By J. Douglas Boles
INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, May 12, 2011 – 1966 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Sir Jackie Stewart and legendary chief mechanic and race strategist Jim McGee are the 2011 inductees into the Auto Racing Hall of Fame, officials announced May 12.
The induction ceremony will take place Thursday, May 26 at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown. An esteemed panel of nearly 150 electors, comprised of Hall of Fame members, leading auto racing participants, motorsports journalists and officials, votes annually for Hall of Fame inductees.
“It’s a great honor to welcome Jackie Stewart and Jim McGee into the Hall of Fame,” said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and chief executive officer. “Their skills and achievements are a significant part of the history of IMS and, in particular, the Indianapolis 500. They’re both very deserving of motor racing’s highest honor on this 100th anniversary year for the ‘500.’”
Stewart, from Scotland, only made two Indianapolis 500 starts, in 1966 and 1967, but came within a few laps of finishing first and second.
He dropped out while leading with just nine laps remaining in 1966 and was running just behind Parnelli Jones and eventual winner A.J. Foyt when his engine failed at 168 laps in 1967.
Three-time Formula One World Champion Stewart stayed connected to “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” by serving as a commentator during ABC’s television coverage for 13 years between 1971-84.
Stewart has been a tireless advocate for racing safety during and after his driving career. He was knighted for his numerous accomplishments by Queen Elizabeth II in 2001.
McGee has contributed to more than 90 major open-wheel victories in the U.S. during his illustrious career, including four Indianapolis 500s.
He entered the sport in 1960 as a protégé of legendary chief mechanic Clint Brawner on the Dean Van Lines team in 1960. Brawner later promoted McGee to co-chief, where he became an integral part of many of Mario Andretti’s race victories in the late 1960s, including Andretti’s 1969 Indianapolis 500 triumph.
McGee also worked as a chief mechanic for Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing and Team Penske. He also worked as a race strategist for Patrick Racing and Newman/Haas Racing.
During his career as a mechanic and strategist, he worked with some of the sport’s most outstanding drivers, including Andretti, Tom Sneva, Bobby Unser, Rick Mears, Al Unser, Nigel Mansell, Gordon Johncock, Emerson Fittipaldi and Danny Sullivan.
2011 Indianapolis 500 tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500, “The Most Important Race in History,” on Sunday, May 29, 2011 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Race Day ticket prices start at just $30. Fans can buy tickets online at www.imstix.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or by visiting the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.
Children 12 and under will be receive free general admission to any IMS event in 2011 when accompanied by an adult general admission ticket holder.
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.