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Eight legends to the sport of auto racing will be inducted into the Ozarks Area Racers Reunion “Hall of Fame”, Saturday, Jan. 22, at the west E*Plex of the Ozarks Empire Fairgrounds in Springfield.
Bill Frye, Douglas County native and Midwest dirt track racer, is one of the eight notables selected for the honor this year. Frye, age 50, will be recognized Saturday evening for his outstanding career accomplishments and longstanding line of successes in the field of racing.
According to Frye, he started racing street stocks at the “old” West Plains Speedway in 1979.
In 1982, he built a new car to run the asphalt track at the fairgrounds speedway in Springfield. He won the track championship in 1983, and during the year, he also opened Frye Machine and Welding in Ava.
During his years in Ava, Frye had a host of local enthusiasts and sponsors who supported his racing activities and competitions.
The list of area patrons included – Hubert Welton, Welton Gravel; J.C. Hall’s Auto Sales and Texaco Station; Jeff Degase’s Racing Heads; Dale Davis Auto Sales; Harold Howerton’s Parts Plus Auto Parts; James & Karen Degase Farms; Otis Kresse Farms; Don Nash’s Country Feeds; Skip Thompson Wright Co. Livestock Auction; Bill Porter’s Goodyear and Garage; Valentine’s Machine and Welding; and, Fonzo & Mary Frye’s Valley View Farms.
In the fall of 1991, Frye took a giant step to become a professional racer and moved to Greenbriar, Ark. to race out of the GRT Race Cars Shop. He felt he could make a living racing late model dirt cars, and he was right. He has enjoyed an illustrious career in the racing field, a profession he continues today, as he is still racing and building cars.
On Saturday evening, Frye will be honored and inducted into the Hall of Fame, along with several others who are being recognized for their influence and contribution to the sport of racing. The inductees include: John Morris, CEO/founder, Bass Pro Shops, Springfield, Mo.; Mark Perry, Airport Speedway, Springfield, Mo.; Gerald Wilson, race car designer, Bolivar, Mo.; Steve Long, race car designer/ machinist, Lebanon, Mo; Dave Williams, race car driver, Pleasant Hope, Mo.; Steve Schahuber, race car driver, Willard, Mo.; and Rex McCroskey, race car driver, Springfield, Mo.
The Ozarks Area Racers Reunion Hall of Fame event and celebration starts at 4 p.m. on Saturday, with the induction ceremonies beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets purchased in advance are $15 for adults; children under 12 are admitted free. Tickets purchased Saturday at the E*Plex will be $20.
Tickets are available at all area O’Reilly Auto Parts, Ron’s Racing Collectibles, and Green County Damaged Freight and Food Sales.
Included in the celebration, the event will also showcase a display of race cars, new and old; thousands of vintage racing photos, trade show booths, area racetracks with 2011 race schedules, vendors, displays and more.
The professional racing career and accomplishments of Bill Frye will be highlighted in the Douglas County Herald Feb. 3. He will be featured in Reflections.