Our mission: To honor and celebrate the accomplishments of individuals in the international motor vehicle industry through awards and educational programs that challenge young and old alike to higher levels of personal achievement.
On May 16, 2020, NASCAR hosted its first live race of the year, but one important thing was missing - the fans! Fans are a big part of live racing. So what is it like for NASCAR and IndyCar racers when the stands are empty? Hear what some of the sport's top figures have to say about competing in live races while implementing physical distancing measures.
Photo courtesy of Needpix.com
Helene Rother, one of the 2020/2021 Automotive Hall of Fame’s Inductees, passed away in 1999 leaving relatively few documents in her own words. Journalist Francesca Steele and her daughter Roxanne Pelton transcribed a rare surviving speech from the archives of the Society of Automotive Engineers. The document, typed by Rother, was in nearly illegible condition . Learn how the difficult job of transcription helped Steele uncover Rother's historic message.
Roxanne Pelton and Francesca Steele, photo courtesy of
Francesca Steele
The only bust currently on display in the dealership gallery at the Hall is a bronze sculpture of 1996 Automotive Hall of Fame Inductee Edward "Ed" Davis. Davis was the first African American to own a new car dealership in Detroit.

For all that Davis endured, he never lost his love for the automobile and always persevered through adversity. His impact to the automotive industry has been an important pillar in African American achievements and will be remembered by all.
Bust of Ed Davis, photo courtesy of The Automotive Hall
of Fame
Much of America is rediscovering the drive-in movie theater as a means of safe distancing while enjoying a favorite movie. Here in Michigan, my favorite drive-in is the Capri in Coldwater, Michigan. Recently, they featured Burt Reynold’s car chase classic, "Smokey and the Bandit."

So this month, check out your area for a surviving drive-in theater showing a classic movie. Take your family and friends and enjoy the popcorn.

-Brian Baker, Vice President of Education and Principal Historian
Photo courtesy of Wallpaper Flare
Automotive Hall of Fame partner General Motors recently launched its “Electrifying Engineering” education series on YouTube. These videos provide free, hands-on activities for children ages 7 - 13 using common items found around the house. Visit our website to explore all educational resources including the first three GM videos.
Photo courtesy of GM
No fans in the stands and no attendees in the ballroom. Around this time of year, we are normally busy finalizing arrangements for the Induction and Awards Ceremony. 

We were looking forward to welcoming Mong-Koo Chung , Thomas Gallagher , Jay Leno , and Helene Rother as this year’s class of Inductees as well as celebrating Harold Goddijn as the inaugural Mobility Innovator Awardee. Although we are saddened to postpone the Ceremony to 2021, it was an easy choice. The safety and health of our community is a top priority for The Automotive Hall of Fame. The good news is that we will welcome and celebrate these impressive contributors to automotive history as the class of 2020/2021! We are looking forward to a big celebration next summer. 

In the meantime, we will share stories from our class of 2020/2021 throughout the coming months, in addition to interviews and articles about our other alumni. In this newsletter, we are able to offer a sneak peek at saving a historical document through an interview with Francesca Steele and Roxanne Pelton. They walked AHF’s archivist through their process of uncovering the words in Helene Rother’s address to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) – the first address ever given by a woman to the SAE.  

This week’s blog looks at racing in the time of COVID-19 and how the sport changes with no fans in the stands . As states start to reopen, NASCAR at Talladega is welcoming up to 5,000 fans this Sunday – a calculated approach to reintroduce fans to the 78,000 capacity Superspeedway. This is a pivotal time for racing in other aspects. We’re expanding our archives to capture the historic news of the banning of confederate flags and the support of Black Lives Matter in NASCAR. Our own 2002 Automotive Hall of Fame Inductee Richard Petty ’s team is running the #43 car, driven by Bubba Wallace, with a new paint job in support of #BlackLivesMatter. Petty reportedly added a peace sign next to the car’s Black Lives Matter tag. Wallace has also been instrumental in calling for the ban of the confederate flag at NASCAR events. 

Our content is also growing thanks to a new partnership with the Society of Automotive Historians Detroit-Leland Chapter . The subject matter experts of the SAH are providing the Hall with in-depth research on the men and women who have molded the automotive industry. They are helping us to capture the personalities and human stories of legendary figures as well as those innovators who may not be household names … yet.  

We look forward to finding and sharing other impactful stories of invention and innovation that have shaped the way we live. 

Sarah Cook
Automotive Hall of Fame
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