John Cardinale to be Inducted in West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame
Long-time Sonoma Raceway spokesman John Cardinale will be inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame later this month.
Cardinale and five other honorees will be inducted during a gala event at the Meritage Resort in Napa on Thursday, June 25, in conjunction with the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR weekend at Sonoma Raceway, June 26-28.
Cardinale, who passed away from gastric cancer in 2013, joined the raceway in 1998 and quickly established himself as one of the most respected representatives within the motorsports industry. He was promoted to Vice President of Media and Community Relations in 2003 and was well known for creative media stunts, including driver ride-alongs with the California Highway Patrol and driving race cars across the Golden Gate Bridge. Cardinale also bolstered the raceway's community profile through community events, including food drives, blood drives and holiday parties for families in need. He also served as Vice President of Communications & Marketing from 2007-2012.
Cardinale was frequently recognized for his efforts, including being named NASCAR Track PR Representative of the Year in 2009, and posthumously receiving the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Spirit Award in May 2013.
"Within the industry, John Cardinale was recognized among the best in his profession. Those of us who were fortunate to work with him on a daily basis remember his energy, his integrity, his creative spark, his sense of humor and his loyal friendship," said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president and general manager. "We are grateful to the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame for honoring John as one of this year's inductees."
Joining Cardinale in the 2015 West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame class are a NASCAR driver, two crew chiefs and two team owners: Jerry Baxter is a crew chief at Kyle Busch Motorsports; late NASCAR driver Jason Leffler; late team owner Warren Razore; former Dale Earnhardt crew chief Doug Richert and team owner and race promoter Jim Williams.
"John called me in 1998 when he was working at a newspaper in the East Bay, and said he was looking to move over to PR. So, I called Steve Page and I said 'there's a young fellow named John Cardinale, and I think he's worth interviewing,'" said Ken Clapp, Hall of Fame board chairman. "If I had to pick among the few people I've recommended and didn't let me down, John would be among the top of that list. As far as I'm concerned, John was the best executive PR person for any major speedway in America."
The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, which inducted its inaugural class in 2002, was founded in 2001. It memorializes significant contributors to the sport's development and history - including designers, engineers, mechanics, drivers, racetrack owners, promoters, publicists and members of the motorsports media.
For additional information about the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, please visit www.WestCoastStockCarHallofFame.com. To obtain details about table sponsorship for the 2015 awards dinner, visit westcoaststockcarhalloffame.com/events/ or contact Jenniffer Wentzel at 623-463-5400.