78S40243 MMS-D

By:  Craddick                                                   H.C.R. No. 6  

WHEREAS, James Ellis "Jim" Hall has enjoyed one of the most illustrious careers in the history of motor sports, and his achievements are now chronicled in an imposing new gallery at Midland's Petroleum Museum; and WHEREAS, A native Texan, Mr. Hall was born in Abilene in 1935 and studied mechanical engineering at California Institute of Technology (Caltech); he fell in love with sports car racing in college, when he began racing his brother's Austin Healy, and he continued racing after receiving his degree in 1957; and WHEREAS, In 1961, the same year he moved to Midland, Mr. Hall debuted a car built to his specifications by Tom Barnes and Dick Troutman of California; he named the sleek machine the Chaparral, and in 1962 he joined Hap Sharp in establishing Chaparral Cars; based at Rattlesnake Raceway, a private track outside of Midland, Mr. Hall designed and constructed a series of Chaparrals, whose innovations defined the cutting edge of race car technology in the 1960s and 1970s; and WHEREAS, Among the advances pioneered by Mr. Hall was the harnessing of aerodynamic down force to increase traction, an engineering breakthrough that revolutionized the sport; other celebrated developments included the use of a fiberglass chassis, composite wheels, automatic transmission, and ground effects equipment; many of the innovations Mr. Hall introduced have not only transformed auto racing but have improved passenger car safety and fuel efficiency; and WHEREAS, Chaparrals were campaigned in the United States Road Racing Challenge, Canadian American Road Racing Series, World Endurance Championships, and USAC and CART series; seated in the cockpit of a Chaparral, Johnny Rutherford won both the 1980 Indianapolis 500 and the CART series championship; and WHEREAS, While Chaparral Cars were becoming the talk of the racing world, Jim Hall was also establishing an acclaimed career as a driver; he is one of the few Americans to have ever competed in Formula One racing, having joined the British Racing Partnership for the 1963 season; in addition, he has won almost every major road racing circuit in North America, including the 1965 12 Hours of Sebring and Canadian Grand Prix, and in 1964 he claimed the U.S. Road Racing Championship; and WHEREAS, Jim Hall retired from driving in the early 1970s but continued to play a leading role in the sport as a builder and team owner/manager; with driver Brian Redman, he won the U.S. Formula A/5000 championship in 1974, 1975, and 1976, and in 1978 he teamed with driver Al Unser, Sr., to win the Triple Crown of 500-mile races--Indianapolis, Pocono, and Ontario; and WHEREAS, The numerous accolades accorded this eminent Texan include induction into the U.S. Motorsports Hall of Fame and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame; he has been named a Distinguished Alumnus by Caltech, lauded by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and recognized for the Best Engineered Car at Indy; and WHEREAS, The Petroleum Museum's Chaparral Gallery, which had its grand opening April 15-17, 2004, features Jim Hall memorabilia and all seven of the original Chaparrals; it is Mr. Hall's hope that the gallery will impress on youngsters the crucial role that math and science play in sports car racing and inspire in them a still greater appreciation for the importance of education; and WHEREAS, Jim Hall and his Chaparrals have electrified countless race fans, contributed immeasurably to the advancement of that sport, and won a lasting place for Midland in the annals of race car history; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the 78th Legislature of the State of Texas, 4th Called Session, hereby honor James Ellis "Jim" Hall for his extraordinary achievements and extend to him sincere congratulations on the opening of the Chaparral Gallery at the Petroleum Museum; and, be it further RESOLVED, That an official copy of this resolution be prepared for Mr. Hall as an expression of high regard by the Texas House of Representatives and Senate.