DATE OF INDUCTION: February 9, 2008
CAREER SPAN: 1972–2002
BRANDS RACED: Arctic Cat
AGE AT INDUCTION: Posthumous
A creative, innovative engineer from Coon Rapids, Minnesota who epitomized the “independent” racer/tuner, Clayton Neuman began his storied career in snowmobile drag racing in 1972 and continued for more than 30 years. He was as passionate about drag racing as he was creative in his engineering approach, combining the two with great success at all levels, including the ISR World Series of Drags, MSDRA and events across North America.
Starting with a 1972 Puma, Neuman’s fascination with high-performance was borne on a 1972 Arctic Cat Puma, which was heavily modified and raced by his younger brother, Lloyd, beginning a long run of the family-based Neuman team. Always searching for higher performance, Clayton ran a series of more powerful machines before building his custom 1977 Z 250, which featured crankcase induction mounted on the front of the engine, revised port designs and other ideas of his own creation. Driven by his son Steve, this machine dominated the 250 Mod class for many years.
In 1990 Clayton built an experimental 800cc, opposed four-cylinder engine that served as a test bed for new ideas and was raced with great success by the Neuman team. Along with brothers Lloyd, Gordon and Frank, he made the Neuman Race Team a household name in snowmobile drag racing, and one whose legacy is more than just winning races, but also a friendly, family-oriented approach and smart, clever sled building. Clayton learned of his induction just weeks before dying of cancer at age 73.