Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed celebrated 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 emcee for the weekend’s festivities which included screenings of clips from the one-hour documentary, Patrons of Horsepower, that aired on the FOX network earlier this month and panel discussions with racing legends that raced 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 Jimmie 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 racings legends who raced under the Herzog Motorsports banner also participated in the celebration including George Wagenblast, Dave Mason, Danny Ashcraft, Scott Douglas, Larry Ragland and Herb Fishel.
This exhibit, which is part of a 90,000 square foot expansion announced earlier this month, 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 2000
GMC Jimmy Vortec Pikes Peak Truck, driven by Larry Ragland- Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Overall Winner in 2000
1999 ASA NASCAR #44 Pennnzoil 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 #92 AllTel Monte Carlo, driven by Jimmie Johnson
2001 NASCAR Busch Series #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 groundbreaking 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.
“The new addition will allow us to add enhanced displays for NASCAR, off-road racing and growing our already popular land speed drag racing and custom show car displays,” said Tim Matthews, curator Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed. “We are excited to kick that off with the Herzog Motorsports Racing Collection honoring the Herzog family and their legacy in racing history.”
Recognized earlier this year as the #1 Attraction for Car Lovers in USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice awards, Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed is currently home to over 150,000 square feet of display space over three levels. The Museum was formed to present a continuous chronology of automotive racing engine and speed equipment development and to preserve, interpret and display items significant in racing and automotive history. The Museum’s collection results from “Speedy” Bill and Joyce Smith’s personal involvement in racing and hot rodding, and their family’s lifelong passion for collecting and preserving racing and automotive history.
The Museum also features many other unique displays including the largest collection of vintage pedal cars, gas-powered miniature race cars, automobile-themed toys, automotive art, lunchboxes and more.
For more information about Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed, museum hours or displays, visit www.museumofamericanspeed.com