Golden Commandos added to 2016 Inductee List

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

HARRY here



John Dianna former Hot ROD Magazine editor, Drag Racer has died...  
We lost another hardcore drag racer and friend on Wednesday, September 28th, John Dianna. John was a drag racer through and through and turned his love for cars into his advocation becoming the publisher, and group president of Hot Rod Magazine. John campaigned a series of NHRA Chevrolet Stockers. After leaving Hot Rod, John started his own publishing company Buckaroo Communications. John was without a doubt a strong figure in Motorsports and influenced many with his dedication to the sport and eye for detail. At the 2008 reopening of Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter, FL John was recognized for his contributions to the sport and friendship with Dick Moroso, who passed away in 1997. (9/29/2016)  
Anthony "Tony" DeMarcky..Island Dragway passes............  
Longtime friend and cohort, Tony DeMarcky passed away on Sunday, September 25th at his home in Hackettstown, NJ, he was 60 years old. Tony was the track operator/manager at Island Dragway for many years and always in the midst of what was happening in NHRA NED Div. 1. Tony is survived by his wife Lynne and daughter Melissa, who currently operates the racetrack with her husband Carl. Back in the early 1990's, Tony and his daughter Melissa campaigned a JR Dragster aptly named "Island Girl" before she moved up to the family's S/Pro S/C dragster. Tony was a dedicated Mopar fanatic and still had his original Dodge Super Bee.(9/26/2016)  
8th Annual Pocono Drag Lodge Reunion....  

Bear Creek, PA (8/13/2016) - The 8th annual Pocono Drag Lodge Reunion saw about 200 drag race vehicles and classic muscle cars on display at this year's event for the spectators to view and recall the "OLD" days of drag racing! Headlining the event was former Top Fuel Champion, Joe Amato, who started his racing career at the now closed facility. Pocono Drag Lodge operated from 1963 through 1971.

Reunion planner extrodinaire, Charlie Hulsizer, was pleased with the participation, but noted that he does not know what the future will bare for the event as the property owner is in poor health and his family is uncertain of their plans with the land. The event raises dollars to pay the property taxes each year.

For more info please Call Charlie at 845-635-3662, or email (8/22/16)

American Racing Performance Museum ready roar..........  

Marco DeCesaris has his American Racing Performance Museum/Facebook page up and running. Take a look at some of the cars now in the collection! Marco has been working diligently to get the museum incorporated and now registered as a 501(c)3 designation. The museum is also listed as a member of the National Association of Automobile Museums. The museum is a non-profit organization.

The goal of the museum is to be one of the top collections dedicated to the development and history of Detroit built race cars and include documentation of originality of each vehicle, as well as their lineage. The collection will include famous race cars from Stock through the Pro Stock ranks, plus memorabilia, parts, etc. from the 1960's and 70's.

The museum presently houses a wide variety of drag cars on the grounds of Marco's Garage in Lothain, MD. Appointments are required for viewing of groups of six or less. Contact info; Marco DeCesaris at 240-375-4329 EST or via email hooks up with Marco's Garage  
The Drag Race Hall of's, Harry Platte has been out and about of late thrashing on a variety of vintage race machines and classic cars in Jupiter, FL. For the past year or so, Harry has been in continuous talks with Marco DeCesaris about linking DeCesaris' museum/car collection with the The collection is located in Maryland. All things are now in line and the shall be housed as part of the DeCesaris collection. We are presently seeking 501C3 status for the, which hopefully will be approved shortly. On that note, we are pursuing donations for plaques, etc. for the 2016 inductees. For additional and donation information email Harry at; 2016 Inductee- Donation Program ( or give him a call at 561-301-6840. Also in the works is Harry has been in search of a building to house a collection of Drag Racing memorabilia and vintage drag vehicles. Here's Harry (right) and a building he is in discussion for the permanent location to house the Drag Race Hall of The building here is in Georgia with plenty of space. (3/19/16)  
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 Satellitehis famous #43 to several wins before NASCAR disallowed the venerable engine in competition. The 1964 Plymouth's' 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 Funny426 Hemi 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 PelligriniNASCAR 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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