Patrick Sullivan to be inducted into National Sprint Car Hall of Fame
January 31, 2017
Patrick Sullivan on the racetrack.
Patrick Sullivan, a professor in the School of Social Work, has received a good number of honors and awards during his career.
But no one at Indiana University is likely to be able to match his latest accolade: Sullivan has been named to the Class of 2017 that will be inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame during its 28th annual ceremonies June 3 in Knoxville, Iowa. Sullivan made his way into the hallowed halls of racing fame in the "Promoters-Officials-Media Members" category.
As noted in a letter recommending him for the honor, Sullivan first took the microphone in 1990 as PA announcer at I-44 Speedway and Bolivar Speedway USA, both located in Missouri. That fateful step began a career in motorsports media that has now spanned more than 25 years.
A native of Kansas City, Kansas, Sullivan managed to parallel his passion for auto racing with his primary career as an educator and writer in the field of mental health. He earned his Ph.D. in 1989 at the University of Kansas and began his teaching career at Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri.
When Sullivan joined the faculty at the IU School of Social Work at IUPUI, he landed in the well-known hotbed of open-wheel racing, and his racing career blossomed. He was soon lead announcer with the UMRA TQ-midget series, thanks to a reference from his friend Tony Stewart, in 1993 and 1994. In 1993, he also began his ongoing tenure on the microphone at Indiana's Bloomington Speedway alongside Brad Dickison.
From that point, it seemed that Sullivan's distinctive voice was a constant presence at prominent open-wheel races. He is one of the most prolific announcers in USAC history, with an estimated 400 USAC feature races conducted while he was on the microphone. He has held announcing roles at a great number of tracks, including Kokomo Speedway, the Terre Haute Action Track, Salem Speedway, 16th Street Speedway and Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis (formerly Indianapolis Raceway Park).
From 1997 to 2005, Sullivan was on the microphone at more than 100 Indy Racing League events. He has served with the news bureau at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for 23 years, moderating countless interviews and press conferences.
Sullivan's writing career is also extensive and spans nearly two decades, beginning with Open Wheel Magazine in 1999. He is currently a columnist and feature writer with Sprint Car and Midget Magazine. He has covered, in detailed fashion, racing in earlier eras as well as contemporary activity, penning a significant volume of highly regarded stories and articles.
Teaming with John Mahoney and Bob Gates in 1998, Sullivan authored "Dirt Road to a Silver Crown," an extensive history of the USAC Silver Crown series. He was also a major contributor to "USAC -- 50 Years of Speed and Glory," the definitive history of the noted series.
His many awards and honors include the Tony Hulman Award from the National Association of Auto Racing Fan Clubs (2000), the USAC Special Recognition Award (2003), the Hoosier Auto Racing Fans Media Award (1998), the Gene Powlen Fan Appreciation Award (1998) and the PA Announcer of the Year Award (2007). Sullivan also received the Media Member of the Year award from the National Sprint Car Poll in 2002, 2005 and 2006.