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Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame Welcomes New Inductees

Image courtesy KMHoF Facebook

The 2019 class of inductees to the Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame will be honored at a ceremony scheduled for November 2, 2019 at the Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum in downtown Central City.

The nine inductees, all either born in or long-time residents of Kentucky, come from different sectors of the motorsports world, but all have made major impacts on the sport.

Having spent much of his time on the Ohio River and other waterways of the USA, hydroplane racer Jim McCormick brings Hollywood status to the Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame. The Owensboro born racer was the central character upon whom the movie "Madison" was based. He was the first ever to score back to back wins in the boat from the other side of the river named Miss Madison.

oining McCormick in the class of 2019 is drag racing duo Bill Thornberry and Tom Seigle. The Louisville gentlemen began racing in 1964 and continued to field drag racing cars they built until 1987. They were among the first to field an all-aluminum block racing engine and were known for their workmanship in building early chassis for competition. A career highlight came in 1976 in IHRA Dixie Nationals competition, when they beat legendary racer Don Garlits in semi-final action before losing in the finals.

Mike Libs' fascination with and love for straight strips of asphalt led to his taking a committed group of friends from drag strip to drag strip to officiate and facilitate drag racing events in a uniform manner. Forming their own traveling series, these officials brought a unified setting to the sport and established a standard within the state. For his forward-thinking and commitment, Libs is being inducted with a Visionary designation to the Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Engine building Ira Jackson Cornett of Somerset, better known as Red, had his hands directly on the advancement of motorsports in Kentucky. His motor building dedication and expertise reached every form of motorsports in Kentucky and his unmatched product powered racers and teams not only in the continental USA, but across the world. From farm tractors in pulling competition to some of the fastest drag and stock cars racing, the Cornett name has become a standard engine name other builders try to match. The Somerset-based Cornett Racing Engines continues today as a leader in their field in memory of Red, who passed in 2012.

Joe Keller of Louisville joins the list of inductees after a lifetime of drag racing and street rodding involvement since 1956. Known as an expert wirer in building cars, Keller was a founding member of the a street rodder group in Louisville and served as an NSRA safety inspector and State Representative.

Three previously announced inductees - Jake Gibson, Benitta Rusell and Chris Harmon of Brooks - will be celebrated and inducted in the soon-to-open new Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum.