Motor Sports

More hall of fame recognition for local legend Jim Walker

Photo by Matthew J. Sullivan – Jim Walker

For the second time in less than six months, local racing legend Jim Walker is being inducted into a hall of fame.

In November, the Ferndale driver was named as one of six members of the inaugural Redwood Acres Raceway Hall of Fame class, and this week it was announced that he will be inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.

Walker is part of the hall’s 2022 Heritage class and will be among 12 honorees who will be celebrated at Sonoma Raceway’s new VIP/Hospitality Complex on June 9.

Walker first began racing locally at the Redwood Acres Raceway in the late 1960s and was a three-time super stock champion on the dirt between 1970-1972. 

Later in the decade, Walker moved his focus to racing at big money events at tracks up and down the west coast. He was able to make a seamless transition from dirt to asphalt and won the Permatex 300 his highest profile victory at Riverside International Raceway in January 1976 in what is now NASCAR’s Xfinity Series.

The 70s and 80s saw the boom of open competition late model racing with the top drivers of the west coast and beyond regularly showing up and Walker was a contender to win in every event he started. 

He was the winner of the 1977 Rose Classic at All American Speedway and a two-time winner at Shasta Speedway in the NorCal 150 and Western 150. 

Walker also won the 1977 NASCAR Winston West Old Milwaukee 100 at Shasta, and in 1984 he took home five wins in the nine-race All Pro West Series.

In the late 80s, Walker shifted his focus back to racing locally and took back-to-back championships on the new pavement at Redwood Acres Raceway in 1988 and 1989. 

Walker maintained his excellence through the 90s and 2000s as a regular winner and front runner in numerous late model touring and open competition races in the region.

Throughout his career, Walker maintained a fan base that is virtually unmatched in short track racing and he was a fan-favorite everywhere he went with his blue and silver No. 48 car. 

Fans respected him for his clean driving behind the wheel and his humility and humbleness outside of the car. 

He will be inducted with a very strong class that also includes Art Atkinson, Phil Casey, Ron Esau, Phil Hill, Ken Sapper, Greg Biffle, Garrett Evans, Brendan Gaughan, David Gilliland, John Moore and Jimmy Sills.

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