April 3, 2014 — official release — photo courtesy — SPEEDWAY, IN — Rollie Beale, Gus Hoffman, Jud Larson and Eddie Sachs emerged the winners in USAC’s recent social media poll to complete the 2014 list of inductees into the USAC Hall of Fame.
The four inductees received the most votes from a select list of 16 candidates and will join eight previously-announced inductees in the Class of 2014, the third induction class in USAC Hall of Fame history.
Previously-announced inductees include (alphabetically) George Bignotti, Don Branson, Larry Dickson, Norm Nelson, Don Smith, Bob Stroud, Rodger Ward and Bob Wente.
Rollie Beale won USAC’s prestigious National Sprint Car championship in 1973 and scored 32 race victories during his illustrious career. One of the most respected drivers in USAC history, Rollie retired in 1977 and joined the USAC officiating crew, eventually becoming chief steward for both the Silver Crown and National Sprint Car series for many years. In 1991 he was awarded USAC’s Ross Hadley award for dedication to the sport.
A competitor in USAC Championship cars as well, he posted a ninth-place at Trenton, N.J. in 1968. He is listed 10th in the all-time USAC Sprint Car winners list and was enshrined in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1996. Arguably, one of his biggest career wins came in the prestigious “Little 500” at Anderson, Ind. in 1966. He passed away at the age of 84 this February.
Gus Hoffman was the patriarch of the famed Hoffman Auto Racing/Dynamics, Inc. family from Ohio who have amassed an all-time USAC Sprint Car record 83 National wins, dating back to Jim Hemmings’ victory at the Salem (Ind.) Speedway in 1961. They own nine USAC National Sprint titles, coming in 1989-1992-1993-1996-1997-1999-
The list of race winners under the Hoffman banner attests to Gus’ contribution: Hemmings, Larry Cannon, Rich Vogler, Steve Butler, Robbie Stanley, Cary Faas, Kenny Irwin Jr., Andy Michner, Dave Darland, Brian Tyler, Tracy Hines, Jon Stanbrough, Jerry Coons Jr., Daron Clayton, Kyle Larson, Brady Bacon and Darren Hagen.
Jud Larson excelled in both USAC’s National Championship cars and Sprint Cars before meeting an untimely end in a 1966 Sprint car accident at Reading, Pa. He claimed 15 USAC Sprint Car victories and added seven wins in the Championship cars. He took the 1956 Sacramento 100 and added wins at DuQuoin, Ill. and the Hoosier Hundred in Indianapolis, Ind. in 1957 and at Atlanta, Ga. and Phoenix, Ariz. in 1958 plus non-point wins at Williams Grove, Pa. in 1957 and 1958. In his Indianapolis 500 debut in 1958 he finished a creditable eighth. In 1964 he finished second to Don Branson in the 1964 USAC National Sprint Car standings.
Eddie Sachs was truly the “Crown Price of Racing” and was revered by participants and fans alike. Prior to perishing in a crash during the 1964 Indianapolis 500, Sachs excelled on the high-banked ovals in the sprint cars, winning 10 races in the 1950s, including the 100-lap 1957 “Joe James/Pat O’Connor Classic” at Salem, Ind. In Championship cars he posted wins at Atlanta, Ga. in 1956, Langhorne, Pa. and the Hoosier Hundred at Indianapolis, Ind. in 1957, Syracuse, N.Y. in 1959 and four races at Trenton, N.J. in 1959, 1960 and 1961.
Very versatile, he also won a couple of 200-mile USAC Stock Cars races at the famed Milwaukee MIle in 1961. He nearly won the 1961 Indianapolis 500, finishing second to A.J. Foyt, then returned to take third in 1962. He also won four USAC Midget races. He coined the phrase “If you can’t win, be spectacular.”
The 2014 USAC Hall of Fame induction ceremony accompanies USAC’s May 17 “Hall of Fame Classic” Silver Crown Championship race at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Indiana.