The 2001 inductees to the Dirt Track Hall of Fame were honored at the fourth annual Dirt Track Hall of Fame banquet at the Springfield Hilton last night. The ceremony took place before about 350 attendees, and it included a heck of a surprise for Hall of Fame founder Dave Despain.
In addition to sidecar legend Floyd "Pops" Dreyer and fabled Yamaha tuner Shell Thuett, three contemporary Grand National stars, one of them the greatest the sport has ever seen, were also inducted. Longtime privateers Ronnie Jones and Steve Morehead took their place alongside nine-time AMA Grand National Champion and 94-career Grand National winner Scott Parker.
But perhaps the most interesting part of the evening came when Despain himself was inducted in a surprise announcement that left the longtime television announcer speechless for a rare moment. Although Despain joked about becoming the first fifth-year Novice to enter the Dirt Track Hall of Fame, the reason for his induction was quite simple: without Dave Despain there would be no Dirt Track Hall of Fame.
Here's a photo of the 2001 inductees who were in attendance at the banquet.