Gibbs appointed director of NHRA Motorsports Museum
Reprinted from the Jan. 30, 1998 issue of National DRAGSTER
GLENDORA, Calif. -- Steve Gibbs, who has served as NHRA's competition director for more than a quarter-century, the last 16 as vice president-
competition, will be making a major career move this season when he adds the newly appointed position of director of the NHRA Motorsports Museum to his list of responsibilities for the association.
Said Gibbs, "After nearly three decades of conducting the racing portion of NHRA's national events, this is a welcome change that I've been looking forward to for a long time. It doesn't mean that I'll be totally dropping out of the national event scene. I will continue to direct a limited number of races as I have in the past, working with other members of the competition department. I'll also continue to serve on NHRA's competition and rules committees and will work with the safety advisory groups and in other areas where my experience can be utilized."
Gibbs first became involved in drag racing when he lettered cars in the staging lanes and wrote race reports at San Gabriel Raceway in Southern California in the early 1960s. He eventually moved into a management role and later headed the operations at Irwindale and Fremont Raceways in California and at Corpus Christi Raceway in Texas, to name a few.
He joined NHRA in 1969 as advertising director for National DRAGSTER and quickly began working with then NHRA Vice President Jack Hart in conducting national events. When health problems cut back on Hart's efforts in the early 1970s, Gibbs began to take on more of Hart's duties and eventually assumed the position of competition director.
Said NHRA President Dallas Gardner, "Steve has long had a passion for the history of NHRA and the sport of drag racing. He has deep feelings about the preservation of the sport's beginnings and about growth, and it was a natural extension of his long-standing responsibility for the racing competition to oversee this new direction. While it started with a minimal amount of Steve's time and resources, it has become obvious with the formation of the NHRA Motorsports Museum that this is an undertaking requiring a full-time commitment. Steve will continue as a member of the NHRA Competition Committee and will obviously be a continuing source to assist with competition issues. I think both of these important functions are in good hands, and I think it's safe to say that without having Steve front and center on the museum, the project simply would not have happened."
NHRA founder and Board Chairman Wally Parks said, "Steve Gibbs, with his extensive background as a car enthusiast and a longtime leader in drag racing's development, is ideally qualified for the important role of directing NHRA's new Motorsports Museum. As the originator and guiding light for our annual California Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield, he has firmly established his dedication to preserving our historical vehicles.
"The NHRA Motorsports Museum at the Fairplex is the culmination of a dream shared by all of us at NHRA. Its concept offers ideal opportunities to recognize and salute the many hot-rod-related fields of motorized activity that have contributed to the development of NHRA and the drag racing sport.
"Steve's personal touch already has added valued credibility to the new undertaking — a natural result of his many years of close personal involvement with race teams, car builders, and a world of enthusiastic fans."
Gibbs, recipient of the Car Craft All-star Drag Racing Team Ollie Award in 1991, a California Hot Rod Reunion Lifetime Achievement Honoree in 1995, and a member of the selection committee of Don Garlits' International Drag Racing Hall of Fame, said, "I am eagerly looking forward to this new role of heading up the museum. When I took over Jack's role in supervising the national events, I never envisioned that it would be such a long run, and I can look back on an incredible number of positive experiences, including [forming] close relationships with the top racers and track operators across the country. But after so many years of traveling, I feel it is the right point in my life to take on a new direction, especially one with such great opportunities. I really enjoyed the 25 years or so that I spent with the competition department, and I hope to spend another 25 years with the museum."