On Oct. 15-16, Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed marked the opening of the Herzog Motorsports Racing Collection with a two-day celebration commemorating the Herzog family’s legacy in the sport and kicked off a long-term display of iconic cars and trucks that raced under the Herzog Motorsports banner in the 1980s through the 2000s. Festivities included a private gala Friday evening, ground-breaking ceremony, and public celebration Saturday during Cars & Coffee.
Renowned motorsports reporter Rick Benjamin served as M.C. for the weekend’s festivities which included screenings of clips from the one-hour documentary, “Patrons of Horsepower,” produced by Benjamin that aired on the FOX Sports networks earlier this month, and panel discussions with racing legends who competed under the Herzog banner.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who joined Herzog Motorsports in 1996 and raced for them in off-road, American Speed Association (ASA) and NASCAR competition through 2001, took part in the celebration.
“Bill, Stan and Randy are like fathers to me. I spent so much time with them, at the start of my professional career which they had so much to do with. I was very fortunate to know the right people in the beginning and that opened the right doors for me,” said Johnson. “I’m excited to see them honored with the opening of the Herzog Motorsports Racing Collection at Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed.”
A number of other motorsports legends who raced under the Herzog Motorsports banner also participated in the celebration, including George Wagenblast, Dave Mason, Danny Ashcraft, Scott Douglas and Larry Ragland. Herb Fishel, head of GM Racing at the time, also gave tribute.
The exhibit, which is part of a 90,000-square-foot expansion, features Herzog memorabilia, race vehicles including Baja and Pikes Peak-winning trucks, as well as Johnson’s NASCAR Busch Series and ASA Monte Carlos. The vehicles on display include:
· 1989 Ford Bronco II Baja Truck, driven by Danny Ashcraft
· 1998 Chevrolet Silverado Vortec Baja Truck
· 2000 Chevrolet Trailblazer Vortec Baja Truck – winner of the 2000 Baja 500 and 3rd overall in the Baja 1000 in
· GMC Jimmy Vortec Pikes Peak Truck, driven by Larry Ragland – Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Overall
Winner in 2000
· 1999 ASA NASCAR #44 Pennzoil Monte Carlo, driven by Jimmie Johnson – 1st win in a season where he
racked up two wins and finished 3rd in the series
· 2000 NASCAR Busch Series No. 92 AllTel Monte Carlo, driven by Jimmie Johnson
· 2001 NASCAR Busch Series No. 92 Excedrin Monte Carlo, driven by Jimmie Johnson
· 1957 Chevy Gasser, from Stan Herzog’s personal collection – featured on the cover of the August 2000 issue
of Hot Rod Magazine and formerly owned by baseball great and classic car collector Reggie Jackson
· 1966 Pontiac Catalina, from Randy Herzog’s personal collection
“It’s such an honor to see the Herzog Motorsports racing legacy and some of the first vehicles I ever raced on display at the Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed,” Johnson added.
A ground-breaking ceremony was also held Saturday during Cars & Coffee. In addition to the in-kind contribution and donations of collections, the museum has received significant financial commitments for the expansion from Herzog Motorsports, LeRoy Beyers and Speedway Motors.