Monday, April 22, 2013
Written by Becky White on February 3, 2013
Today my heart hurts. No, I'm not having a heart attack although I saw
at least a couple people yesterday who would be happy if I did and I
would just be out of their 'business!' I just don't go away, do I? I'm
sure there were several people who rejoiced when I quit publishing
Quick Times Racing News because instead of accepting Quick Times
Racing News as it was intended and published, they looked on it as a
problem and me as a thorn in their sides when all I EVER intended or
wanted to do was to help make drag racing better for everyone! And did
My heart is hurting because it is sad, disappointed, frustrated and
disgusted over something which happened yesterday at the 2013 North
Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. It bothered me
SO much, I HAD to get it off my chest and writing is how I do that. It
makes me wonder why this was even started! I am sure Jim Turner had a
million GREAT reasons for doing this but it seems it has now become
more of a pain in the tuckus to him instead of a dream come true!
I know most everyone in drag racing who ever read Quick Times Racing
News thought I wrote everything I felt and never held anything back
but they would be WRONG! I kept my mouth shut too many times and I am
tired of it. I wonder how they will feel if (and when) I finally TELL
ALL? When the North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame was first
started in 2007, I had a lot of racers call me and ask me why I wasn't
at the ceremonies! My answer, "I did not know anything about it!" "Why
not?" they asked. "Of all the people in the world in drag racing, you
should be!" Well, I wasn't!
All at once, when I got hurt, it was if I had died! I didn't. I don't
feel any differently about dag racing now than I did all those years
of working for the sport! When I FINALLY received my FIRST phone call
from ANYONE involved in the organization, it was September, 2011…well
over four years later! Danny Dunn called to tell me I had been
selected for an award from the North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of
Fame. Would you like to know what the FIRST thought in my mind was
right at that minute? My FIRST thought was, "What took you so long?"
But I did not say it.
Danny could not even tell me the name of the award, he just said he
didn't know exactly what it was going to be because they were making
some changes…it had previously been an 'achievement' award. The FIRST
thing I did was type up my thanks. When I get something on my mind
(like yesterday and today), I HAVE to write it right then or it won't
be what I want. (My psychologist taught me that way back in the late
'70s when I was going through severe depression. Yes, I went through
all that and went to a psychologist and learned a lot about myself.
I will tell you this…I stopped going to him when I got into drag
racing! Drag racing probably saved my life!) Anyway, putting things on
paper makes things make more sense…sometimes. (Yes, B.M., I AM an
emotional reporter!) So I wrote my thanks…not knowing the name of the
award. Danny said they would like me to attend the ceremony so the
award could be presented to me. Between that day and Thanksgiving,
with the ceremonies coming up in early January, I had had a blood clot
in my spinal column which had completely paralyzed me from my sternum
down, spent six days in the hospital and a couple weeks in rehab to
learn how to walk (and do everything else) again!
I missed the 2nd annual Legends Race at Farmington Dragway and I had
also decided NOT to attend the Hall of Fame ceremony…it was just too
hard getting around! This board…or committee…was (is) comprised of
several people. I did not know at that time exactly who, but I did
know most of them gave me the most hassle and problems of ANY track
operators I worked with during my 25 years of publishing Quick Times
Racing News! Yes, my 'home boys,' the track operators I had to work
the closest with all those years, the ones right here in good old
I had more problems with 'some' of my North Carolina track operators
than I did any other track operators in the entire United
States…including Puerto Rico! They were hard to work with, didn't care
enough about their racers to send in race results and would not get
their ads in on time even though they DID know my ads worked better
than anything else they did. I really thought it would be in MY best
interest to just stay home that day.
I was NOT interested in getting back into drag racing and I didn't
think getting caught up in all the activities would help emotionally
after the three months of hell I had just been through…not to mention
the past eight years. I didn't know if I was up to the trip anyway!
BUT…in December I received my tickets. I think I called Jim Turner to
see if he could tell me the actual NAME of the award. When he said,
"Oh, it is going to be the JEFF BYRD Memorial Lifetime Achievement
Award" I nearly fainted! What a shock! I had to get off the phone
because I could not even talk!
