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

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

 
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)


Looking for info K-code 1966 Mustang from New Jersey

We are trying to gather information on this 1966 Mustang Fastback, that one of our readers has just purchased. The information we do know is the car came from the factory as a K-code (289/271 HiPo) with a four speed and 3.89 rear. The interior is red with red trim. Most notable on the car is a vintage Mickey Thompson cross-ram intake sporting two Holley carburetors under the infamous Ford Thunderbolt bubble hood. The car was built at the Metuchen, N.J. Ford plant and raced in New Jersey. In fact, the car wears a Raceway Park Class Winner sticker. If you are aware of any info on this vehicle please email us at 1966 Mustang Info. (3/19/2015)

 

Eddie McCardle 1921 - 2015

It is with great sadness of the passing of “Fast Eddie” on Wednesday March 18th. He was 94. Eddie along with his wife Rita were instrumental in the building of Beaver Springs Dragway. Bob McCardle (son) well known in the drag racing world, put the deal together and Eddie oversaw the complete construction. The Dragway set a record by being up and operating in only 30 days. Eddie was a racer as well racing AAA Midgets after World War II. He and his brother Guy, then  formed Penn Central Racing Association, and started the Stock Car Races at Port Royal Speedway in 1951. He was the first club president, and the first champion. He went on to win two more championships, and was the first driver to win a feature driving a Chevrolet V-8. He was the man behind the scenes with the running of Big Rita’s concession at Beaver Springs Dragway. Eddie was always involved with the track lingering in the background right up to the end of the 2014 season, marking 43 years in the drag racing business. Edward owned and operated Fast Eddie’s Used Cars and E&W Re-builders, retiring in 2003 at age 82. He was a sportsman, an avid racing fan and a loving husband and father. In retirement he became quite the Western movie buff, reminiscing to all of the old cowboy movies. Always by his side in later years was his faithful Westie, May he rest in peace!

Friends can call on Sunday from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at Heller-Hoenstine Funeral Home, 200 N. Main St. Lewistown PA  17044. A brief service will be held on Monday at 10:00 AM at the funeral home. Internment will follow at the Juniata Memorial Cemetery. (3/19/2015)

 

2015 DRHOF.com Inductee process underway...........

We have been busy throughout the winter months honing in on the 2015 inductees. We have received many suggestions and so far have chosen two from the list with more to come. The first two are Stanley C. Shoppel, who passed away in December 2014 and number two, Joseph Gerdelman of New Jersey. Joe campaigned a variety of dragsters starting in the 1960’s. Joe also has raced (1960’s) and restored the original “Bounty Hunter” front engine car originally owned by Connie Kalitta.

More inductees to follow, keep a lookout for three additional 2015 inductees. (3/4/2015)

 


 

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)

 

DRHOF.com Turkey Rod Run 2014

Harry Laplatte from the DRHOF.com had a great time at the the Daytona Turkey Run and sent us this cool photo of a Gasser style 1953 Ford. At first look, the looks like it's on fire inside, but is actually the setting sun emanating through the period red plexiglass windows Is this where Harry is heading.....photographer? (12/1/2014)

More......Island Dragway news!

Needless to say, the 50th anniversary event of Don Garlits' momentous 200 mph run at Island Dragway in 1964 was a great success! The event this past weekend, August 1,2 & 3, saw DRHOF.com's Harry Laplatte and George Case in attendance along with Don Garlits and then on Sunday Bruce Larson. For those who don't recall 1989 Winston Funny Car Champion, Bruce Larson, drove Garlits' dragster for a few years, in the early 1990's, after Don was forced to step out of the cockpit due to medical conditions, detached retinas.

Also, Jim Klim brought his exquisite early 60's restored Lynwood Chassis Fiat, which was part of the display and really drew many people to the booth.  Over the three days many racers young and old stopped by to chat and do what we do best...BENCH RACE!

We are already working on a list of inductees for 2015, so if you like make recommendations. Send information to DRHOF.com at Inductees 2015.

 

Darwin Doll announces dates for 2015 14th annual Musclecar Madness...

The dates have been set for the 50th anniversary of the "Woodstock of Drag Racing" reunion, which will take part at the long running Musclecar Madness and York U.S. 30 Reunion. The dates are July 11-12, 2015. For those of us in attendance back in 1965 can only flashback to the great racing and super large crowd of people that attended. For me, it was like nirvana! All the cars and race drivers that I had read about in Super Stock and Drag Illustrated were there in person! REGISTRATION - SHOW INFO 2015

For those who are lovers of NHRA Jr. Stockers the second annual gathering will be part of the event.

Darwin Doll puts on a great event each season and the 2015 show should be one of his best. Needless to say, DRHOF.com will be there and hope to see you there as well.

CLICK HERE photos 2014 Musclecar Madness and York U.S. 30 Reunion. Photos by Bob Wenzleburger (July 11-12, 2014)

PHOTOS Beaver Springs Dragway York 30 Nostalgia Nationals (July 12-13, 2014)


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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