ANGELS PROVIDE WINGS FOR BERGGREN & HEWITT TO GET INTO HALL KNOXVILLE, IOWA (MAY 28, 2002) - Ever heard Tony Stewart called an 'angel'? This past Saturday afternoon, Tony Stewart and the FOX Sports team proved that they are indeed angels, as they will be providing the wings for pit reporter Dick Berggren to attend his induction this Saturday afternoon into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa, from the NASCAR Busch Series race in Dover, Del. Another angel in the wings is Jim Mills of Turbines, Inc., who is flying fellow inductee Jack Hewitt in-and-out of Knoxville so that Jack doesn't miss Saturday night's United States Auto Club (USAC) Silver Crown race in Terre Haute, Ind. Berggren, founder of the long-running Open Wheel magazine and current executive editor of Speedway Illustrated, was surprised on-camera Saturday afternoon at Charlotte when fellow NASCAR on FOX pit reporter Matt Yocum and former USAC sprint car champion Tony Stewart started talking about Dick's upcoming induction into the Knoxville-based Hall of Fame. He was further floored when Tony committed to loaning him his plane for this weekend, and Matt committed to working with Steve Byrnes and getting by without Berggren this Saturday at Dover.
Other behind- the-scenes 'angels' at FOX Sports are pit producer Pam Miller, main producer Neil Goldberg, and executive producer Richie "Z" Zyontz. Interestingly, Tony Stewart will be honored at Knoxville on Wednesday, August 7, during the Mopar Parts Knoxville Sprint Car Nationals as he and his Jimmy Carr-led WoO team will receive their 2001 National Sprint Car Poll "Team of the Year" awards from the museum for their World of Outlaws (WoO) title-winning efforts last season with driver Danny Lasoski. Hewitt, one of the most versatile sprint car racing veterans to ever don a helmet, is being flown to Knoxville by his angelic friend Jim Mills of Turbines, Inc. "Dew It Hewitt" will be inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame on Saturday afternoon on the second floor of the non-profit museum, and then he will be flown immediately to that evening's USAC Silver Crown race at the Action Track in Terre Haute.
Besides Berggren and Hewitt, other banquet honorees include Jim McElreath, Galen Fox, Sam Traylor, Larry "Smokey" Snellbaker, J. Gordon Betz and Joe Scalzo. Neither Traylor nor Scalzo will be able to attend the dinner for personal reasons. Deceased inductees include Maynard "Hungry" Clark, Lloyd Beckman, Everett Saylor, John Bagley, and Ralph "Speedy" Helm. Past inductees that will also be present are Tom Bigelow, Willie Davis, Johnny Rutherford, Bob Trostle, Rollie Beale, Jerry Blundy, Ray Lee Goodwin, Lynn Paxton, Walt James, Ralph Capitani, Harold Leep, "Speedy Bill" Smith, and Eddie Leavitt. Snellbaker will be competing in Friday night's Goodyear Masters Classic sprint car race, while Knoxville will also host sixty midget cars and forty sprint cars on Saturday night.
Those seeking more information on the June 1st National Sprint Car Hall of Fame induction banquet, to be co-hosted by Dave Argabright and Pat Sullivan, are urged to call the museum at 641-842-6176.