The fact this award was going to be named for the GREATEST person I
EVER met in drag racing completely changed my attitude AND my
decision. In the speech I had written, way back in September, after
that first phone call, the FIRST person I thanked was Jeff
Byrd…because if it had not been for Jeff, there probably would never
have ever been a Quick Times Racing News! Anyway, I went to the
ceremony, got my plaque and made my speech.
I got a program and it had the names of all the inductees over the
years and I was shocked at a couple of people who HAVE been inducted.
As all of you know, I believe in doing things the RIGHT way and if you
aren't going to do that, don't do it at all. IF you are going to call
this the NORTH CAROLINA Drag Racing Hall of Fame, then the ONLY people
you should induct to REPRESENT the state of North Carolina should be
honest, hard working, outstanding representatives, not only of the
state of North Carolina but the sport of drag racing as well and you
should NOT induct crooks, thieves and drug dealers!
It bothered me SO much, I called Jim Turner and I ASKED him if I could
be on the board. I felt if I could get on the board, maybe, just
maybe, I could keep that from happening again! That is the ONLY REASON
I wanted to do this. So yes, I did go to the board meeting last
year…at which it was decided the 2013 inductees and lifetime
achievement recipient. ALL wonderful people who have dedicated most of
their lives to drag racing in some way.
And that brings me to why my heart hurts today and why this bothers me
SO much. I could NOT get it off my mind so I HAD to write it
down…yesterday was the 2013 North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame
award ceremonies. At our meeting last year, I was asked to write a
short story on Linwood Craft for the Hall of Fame website and I
offered to do the one on the Heintz brothers as well, both of which I
I never did like stories written by people who did PHONE
interviews…they always seemed like the one before and the one before,
etc. Most people who do phone interviews have a standard list of
questions which mostly seem all the same. If you've read one of those
stories, you've read them all and they are all dull and boring with a
standard list of facts you can find out from any racer just by talking
to them at any race. I always felt that did a dis-service to the
racers themselves. There is so much MORE to the PEOPLE and that is
what I wrote MY stories about…people. I asked the tough
questions…questions other interviewers would never ask…what makes a
drag racer drag race? What is the story behind the car, the man, the
woman? What holds it all together?
I think that is what made my publication so popular…getting down to
the nitty gritty and finding out what makes the whole thing click! My
stories were always about the PEOPLE! So…instead of calling Linwood, I
went to his shop in Roanoke, VA and did a personal interview. And
although I've know the Heintz brothers since 1979, I went to
Statesville and interviewed them, too. I got those stories done and
sent to Jim Turner for the Hall of Fame website. I called Jim and
asked him if I could do the introduction for Linwood at the ceremony
and he said, "Sure!" I'm sure that was one job he was glad to have off
Linwood made the trip to Greensboro but what went wrong? Well, what
went wrong was ME! The starter on my car quit that week and I had to
bum a ride. Jeannie, my chauffer, already had something she HAD to do
early that morning but we still hit I-40 off Exit 138 at 11 am…that
gave us time to get there with 30 minutes to spare. But traffic did
not co-operate and I was late. What was going on inside? Well,
definitely NOT any thinking! They KNEW I was coming! I had called NO
ONE to tell them I would not be there!
I would NEVER have expected them to wait on me, however, couldn't they
have just juggled things around a bit to give me just a few minutes?
That is all it would have taken. I wasn't THAT late! Did ANYONE offer
to change any of the program around, just enough to give me those few
minutes? Wouldn't that have been just TOO easy? And, yes, there WERE a
couple things they could have done a little differently. An
announcement was made at the END of the ceremony… an announcement
which should have been made at the beginning…which I would have done
if I'd had any say in it.
The announcement was about a possible permanent, physical home for the
North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame… something I know Jim has been
working on for a while. I would have thought making that announcement
at the beginning of the ceremony would have gotten people all pumped
up and excited about the whole thing and even more interested in the
day's ceremony and the future of the Hall of Fame. That should NOT
have been left for a finale! It should have opened the festivities!
