Dario Franchitti, Bruce McLaren elected to IMS Museum Hall of Fame

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Three-time Indianapolis 500 and four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti and iconic driver, team owner and constructor Bruce McLaren have been elected to the Auto Racing Hall of Fame at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

The release with full information is below:

Two of the most well-known names in motorsports history are the newest inductees into the Auto Racing Hall of Fame at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti and legendary driver and constructor Bruce McLaren have been voted into the prestigious pantheon by an esteemed panel of auto racing journalists, participants and historians.

Franchitti won 31 races in his illustrious IndyCar series career, taking the Indianapolis 500 in 2007, 2010 and 2012. The Scottish-born driver won four series championships (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011) and lost a fifth on a tie-breaker in 1999. Franchitti also was part of a winning effort at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2008.

“Dario Franchitti’s winning performances at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are some of the most memorable in IMS history,” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “His three wins in a five-race space, coupled with four front row starts and six top seven finishes in just 10 starts prove Dario understood how to compete at IMS. In addition, Dario was a fan favorite because of the combination of his mastery in the car coupled with his understanding and appreciation of the history of the Indianapolis 500. He, more than most, will understand the honor of becoming a member of the Auto Racing Hall of Fame.”

“Quite apart from having compiled an exceptional and well-documented driving career of his own,” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway historian Donald Davidson, “Dario continuously displays the most profound respect for those who went before him, along with pure passion for the history of motorsport, not only by collecting memorabilia, but even to the point of having taken a course in car restoration”

Bruce McLaren drives the #11 McLaren BRM M4B during the Daily Mail Race of Champions on 12 March 1967 at the Brands Hatch circuit in Fawkham, Great Britain. (Photo by Getty Images)

McLaren was a highly successful driver, designer, constructor and engineer, whose name lives on in the eponymous Formula 1 team that has captured eight constructor’s championships and 12 driver’s titles. As a driver McLaren won four Formula 1 races, two Can-Am Series championships, and co-drove to a win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966 with fellow Kiwi Chris Amon.

“Even decades after his passing, the name Bruce McLaren instantly conjures up vivid memories for racing enthusiasts around the world, whether they be for his Formula One driving days; for his analytical approach to racing; his decision to start up his own marque, when he could well have continued to drive for other people; his utter dominance, along with fellow New Zealander Denis Hulme of the Can-Am series in the late 1960s; or for the legendary organizations he left behind which compiled multiple Formula One constructor championships and Indianapolis 500 wins” said Davidson.

The two inductees were chosen from a star-studded ballot of 16 nominees, 7 of which received at least 50 percent of the vote. A nominee needed to be named on 75 percent of the ballots, or finish first in his or her voting category to be inducted.

The 2017 inductees were announced on “Founders Day,” March 20, 2017, the 108th anniversary of the day the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Company was officially formed.

The Auto Racing Hall of Fame at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum honors and celebrates individual contribution to the sport of automobile racing. It was founded in 1952 under the auspices of the Contest Board of the American Automobile Association (AAA). The Hall of Fame was moved to the original Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum in 1962 under the direction of then-Speedway president Anton “Tony” Hulman.

How IndyCar rookie Sting Ray Robb got that name (and some more of his backstory)

IndyCar Sting Ray Robb
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PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – Every NTT IndyCar Series season brings a new round of getting to know the rookies, and it’s fairly obvious where the story starts with Sting Ray Robb.

Just for clarification, “Robb” is the last name. His given name indeed is “String Ray” on the birth certificate.

Why, yes, he does come from performance-car parentage.

And yes, the IndyCar rookie named “Sting Ray” will be driving the No. 51 Dallara-Honda for Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware.

How did that go over with a mom and dad who clearly prefer American automotive brands?

“That’s a tricky question,” Robb said with a laugh Tuesday during the IndyCar Preseason Content Days. “Yeah, my parents are big Corvette fans, and I think that they ruled out criticizing me too badly because they know the dream is IndyCar.”

“I’ll be in a Honda car and I’m assuming it’ll go pretty quick, so I’m OK with all of that.”

“They’re not going to rename you ‘NSX’ or something?” asked Motorsport.com’s David Malsher-Lopez (whose bitingly sardonic wit is regularly heard in IndyCar media centers).

“No. I hope not,” Robb said. “My name is my name. I don’t need a rename, thank you.”

Robb, 21, has been making a name for himself lately, finishing second in last year’s Indy NXT standings with 11 top-five finishes, eight podiums and two pole positions.

But the Payette, Idaho, native also has an intriguing backstory beyond his successful four years in the Road to Indy ladder system (that also included the 2020 Indy Pro title).

He hails from the same small town (northwest of Boise on the Oregon border) that produced Minnesota Twins slugger and Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.

Robb, whose graduating class was less than 100, recently found that Wikipedia listed him and Killebrew as the “notable alumni” from Payette High School.

“It’s nice to be see and appreciate all the things that I’ve learned and been through,” said Robb, who also played some baseball in his day, adding that “I’m more of a consistent singles hitter, slap hitter if you want to call it. No home runs, just doubles or triples here and there.”

Some other facts on the newest memorable name of IndyCar:

–He’s managed by Pieter Rossi (father of Alexander Rossi, the 2016 Indy 500 winner), but he also gets a lot of help from his mother, Kimmie.

“We call her my ‘momager’ because she’s my mom and my manager,” Robb said. “She has been a huge role in my career because she does things that I’m unable to do as a driver.

“She’s able to play hardball with the contracts, etc., and have my best interest in mind when it comes to negotiating, along with Pieter. He may be someone that has a lot of experience in the series with Alexander, but he may not know what’s best for me. It’s good to have them both on my side, and I can learn a lot from them.”

–His family have been lifelong supporters since go-karting. “It was my mom, my dad, my grandparents on the road every weekend,” he said. “My dad has missed one race in my entire life, and it was because he was in the hospital. So we let him have a pass, and he was still on the phone every 30 minutes making sure that tire pressure was right, engine temp was right, we had the right gear on the car, etc.”

–Robb graduated high school a year early to focus on racing after being home-schooled as a child. “I went to someone’s house actually, and she taught me from the time I was in pre-K through sixth grade,” Robb said. “So in seventh grade I started going to public school, and I hate to say it, but I feel like I stopped learning after that point. But it was OK. I got some social skills, lucky for you guys.”

–He also has a wild story about how he landed his current ride during a random encounter in a trip to the gym (which you can read about here).