FORT WORTH, Texas -- Two-time NASCAR champion Terry Labonte
and drag racing great Lee Shepherd were inducted into the Texas
Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Labonte and Shepherd, both native Texans, were among six
honorees at the Hall of Fame's second awards banquet Wednesday
Labonte, running part-time on the Nextel Cup series this year
and next before retiring as a driver, won the 1984 and 1996 Cup
championships. After running local stock car races in his hometown
of Corpus Christi, "Texas Terry'' went on to NASCAR in 1978. He
will race Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.
Shepherd won four straight National Hot Rod Association
championships from 1981-84 before he was killed in a testing
accident in Oklahoma in March 1985. From 1980-84, he reached the
finals in 44 of 56 NHRA national events, winning 26 of them.
Lloyd Ruby was given the Bruton Smith Legends award. Ruby, a
Wichita Falls native, won seven national championship Indy Car
races from 1961-70.
The Sportsmanship Award was presented to Pattie and Kyle Petty
for their philanthropic spirit. Kyle Petty's annual charity ride
has raised more than $3 million since 1994, and last year the
couple oversaw the opening of the Victory Junction Gang Camp for
ill and disabled children.
University of Nebraska researcher and Texas A&M graduate Dean
Sicking, who designed the SAFER Barrier, or so-called "soft
walls'', was presented the Vision Award.
The TMS racer of the year was defending IndyCar Series champion
Tony Kanaan, who won the IRL race at Texas in June and then capped
his championship season with a runner-up finish in the season
finale at the track.