 32 laps to go.
He did not enter the race again, but instead returned to Indianapolis as a commentator on the race for American TV network ABC for 13 years between 1971 and 1984. Famously, ABC sports journalist Jim McKay once quipped that Stewart spoke on air almost as fast as he drove on track.
The induction also recognises Sir Jackie's long campaign for safety in motor sport, which transformed the then-lethal F1 championship into a more safety conscious, driver-led organisation.
Sir Jackie also has a long association in the sport with the Ford Motor Company, which included playing an active role in Jaguar F1 after the motor giant bought out his Stewart Racing operation.
Sir Jackie will be joined as an inductee at the ceremony on Thursday, May 26 by Jim McGee, legendary chief mechanic and race strategist who has worked with a roll call of the top drivers in the sport such as Nigel Mansell. He contributed to four Indy 500 wins during his career, including the triumphant victory by Mario Andretti in 1969, and has worked for teams including Penske, Newman/Haas, Parnelli Jones Racing and the Dean Van Lines team.
"It's a great honor to welcome Jackie Stewart and Jim McGee into the Hall of Fame," said Jeff Belskus, CEO and President of the IMS Corporation. "Their skills and achievements are a significant part of the history of IMS and, in particular, the Indianapolis 500.
"They're both very deserving of motor racing's highest honor on this 100th anniversary year for the 500."
Candidates for induction into the Hall of Fame, which dates back to 1952 when it was set up by the American Automobile Association and the Ford Foundation, have to have at least twenty years active participation in motor sport and be approved by 75 per cent of a 150-strong illustrious membership committee.
Accomplishments and contributions to the Indianapolis 500 are taken into special account in deciding new members. Inductees over the years include AJ Foyt, Al Unser Sr., Rick Mears, Johnny Rutherfod, Bobby Unser, Jimmy Murphy, Jim Clark, Mario Andretti, Al Unser Jr., Arie Luyendyk, Graham Hill and Jack Brabham. Emerson Fittipaldi was inducted in 2004 but was too ill to attend the ceremony; Roger Penske (also an inductee) accepted the award on his behalf.
Sir Jackie was BBC Television's "Sports Personality Of The Year" in 1973 and was also ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year - shared with one OJ Simpson. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990, and received his knighthood in 2001.