Not only that, Linwood was the first inductee…his name being first in
line in the alphabet. What would have been wrong with doing the others
first? Just to see if really was going to show up? Doesn't anyone
THINK any more? So many possibilities and none of them even
considered. Did this thing HAVE to be rushed so fast? What was the
hurry? I would NEVER expect them to say, "Uh, we're going to wait on
Becky White!" All they had to do was say, "The person who is going to
introduce Linwood isn't here yet so we will do the others first to
give them a few more minutes!" How SIMPLE! HOW EASY!
That aside, they evidently just wanted the whole deed done so they
could get rid of everyone and get the room ready for the next group!
Last year, I was told I could have four minutes to speak, this year,
people were given three minutes. What's the point? If they didn't
really want to spend any time on this, why didn't they just walk
around and hand everyone their plaque when they came in the door? Or
just MAIL it to them? This is a celebration, people! It is IMPORTANT
to the racers themselves whether it is to anyone else or not!
I don't know what these people are trying to accomplish if they aren't
going to take the time to do this RIGHT. I can tell you what this
means to the racers. Well, maybe I can't…but this is the culmination
of years and years of hard work, thousands of hours of hard time and
blood, sweat and tears! Not to mention dollars! And I do mean
tears…how many heart aches and heart breaks have these people been
through to get to this point?
I have idolized Linwood Craft since even before I got into drag
racing…back then from reading magazines and later, by watching him. I
don't know what he has been through in his life but I DO know he has
dedicated his life to this sport! I was happy to vote for him to be in
the North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame because he has conducted
his life in this sport in such a way, he definitely deserves this
recognition. I have never heard of any controversy surrounding him, he
has always raced, always supported this sport, wasn't loud and didn't
argue and cause problems anywhere he has ever raced.
He took his lumps, loved his chosen sport and at the end of the day or
weekend, as the case might be, he went home and worked to get ready
for the next race. But I feel Linwood got cheated on February 2, 2013
even though he did get inducted into the North Carolina Drag Racing
Hall of Fame and received his plaque and jacket. But since NO ONE
other than me had prepared an introduction for him, they basically
just called out his name!!! I had a GREAT intro for him. And intro
which reflects a little something of his personality. But, no, instead
of even TRYING, they just went ahead and called him up FIRST!
Then someone had to scramble to come up with an intro for him! Duh!
Every single one of those people involved KNEW I would be there. If I
wasn't going to be, I would have called! It isn't like those people
don't KNOW me! Even though Linwood seldom shows any emotion, when I
went to his shop, I could tell he was pleased he had been chosen and
excited about the event. I also KNOW he was disappointed because I was
NOT there to do the great intro I had prepared for him…an intro I had
read to him on the phone! I did that to make sure I had not written
anything he did not like!
I did everything I possible could to get there on time…I WAS trying my
damndest! Why wasn't anyone else trying? I have been, as I said, SO
upset over this…I KNOW it was my fault and I am so mad at myself I
can't even explain it! I KNOW I disappointed Linwood. But just a tiny
bit of brain work on the part of a couple other people could have made
this turn out right. I am upset ONLY for Linwood…he DESERVED better
from the people he has supported for years. As for me, I am not upset
for me (just mad AT me)…this is just another instance in a long line
of instances concerning the way things have gone for well over 30
years so I am NOT surprised.
I learned a long time ago to NOT expect anything better! Hell, even
Ted Jones gave me a glowing report at the East Coast Drag Time Hall of
Fame… which I never expected but the people I worked so hard for for
so long are the people who have continually treated me the worst so I
am NOT surprised. What surprises me is they don't mind hurting someone
else to bug me. I can NOT understand why they want to get this
ceremony over with SO quickly anyway. If it is just a way to pump up
the car show, find another way. If you don't want to spend the time to
do this thing right, just do away with it. Why go to all this trouble
just to screw it up?
