National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum
The museum, which is open seven days a week year-round, with the exception of New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, is located in Knoxville, Iowa, USA, the home of the Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Raceway.
The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum Foundation, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the state of Iowa on April 25, 1986, for the sole purpose of preserving the history of the sport of sprint car racing and honoring its greatest achievers. It is currently in its twentieth full year of being open to the public. The $1.7-million facility, located on the Marion County Fairgrounds in Knoxville, officially opened on January 4, 1992.
The first floor of the four-story structure features the Donald Lamberti National Sprint Car Museum, a museum store and the administrative offices. The museum currently has twenty-five (25) restored ‘big cars’, supermodifieds and sprint cars on loan. The 8,000-square-foot (740 m2) exhibit space also contains displays of trophies, paintings, photos, plaques, helmets and other memorabilia of the sport of sprint car racing.
The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum’s “Salute to Champion Tony Stewart” special exhibition, featuring six of his championship-winning race cars, is set to debut on Tuesday, August 2, 2011, in Knoxville. The one-time special exhibition, which includes his 1995 United States Auto Club (USAC) midget car, sprint car and Silver Crown car, 1997 Indy Racing League (IRL) Indy Car, 2005 NASCAR stock car, and 2006 International Race of Champions (IROC) car, will be on display until December 31. The NSCHoF&M "Salute to Champion Tony Stewart" is presented by the Goodyear Tire & Service Network. The “Salute to Champions” series of special exhibitions is a two-year program, timed to coincide with the non-profit museum foundation’s “Expand the Dream” fundraising effort, which will enhance museum attendance, web site traffic, and on-line museum store sales at www.sprintcarhof.com with its exclusive line of “Salute to Champions” apparel.
The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame presented by the Pella Rolscreen Foundation is located on the second floor. The Hall of Fame honors outstanding achievers in the sport of ‘big car’ and sprint car racing, including those in the driver, owner/mechanic and promoter/sanctioning official/media member categories. The entire nomination and election process is carried out by the 72-member National Induction Committee, which consists of media members, historians and representatives of the major oldtimers organizations from across the United States. The twenty-third National Sprint Car Hall of Fame induction weekend takes place on June 1-2-3, 2012, with the NSCHoF induction banquet to be held on Saturday afternoon on the Marion County Fairgrounds. Also located on the second floor are a Library & Research Center and a 40-seat Theater, made possible by a gift from U.S. Smokeless Tobacco, an Altria company. In addition, the second floor contains a catering kitchen, an administrative office, a large conference and banquet facility and a 150-seat Clubhouse for race-viewing on individual nights.
The top two floors of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum facility provide outstanding views from turn number two of the legendary half-mile dirt track. The twenty skyboxes offer 400 patrons a unique setting in which to view the weekly sprint car racing action at Knoxville Raceway. Including the museum’s Marion County Fair Tower of suites, Knoxville Raceway now boasts 25,500 permanent seats and 52 suites.
Initial and on-going funding for the museum’s operating, endowment and benevolent funds have come from the Rolscreen Foundation of the Pella Corporation, the Iowa Department of Economic Development, Donald Lamberti and Casey’s General Stores, the Marion County Fair Association, the City of Knoxville, the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, the James S. Campbell Estate, the museum store and its on-line web site, admissions, the leasing of the suites and a series of grass-roots donor programs. Some of the more successful museum-benefit fundraising programs have included the “A Brick at a Time” program, the annual and lifetime membership programs (with the biennial GMP/R&R “Members Only” vintage die-cast promotion), large biennial sprint car raffles (Eagle/Ott #9 sprint car currently under development), auctions (Tulsa Chili Bowl, Skagit Dirt Cup, Eldora Kings Royal, Knoxville Nationals, Williams Grove National Open, Knoxville Late Model Nationals) and golf tournaments (Knoxville Nationals, and affiliations with Chico Gold Cup and Kevin Gobrecht Memorial). 2011 marks the continuation of the successful “Hall of Fame Night at the Races” series around the country, featuring the museum’s United traveling cargo trailer pulled by the McCroskey Chevrolet pick-up truck.
G.Wayne Hall of Texas was the museum foundation’s first executive director (1988–89), followed by Thomas J. Schmeh of upstate New York (1989-2008), and Bob Baker of Missouri (2008–present). Currently, the executive director is Bob Baker, the curator is Thomas J. Schmeh, the administrative assistant is Lori DeMoss, and the interim special events coordinator is David Herrmann. Part-time employees include customer service representatives Blanche Kingrey, Sharon Spaur, Kathy Allen and maintenance representative Garry Van Waardhuizen. Doug Lockin is the part-time gift planning consultant. The museum is governed by a 9-member board of directors and a 21-member advisory board of directors.
The educational museum is open seven days a week, year-round, with the following hours: 10 am – 6 pm, Monday through Friday; Noon – 5 pm, Saturday; and Noon – 5 pm, Sunday. The museum is closed on New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Admission is four dollars per adult, three dollars per student or senior citizen, with children under the age of five being free. Group discounts are also available.