Dick Harrell was one of the most important individuals in the early history of both Funny Car and Pro Stock racing, to say nothing of his important work in establishing, yes establishing the Muscle Car marketplace that's still boom today.
During Harrell's tenure in Funny Car racing he "made" Chevrolets synonymous with drag racing because he stuck with Chevy-power when many others had already switched to the ubiquitous Chrysler Hemi engine for motivation. Harrell was a standout on the old American Hot Rod Association circuit, where he made such a name for himself that his reputation as a superior driver and tuner continues into this new century.
But, as the cars became faster and faster a funny thing happened on Harrell's way to immortality. He began to realize that what would eventually become Pro Stock had a lot of appeal to both the racers and, most importantly, the fans. Harrell was at the forefront of the movement that ultimately convinced AHRA founder/president Jim Tice that a heads-up class featuring "pump gasoline" and carburetors would attract a number of "name" competitors, and that's exactly what happened. Through Harrell's diligence and dedication competitors like "Dandy Dick" Landy, "Fast Eddie" Schartman, Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins and "Dyno Don" Nicholson soon became a regular part of the Grand American Series races. It was as a result of this type of competition that NHRA ultimately "adopted" what had been known as "Super Stock" and turned it into Pro Stock.
On the Muscle Car front Harrell was instrumental in the development of a whole series of big block-powered Camaros and Novas that scorched the nation's highways and byways from Van Nuys to New York City. In essence what Harrell did was to build "better" cars than were then coming out of Chevrolet and the rest is history. Those cars remain highly prized today, thanks to the magic of the Dick Harrell name.
Deserving of Hall of Fame induction? Of that there is no doubt.
Update: Dick Harrell "Mr. Chevrolet" inducted March 10, 2010.