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Honoring the great Drag Racers of the day from 1900 to 1973

HARRY HAPPENINGS.................click here

Hubert Platt........gone September 26, 2015

We lost another great racer this week Hubert Platt. Hubert was diagnosed with liver and gallbladder cancer this past June before passing on September 26th.

Platt campaigned a series of Fords from Stockers, Super Stockers, Pro Stock and Funny Cars throughout the years and was one of the first to receive the now fabled 1968 Mustang Cobra Jets. Platt started his racing career in the late 1960 shoeing a 1938 (A/G and B/G) and then 1957 Chevrolet for the Terminal Transport Team, prior to becoming "Dyno" Don Nicholson's teammate driving a 409 Chevrolet in 1962, then a 1963 Z-11 Impala. After that he had a connection with Ford Motor Company and raced many different Ford products.

In later years, Hubert attended many events and reminisced with fans, plus racing buddies that he raced during his heydey! (9/26/2015)




Lamar Walden....gone August 28, 2015

Lamar Walden well known racer and undoubtedly the King of the Chevrolet "W" engines passed away on August 28th. Lamar is the only racer we know of that had one of the original 1969 COPO Camaro and then the new COPO in a 2012 model. Lamar performed magic with the 348-409 engines for over fifty years and holds the all-time record at 7.17 seconds at 196 mph for a 409 powered Pro Mod Chevrolet!

Throughout the years, Lamar kept tweaking the old W engine and developed an all aluminum 509/409 based on a Bill Mitchell Products casting.

In 2014, DRHOF.com's, Harry Laplatte spent some time with Lamar at his shop in Georgia and in Harry's words was magical. Lamar had one of the first 265 cubic inch Chevrolet engines on display, dated 1954. (9/20/2015)

Bill "Maverick"Golden passes................

Bill Golden, a.k.a. "Maverick," passed away this past week. Bill well known as the father of the wheel stander, "the Little Red Wagon" started his racing career back in the early fifties campaigning a new 1958 Dodge, then moving on to a series of Cross-Ram Mopars until 1964 when he received one of the first A990 426 Hemi Dodges. In late 1964, Bill was invited to Chrysler head quarters, in Detroit, where Frank Wylie (Chrysler's chief of public relations) proposed the opportunity to drive there companies A100 pickup with a Hemi engine in the rear. Chrysler actually built the truck to run A/FX, but the truck had the tendency to lift the front wheels in the lights! In early testing, the truck did break the national record for A/FX. Bill brought the truck back to California where they ended up using it for match-races and exploit the "wheelie truck". and so they say the rest is history. Bill from being the King of the Dodge Super Stocks to the King of wheelstanders.

Having known Bill throughout the years can only say, he was always a gentleman and one of the great performers on a drag strip. Bill made time for his fans stopping to chat and explain the intricacies of the "Little Red Wagon"

to all that would listen. Over the years, there were several "Little Red Wagons" probablt four or five, while the original truck was destroyed in 1975 crash. On a side note; the original wrecked truck is owned by a guy in Allentown, PA.

So we lose another legend from the era and as they say "God speed" to a gentleman and great person! (9/15/2015)

Bill Golden (far lane) racing the Hot Rod Magazine SS/SA Dodge and driven by Brock Yates in 1962. Look at Bill looking over at Yates with just about a fender lead!

Paul Rossi DRHOF.com 2015 Inductee

Paul Rossi along with Dan Dvorak were chosen as 2016 DRHOF.com inductees, but after the initial tally of votes Harry Laplatte chose to slide both Dan and Paul into the class of 2015. Harry has been in constant contact with both racers so amidst their prodding the decision was quite easy with both racer's credentials speaking for themselves.

Paul Rossi a longtime drag racer running a series of Hemi Mopars along with a stint in a Mercury Comet in the 1960's and 1970' (1976 NHRA Super/Stock runner-up), before moving on to compete in IMSA (International Motorsports Association), where he scored five wins. Paul also ran at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb claiming four wins. (8/24/2015)


Dan Dvorak DRHOF.com 2015 inductee..................

