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

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

 
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. Shppel 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, the track manager of Raceway Park, accepted the plaque for the Napp Family, the owners of the well-known race facility (Raceway Park Englishtown, NJ). Harry Laplatte and Neal Hinkleman) 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 indected meant to him. DRHOF.com's Harry Laplatte will deliver his plaque at an event later this year. (7/27/15)

Joe Lepone Jr. passes..................

Longtime racer and friend Joe Lepone Jr. passed away on Sunday, July 12th after battling cancer for the past year. Joe, from West Chester, Pennsylvania competed in the Pro Stock, Pro Mod and Pro Street categories starting in the early 1970's. His initial claim to driving fame came when he drove for Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins. In later years, Joe raced and became one of the great tuners using nitrous oxide assisting many racers. Joe used to come race and test at both Maple Grove Raceway and ATCO. His Mom (Ann) and Dad (Joe Sr.) were always staples of both tracks as well out watching their son Joe compete. Joe was 61 years of age upon passing.

Joe is survived by his wife Cynthia and sisters, whom still live in Pennsylvania. (7/13/2015)

 

 

Ed Youmans score win at 422 Allstars event #1, MIR

The 422 Allstars Nostalgia Drag Racing Series completed their first event of the 2015 season with 2011 series champions Ed Youmans scoring the win over teammate Anthony Pappas. Youmans in the beautifully restored FE powered 1967 Fairlane and Pappas in the "Big Blue" 1962 Galaxie. The event went well with twenty-two cars qualifying for first round. The Maryland International Raceway staff did their usual admirable job completing the event on time prior to the rain, which fortunately held off! The 422 Allstars next event will be held a Capitol Raceway on May 23rd. For more information check out 422 ALLSTARS

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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