Off-road racing has a rich history, and so does the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. In 1967, Ed Pearlman formed the first recognized sanctioning body dedicated to exclusively to off-road racing – The National Off-Road Racing Association (NORRA). The inaugural event produced by NORRA was the Mexican 1000 – soon to become the legendary Baja 1000.
After Pearlman stepped back from the role of off-road racing promotion, he dedicated his energy to recognizing and honoring those who had greatly contributed to the sport. In January 1976 at the annual Off-Road Equipment Association (OREA) banquet, he inducted the first 16-members which included off-road including Parnelli Jones, Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Don Francisco. Despite Pearlman’s noble attempts to properly honor the sport and its inductees, finding a credible permanent home was virtually impossible.
Enter Rod Hall – In 1995, racing legend Rod Hall acquired the remaining assets and name rights of NORRA. Sifting through Pearlman’s documents, he came across his vision to establish a permanent home for a hall of fame. Intrigued, Hall brought the concept to Gordon Horsley – board member of the National Automobile Museum (NAM). A home within the NAM emerged and a strong board of directors and advisors was assembled with a clear mission. Now, 30 years after the journey began, determination, care, and strong leadership has made that vision a reality