Jim McElreath

JIM McELREATH had been racing locally in Texas over a period of 15 years before venturing north to run International Motor Contest Association sprint cars in August 1960. He won the prestigious Little 500 at Anderson, Indiana, in 1961 and added five International Motor Contest Association feature wins before switching to United States Auto Club sanctioned races during the summer of 1961. McElreath won the first two races at Langhorne, Pennsylvania, after it was paved in 1965, as well as the spring races at the Trenton Speedway (New Jersey) in 1965 and Phoenix International Raceway (Arizona) in 1966. In his 15 starts at the Indianapolis 500, he won the Rookie of the Year title with a sixth-place finish in 1962 (he ran as high as second), placed third in 1966, and had four other finishes of sixth or higher. He was runner-up to Mario Andretti for the 1966 United States Auto Club National Championship and was its third ranking driver in 1963, 1965, and 1970. McElreath made history in 1970 by winning the first-ever Ontario 500 in Ontario, California. In 1971, the first year 100-mile dirt track races were removed from the United States Auto Club National Championship circuit and placed into a separate series, McElreath won the opener at the Nazareth Speedway (Pennsylvania), and was runner-up for the inaugural season’s championship. He had 16 other finishes of either second or third, including second in the 1979 Pocono 500 (Pennsylvania). He ranked eighth or higher in the final championship standings seven times.

Year Inducted: 2014