Drag Race Hall of Fame.com's Harry Laplatte had a successful trip up north making inductee presentations to Neal Hinkle and the Napp Family (Raceway Park, Englishtown, NJ) prior to his return back home in Florida. On the trip back, Harry stopped by the shop on Mopar maven Dan Dvorak at his Waldo, FL shop. Harry along with DRHOF.com Florida representative, Steve Ritter (left) presented Dan's plaque to him. Dan, needless to say is one of the countries standout Mopar engine builders and authorities on 1960's Plymouth's and Dodges. (8/20/2015)

DRHOF.com awards presentation at RACEWAY PARK

The 2015 awards were presented to a a few of the inductees at Raceway Park's "Old Time Drags" event this past Sunday. On hand was Neal Hinkle from Allentown, PA along with his family and several pieces of his former Corvette Altered. Neal also campaigned a injected Nova Funny Car. 1989 Funny Car World Champion, Bruce Larson, accepted the Inductee plaque for Stanley C. Shoppel who passed away earlier this year. Bruce will deliver the plaque to Stanley's wife shortly on his return to his Dauphin, PA home. Walter Frey, the track manager at Raceway Park, accepted the plaque for the Napp Family, the owners of the well-known race facility (Raceway Park Englishtown, NJ). Thanks to John McCartney from Raceway Park for sending us the photo of Harry Laplatte and Neal Hinkle during the on track awards presentations.

Still to receive plaques are Mike Summers, Dan Davorak, Joseph Gerdelman and Paul Rossi. Paul sent a message saying, how much being inducted meant to him. DRHOF.com's Harry Laplatte will deliver his plaque at an event later this year. (7/27/15)

Final class of 2015 inductees selected..........

Final candidates chosen for the 2015 Drag Race Hall of Fame.com inductees. Along with Mike Summers, Joseph Gerdelman and Stanley C. Shoppel two other outstanding candidates are now included for 2015. Neal Hinkle a former racer from the Allentown, PA area and the Napp Family who built and operate the well-known Oldbridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ. Neal raced for many years concentrating his racing endeavors in the Pennsylvania area at tracks like Vargo, Pocono Drag Lodge, Numidia, Island Dragway (NJ) and Maple Grove Raceway. Neal campaigned a 1961 Corvette in B/SP, a 58' Corvette C/A and the former "Jungle Jim" 1969 Chevy II as a B/A. Neal still dables with cars operating Neil's Performance Center, in Allentown, PA.

The last inductee for 2015 is the Napp Family, who built and operate Raceway Park in NJ. The track has been one of the most historic tracks on the east coast throughout the 1960's and onward. Vinny and Richard, who have both passed away have left the track in the capable hands of sons Michael, Alex and David.

We are happy to the include Mike Summers as previously announced as well. Mike well known on the east coast at many tracks and by many racers is by far one of the best starters in the country and track prep technicians. His dedication to his craft, which includes track preparation and attention to detail with safety of the racer prominently and always his number one priority. Mike's initial dabblings in drag racing go way back as a crewman on Carl Ruth's TA/FC in the early 80's, prior to the becoming the Chief Starter at Maple Grove Raceway for many years, then moving on doing several starting line stints at Numidia Dragway and Cecil Country Dragway. Mike is a fixture to many of the NHRA Division 1 tracks and has honed his skills well over the years. Mike Summers like so many of our inductees is one of those people that make the sport great! (3/29/2015)

Harry Laplatte presents 2014 Inductee Bob Lee

DragRaceHallofFame.com's Harry Laplatte finally caught 2014 inductee presenting him with his inductee plaque. Harry came into contact wit Bob Lee at an event held at Palm Beach International Raceway, then made a visit to his shop in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, where he has operated since 1968. Bob's racing career started way back in the 1950's, when he won his first trophy driving a 1951 Studebaker in E/S. During the same time period he also ran a flathead powered Crosley wagon on methanol. Later, in 1963, Bob got real serious starting construction of his 4-speed, 283" Chevrolet powered 1932 Ford coupe dubbed the "Thunder Shifter!" He campaigned the coupe until 1972, when Bob switched his efforts into road racing. The "Thunder Shifter" coupe is still owned by Bob and was brought back to better than new and now runs periodically at nostalgia style events. (1/19/2015)


