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SEMA Hall of Fame Pays Tribute to Three Pioneers

Bill Perry
Bill Perry
Bill Perry, Rolan “Jeep” Worthan and Henry “Smokey” Yunick will be inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame, an elite group of industry innovators who have played a key role in shaping the automotive specialty-equipment market.

"The SEMA industry is built by hard-working men and women who share a deep passion and love for the automotive hobby," said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. "The SEMA Hall of Fame honors and pays tribute to those extraordinary individuals who have made a significant impact in advancing and growing the market."

Since 1969, the SEMA Hall of Fame has paid homage to the leaders and innovators who have contributed to the health and success of the automotive specialty-equipment market. Honorees include businessmen, government officials, race-car drivers and entrepreneurs.

"This year's inductees include three outstanding individuals," said Kersting. "When you learn about their histories and how they have impacted this industry, it's clear to see why they are being honored."

Jeep Worthan
Rolan “Jeep” Worthan
Bill Perry: Perry was serving his third consecutive term as a SEMA Board member when he passed away earlier this year. Before opening his own rep agency in 1985, Perry worked at a jobber store selling parts. A member of several organizations, Bill Perry & Associates instantly became one of the industry’s most successful and respected agencies. His company has been honored with the SEMA Manufacturers’ Representative of the Year award, and Perry was the recipient of the 2008 MRC (Manufacturers’ Representatives Council) Hall of Fame award.

Rolan “Jeep” Worthan: When Worthan joined Auto Meter in 1974, he worked in the sales department. However, as a long-time enthusiast and innovator, Worthan quickly moved to other areas of the business and soon found himself out on the race tracks developing new products for what is now a leading manufacturer of automotive performance instrumentations and gauges. Worthan continued to be an advocate for the industry and has served on the SEMA Board of Directors 16 years.

Smokey Yunick
Henry “Smokey” Yunick (middle) at the 1962 Daytona 500. —Photo Courtesy of General Motors
Henry “Smokey” Yunick: Already a member of more than 30 Hall of Fames throughout the world, Yunick—who passed away in 2001—was a world-renowned mechanic, car designer and racer. By the end of his racing career, Yunick’s teams included 50 of the most famous drivers in the sport, winning 57 races and two Grand National championships. He also became a member of Chevrolet’s unofficial factory race team and headed NASCAR efforts for Ford and Pontiac. Much of the high-performance development of the Chevrolet small-block engine involved Yunick in design, testing—or both.

The Hall of Fame inductees will be officially recognized at the SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, Saturday, August 1, 2009, at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California. The event, which is part of SEMA’s Leadership Days program, includes dinner and includes the formal induction of the newly elected SEMA Board members. Tickets and details are available at, or may be obtained from Lisa Moreno at, 909/396-0289, ext. 105.