I went to the first car show in 2003 and really enjoyed it. I was hurt
in October that year and have not been able to go back and if it had
not been for Frank and Debbie Teague and a wheelchair, I'm not sure I
could have even made it to get my own award. When Steve Earwood was
introducing me last year, he said two things pertinent. The first was,
"She made more heroes out of more guys who had never gotten any
publicity in our sport!" Nice compliment, right? Later, he said, "She
was never stingy about her opinion about how race tracks should be
operated or how they should race or how NHRA or IHRA should be run!"
The only thing about that last statement which was wrong was ALL OF
IT! I NEVER told ANY track operator or NHRA or IHRA how to run their
businesses! What I did…beginning with the SECOND issue was try to give
track owners/operators/ promoters ideas about how to make more money
so they could have more racers at more races and pay more
money…therefore making more money for themselves! I started doing that
with the SECOND editorial I ever wrote in Quick Times Racing News! I
am putting that SECOND editorial on this blog so you can see what I
mean. All I EVER wanted or tried for was for EVERYONE to
succeed…tracks AND racers!
I wanted OUR sport to be better and healthier and that was ALWAYS my
main objective! And instead of taking any of this in the spirit in
which it was intended, as you can see, they were offended many times
because in their small minds, they considered that as "telling them
how to run their tracks!" My business was drag racing, just as theirs
was, why in the world would ANYONE EVER think I would do anything
wrong or harmful in drag racing? EVERY track operator who ever tried
my suggestions were quite happy with their results.
I never came up with this stuff all on my own...I talked to track
operators all over this country to find out what worked and what did
not work for them. If there was something I learned I thought would
work for other track operators, I passed it on. I might pass it on in
a conversation or I might write about it in an editorial. I NEVER gave
anyone a single piece of bad advice…and I have all the back issues to
After writing this, I will probably get kicked off the board of the
North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame but let me give some folks a
piece of advice: I am NOT dead yet and if YOU give me enough rope, I
will HANG you all! Over the past six months, I HAVE begun to get
involved in drag racing again and it has not even been by my choice!
However, circumstances have occurred which have seemingly been
designed to drag me back, albeit kicking and screaming! IF I am going
to be involved in this sport again, I can tell you I will be NO
different than I was before!
I worked SO HARD for SO MANY YEARS to learn all the things I learned
and to use that knowledge to help the sport I loved so much! I ate,
lived, slept, breathed, studied and worked drag racing to have the
knowledge it took to put together that publication and to offer
everyone from racers to advertisers to track operators the knowledge I
amassed to be used for THEIR BENEFIT! Does anyone think ANY of these
guys will read this and think or say, "You know…she's right! We could
have done it a little differently to make it better!"
Have they EVER read ANYTHING I ever wrote and said, "You know…she's
right." Absolutely not. Oh, I can just hear their thoughts now! But I
can't put them on paper! I can't even begin to imagine the names I've
been called when track operators read my suggestions and ideas and I
can just hear this, "Well, who the hell does SHE think SHE is? Trying
to tell US how to run OUR tracks? Just WHO does she think she is?"
Well now, maybe, just maybe, it is time for me to return some
not-so-favorable favors and start telling a few things I HAVE kept to
myself for a LOT of years. And don't forget…there are things I can
tell which can either curl your hair OR make it fall out…it is ALL up
to you! DON'T PUSH ME into doing that!
Linwood, I truly apologize to you and I will forever be trying to make
up for the screw up I caused on February 2, 2013. I hope you will
forgive me…you are STILL one of my heroes! Steve Earwood also said at
the 2012 ceremony… "This gal will be hard to put away!" Truer words
were NEVER spoken!
In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right
thing. Theodore Roosevelt
The following is the introduction I wrote for Linwood Craft at the
2013 North Carolina Drag Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony:
When I was looking through the second issue of Quick Times Racing News
(May, 1981) for information on the Heintz Brothers…guess who I also
found? On page 8, entitled 'Craft is 'The Man' in Street Rod,' there
is a photo of Linwood Craft in his Dodge Colt at the IHRA Winter
Nationals. He not only took the top qualifying spot, he won that
race…just another win of many over the years. I asked Linwood if he
knew how many races he has won in his long career…he doesn't. Or if he
does, he didn't want to brag! Linwood is the only Pro Stock racer who
has ever taken his racing career on into bracket racing. Not only
that, he took his former Pro Stock car into the brackets with him!