2014 Inductee Ceremonies at Island Dragway....

Island Dragway, located in Great Meadows, NJ, the site of the first officially recognized 200 mph run by the NHRA and recorded by Don Garlits back in August 1964 saw the return of Garlits to the hallowed site, plus the 2014 induction ceremonies for the Drag Race Hall of Fame. Albert Bambace, along with his daughter Isabel accepted for his dad/her grandfather, Joseph Bambace, posthumously. Joe Bambace campaigned a 1964 Plymouth Hemi called the "11th Commandment," back in the day prior to moving up to a 1965 Hemi. The 65' car later was modified into an altered wheelbase A/FX'er. (August 2, 2014)


2014 DRHoF.com Inductees named....The class of 2014 nominated five inductees. Leading off the pack is Joseph Bambace followed by photographer and graphic designer, Steve Bell, custom car painter Bob Gerdes, racer Bob Lee and the last, the deceased Paul Linderman. Linderman's name may not be familiar as he passed away in 1964 while racing a Super Stock Dodge in Canada, Linderman also owned a Dodge dealership. The accident occurred at the completion of his pass and while attempting to push the neutral button he hit the reverse pushbutton by mistake. The car went into reverse and flipped violently when the seatbelt attachments ripped out of the floor. Unfortunate happenings such as this is how many of the safety measures were introduced into drag racing. (2/5/2014)

Happy 50th 426 HEMI engine...

The 426 cubic inch Hemi was available in February 1964 strictly sold as a race engine. The first Hemis made their way into NASCAR with Richard Petty taking his famous #43 to several wins before NASCAR disallowed the venerable engine in competition. The 1964 Plymouths' and Dodges' instantly became the ultimate race cars of the era in NHRA drag racing circles and still today racers covet owning one of these treasures. Originally built for Super Stock the basic engine has become the standard for Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars as well as the SS/AH Hemi Barracudas and Darts (1968/69). In 1966, Chrysler came out with a milder detuned version called the Street Hemi, which made it accessible to the general public. Prior to the Street Hemi powered cars only a select few of proven racers were able to obtain one of these jewels.

Our own Harry Laplatte's Dad, Harold, purchased a 1964 Hemi Plymouth and campaigned it in the mid-60's. The car, called the "Satellite" ran on the East Coast. Fortunately, the car is now in the care of Wade Laplatte (Harry's brother) in its original form. Take note of the seven inch rear slicks! (2/7/2014)

Who raced the earliest 1964 Mustang?

Here's what we do know; In late 1964, Ford contracted Holman & Moody to prepare ten 427-powered Mustangs' to contest the National Hot Rod Association's (NHRA) A/Factory Experimental class in the 1965 drag racing season. Five of these special Mustangs qualified for competition debuting at the 1965 NHRA Winternationals, where they competed in the Factory Stock Eliminator class. The car driven by Bill Lawton won the A/FX class and his connection with TASCA Ford is now legendary in drag racing history. Several other notable driver's including Len Ritcher, "Gas" Ronda, Dick Brannan, Les Ritchey, Al Joniec, Terry Harvey, Clester Andrews, Paul Norris, Phil Bonner to name a few participated. The Mustangs were a replacement for the infamous 1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt, which were outfitted with the tried and true 427 FE side-oiler sporting dual Holley four barrel carburetors. The 427 cubic inch "Cammers" were originally designed for NASCAR to battle against the 426 Plymouth and Dodge Hemis of the era, but both the Cammer and Hemi were outlawed and transitioned into the drag racing, hence the A/FX Mustangs.

Mike Matune did track down the list and article provided by Charles Morris of the ten A/FX Mustangs built for competition; Car Tech Auto Books article HERE

  •     5F09K380230, Dick Brannan
  •     5F09K380231, Show car   
  •     5F09K380232, Tasca Ford (Bill Lawton)
  •     5F09K380233, Performance Associates (Les Ritchey)
  •     5F09K380234, Wickersham Ford (Clester Andrews)
  •     5F09K380235, Al Swenson Ford (Al Joniec)
  •     5F09K380236, Holman & Moody (Paul Norris)
  •     5F09K380237, Paul Harvey/Bob Ford (Len Richter)
  •     5F09K380238, Phil Bonner
  •     5F09K380239, Russ Davis Ford (Gas Ronda)

UPDATE - From what Mike has been able to ascertain, Ron Pellegrini campaigned a 1964 Mustang notch-back with a 427 FE motor in 1964. The drive-train came from the Hawkison 1964 Ford Thunderbolt. More information on the car in the Car Tech article Ford’s 1965 Factory Experimental Mustangs (2/14/2014)




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