CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A newly formed organization is looking to honor residents who contributed to the state's rich history of drag racing.
A group of car enthusiasts from around the Kanawha Valley who share a love of the sport and a desire to see its legacy preserved formed the West Virginia Drag Racer Hall of Fame earlier this year.
The group plans to induct its inaugural class of 13 members this October at the 8th annual Charleston Boulevard Rod Run & Doo Wop car show. Inductees will be recognized during a ceremony and presented with a plaque.
The hall of fame doesn't yet have a physical location. But several auto-related businesses around Charleston have offered wall space in their establishments to display a plaque listing the inductees as well as other drag racing memorabilia and artifacts.
Jim Winter, 59, of Winfield, is one of the organization's co-founders. He said many of the sport's most significant contributors are getting older or have already died.
Winter said the group founded the hall of fame in an effort to make sure the sport's veterans and legends are honored personally - before it's too late.
"Let's recognize the older guys before we lose them," Winter said. "We've already lost three or four this year. Surrounding states have had hall of fames for some time, and it seems like we were just kind of behind the eight ball."
Co-founder Gary Jarvis, 59, of Fraziers Bottom, said many members of the state's drag racing community have been looking for a way to properly acknowledge their forefathers for some time.
"Everyone said, 'What took you so long? You should have done this 15, 20 years ago,'" he said.
Jarvis and Winter - who co-founded the organization along with three other local car lovers - have been friends for many years.
They met while working at Union Carbide. Jarvis worked in research and development, and Winter was a chemist.
Winter said they collaborated on many projects together and discovered their shared enthusiasm for drag racing and collecting pieces of Americana memorabilia.