Bechtel, Bruncati, Gordon, McCoun, Norris elected to West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame

16 Mar 2019
795 times

Four-time NASCAR premier series champion Jeff Gordon is among five competitors elected for induction into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.
 
Gordon, currently an analyst for FOX Sports’ coverage of NASCAR national series races, is the second driver to be elected to the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The Vallejo, Calif. native joins Ron Hornaday Jr., Class of 2013, in both halls of fame.
 
Also elected by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s board of directors as the Class of 2019 are NASCAR team owners Gary Bechtel and Bob Bruncati; NASCAR weekly racing series national champion Doug McCoun; and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion Eric Norris.
 
The late J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing and elected to the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2018, also will be enshrined. His induction was postponed at the request of Gibbs’ family. The organization also will induct its second Heritage class of five individuals whose careers largely ended prior to 1970. The Heritage inductees will be named in April.
 
The Class of 2019 – the hall’s 16th - will be enshrined June 20 during the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremonies, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, at the Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa, Calif. The event leads into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and K&N Pro Series West weekend at nearby Sonoma Raceway.
 
“The Board of Directors of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame is honored to recognize this diversified group of individuals who have made such significant contributions to our great sport,” said Ken Clapp, Chairman and CEO of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.

 

Gary Bechtel
  • San Francisco native Gary Bechtel formed Diamond Ridge Racing in 1992, competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West with series veteran John Krebs.
  • The team finished fourth in 1992 and third in 1994 championship standings.
  • Diamond Ridge fielded full-season entries in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series from 1994 through 1997 with Steve Grissom, Greg Sacks and Robert Pressley among others. The team’s best finish, fourth, came with Jeff Green in 1997 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
  • Diamond Ridge’s greatest success came in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, posting 10 victories with Elliott Sadler (five), Grissom (three) and Sacks and Green.
  • The team merged with Joe Gibbs Racing in 1999 with Jeff Purvis finishing sixth in the championship.
Bob Bruncati
  • Born in New York City in 1943, Bob Bruncati moved to Southern California as a young man and became interested in sports car racing with the California Sports Car Club SCCA.
  • In 2000, he formed Sunrise Ford Racing so his sons could race late model stocks at the Irwindale Events Center.
  • The owner of Ford dealerships in the San Fernando Valley and Fontana, Calif., Bruncati’s team graduated to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series in 2006.
  • Sunrise Ford Racing has competed in more than 284 events, winning 29 times and capturing series championships in 2009 (driver Jason Bowles) and 2013 and 2018 (Derek Thorn). The team’s three drivers ranked 1-2 and 6 in the 2018 championship.
  • Bruncati’s drivers have posted 14 top-five championship finishes since 2007. He has fielded cars for five Sunoco Rookies of the Year – Bowles, Luis Martinez Jr., Austin Dyne, Dylan Lupton and James Bickford.
Jeff Gordon
  • Four-time NASCAR premier series champion Jeff Gordon is the first west coast-born titleholder in NASCAR’s premier series.
  • Gordon won his first championship at age 23 in 1993, his third full season in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. He claimed back-to-back titles in 1997-98 and his final crown in 2001.
  • The Vallejo, Calif. native drove Hendrick cars to 11 top-10 championship finishes, winning 93 times in 805 starts – third all-time in NASCAR’s premier series. Gordon posted 325 top-five and 477 top-10 finishes and won 81 poles.
  • He won five NASCAR Xfinity Series races, an International Race of Champions (IROC) event in 1998 and shared the Rolex 24 at Daytona-winning Cadillac DP.i-V.R. in 2017.
  • Gordon, 47, was enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January 2019 and is an analyst for FOX Sports. His step-father, John Bickford, was elected to the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2016.
Doug McCoun
  • Doug McCoun was the first west coast driver to win a NASCAR Weekly Racing Series national championship (1985) under the contemporary points format and second to capture a NASCAR national title from the west.
  • The Prunedale, Calif. resident, driving a late model stock car owned by his father, won 27 of the 53 races he entered at Watsonville and Merced fairgrounds dirt tracks and other northern California ovals in 1985. McCoun also won the organization’s Pacific Coast Region title in 1986.
  • Competing in the NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour, McCoun, 60, finished four times among the top five in the championship, his best a pair of third-place finishes. He logged nine wins and 49 top-five and top-10 finishes in the late model touring series.
  • McCoun has been a professional firefighter in Monterey (Calif.) County for three decades.  
 Eric Norris
  • Eric Norris of Redondo Beach, Calif. balanced a career in the entertainment industry with a successful stint in NASCAR racing.
  • Norris, the youngest son of actor and martial arts champion Chuck Norris, won the 2002 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship.
  • He competed in the series from 1996 through 2012, posting three wins, two poles, 18 top-five and 32 top-10 finishes.
  • The majority of his success came in Ultra Wheels Fords, owned by West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Class of 2010 inductee Jim Smith.
  • Norris, 53, also competed in the NASCAR Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck series. Norris has acted in a number of motion pictures and television productions as well as working as stuntman, stunt coordinator and second and main unit director.

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