Before Jimmy Owens passed Earl Pearson Jr. on the white flag lap of the North South 100 at Florence speedway this past weekend, a different type of excitement was taking place at the ½ mile semi banked clay oval. Florence is not only home to the prestigious North South race, but it is also home to the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame. As is its annual custom, the Hall announced its 2010 Induction Class at the Dirt Track World Championship event at Lawenceburg Speedway last October. And again following tradition, the Hall inducted the strong class of six drivers, two awards for contributions to the sport, and the Circle Track sponsored Sportsman Award winner prior to the North South 100.
This year's class was featured a wide range of talent and if you were unable to make to Kentucky for the induction, here they are along with a little about each dirt superstar.
Ernie Derr (Iowa)-This 12-time IMCA Late Model Champion has had a career showing over 450 feature wins. He is also an 11-time winner of the Dakota State Fair race.
Georgia driver and inductee Mike Head with his wife
Mike Head (Georgia)-With over 650 feature wins, Mike is a legend in southern dirt racing. He's won many big races including the 1982 Dixie 100, the North-South 100 in 1990, along with winning both the 1991 Northern All-Star Florida Speedweek Championship and the 1991 Southern All-Stars Series Championship.
With over 300 feature wins, Steve Kosiski is the second member of the Kosiski family in th
Steve Kosiski (Neb)-Steve is the second member of the Kosiski family in the HOF, being preceded by his brother Joe. He has won over 300 feature wins including the Gopher 50 three times. He was the NASCAR All-Star Series Champion seven times with 51 series wins.
Roger Long has over 350 feature wins and 15 track championships.
Roger Long (Illinois)-Over 350 wins were brought home by this driver in addition to 15 track championships. Long was the winner of numerous classic races during the 1980s. He was also the winner of the Illinois Dirt Track Championship in both 1981 and 1982.
Billy Scott (SC)-With over 400 feature wins, Billy was the two-time Southern Auto Racing DLM Driver of the Year. He was victorious in many big dollar races throughout the Southeast in the 70?s and 80?s.
Ronnie Weedon's wife accepts his induction on his behalf
Ronnie Weeden (Iowa)-A marvelous 50 year racing career saw this late driver win over 500 feature races. He won the Northern Illinois State Dirt Championship twice along with a number of other important races in Florida, Iowa, and Illinois.
Bobby Paul (KY)-Paul was known as one of the most successful car owners in the history of dirt late model racing. His famous Pipe-Line cars won a multitude of big races with such HOF drivers as David Speer, Larry Moore, Rodney Combs, Billy Teagarden, and Ronnie Johnson behind the wheel.
The Thomas Family from Alabama were one of two Contributors of the Year Award winners
Thomas Family (Ala)-This racing family has been a cornerstone in dirt late model racing. They have been selected for their contributions in the mechanics, promoting, chassis building, and driving aspects of the sport.
Freddy Smith collected the Circle Track Magazine Sportsman of the Year Award for his contr
Freddie Smith (NC)-Known as the 'Southern Gentleman', he's been a huge fan favorite and helped younger drivers, as well as cooperate and help whenever he can with promoters, track owners, and series directors.
Dwayne Hommel gets spirit award from Jimmy Owens, who would go one later that evening to w
Current racer Jimmy Mars won the Area Auto Racing News 2009 Driver of the Year Award