That tells you how much he loves drag racing…you could probably say it
has always been his first love.
Linwood has been racing almost his entire life…56 years! Don Garlits
has NOTHING on him! He was actually one of the first ever 'funny car'
racers in drag racing history and although he did not compete with his
funny car on a national level, his car was so popular at the time, he
had NO lack of bookings for funny car match races. He was number 1 in
the south winning match races one of those years! I also asked him how
many tracks he's raced on…he doesn't know, but he has raced all over
the country. He was also one of the first racers to ever use a Lenco
transmission. When it came to innovation, he was always interested in
doing whatever it took to win a race. Ask him about his Super Stock
468 cubic inch engine which checked out at either a 427 or 428 every
time it was ever CC'd!
He started out in Chevys, went to Fords when they were popular then
switched to Mopars when he got beat by one! He like them so well, he
stuck with them. I asked Reid Whisnant one time why he chose to run a
Mopar versus a Chevy and he said, "Hell, anyone can run a Chevy…you
can buy parts for Chevys at K-Mart! It takes a special person to know
their Mopar well enough to get it to do what they want it to do and be
competitive." I have heard Clyde Hodges say the same thing more than
once. Both could have been describing Linwood Craft. He seemed to be
able to get his Dodges to do things other people couldn't even get
their Chevys to do! He gives a lot of credit to Richard Petty…says he
learned a lot sitting around the 'chew fat' bench with the Pettys in
Linwood is being inducted into the North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of
Fame because of his influences in drag racing, not just where he
lives, but all over the country and especially here in North Carolina.
Please continue reading as I wrote a story on Linwood for the North
Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame. They could not put the whole thing
on their website so I am putting here. I am also STILL trying to get
it printed in a newspaper somewhere near Linwood's home town of
By Becky White
How can you write just one page about Linwood Craft? It would take a
hundred pages just to get started on his long, illustrious career in
drag racing. One of the original Pro Stock AND Funny Car racers of the
'60s, he is the only Pro Stock racer (we can find) who stopped racing
Pro Stock and actually turned his Pro Stock car into a bracket car! "I
think I raced it in every bracket class anyone came up with," he said.
"Everywhere I went, they had a different name for brackets at
different tracks and I don't think we missed any of them including Top
Linwood actually started racing in 1956…in a Chevy…at the young age of
17! There was no such thing as bracket racing then… everything was
class racing until the '70s. You had tech and classification at every
race…even if you raced mom's grocery getter, it had to be
'classified'…meaning it had to be put in a class specified by the NHRA
rule book! He switched over to a '54 Ford for a while, then went back
to a Chevy for a couple years. His next car was one of those
'streamlined' 1960 Ford Starliners…Fords were the BIG deal at that
time…Fred Lorenzen was killing all the other makes on the circle
circuit and everyone was buying Fords. He raced that car for
approximately six years and won a lot of races with it at many
One way to get Linwood to switch car makes was to beat him in his
current car! He was working at T&G Speed Shop when he and his Ford got
outrun by a one of his co-workers racing a 1962 Dodge Dart factory
race car. He sold his Ford and ordered a 1963 Plymouth Ramcharger
factory race car and he was hooked. He raced MOPARS from then on. Even
the dragster he has now is equipped with a Hemi! He won a lot of races
right out of the box with the '63 but a few weeks after he got it,
they started making aluminum front ends for those cars. He ordered one
and put it on the car while hiding it at a friend's garage...to keep
anyone from knowing how much lighter the car was going to be!
He also owned a '68 Hemi Dodge Dart factory race car and had a blast
with both those cars. Racers everywhere dreaded to see him pulling
into the track on race day and still do! During those 'off' years of
Pro Stock, he raced a 1974 Duster in Super Stock…also equipped with a
Hemi and to his credit, he was the first racer in our area to ever use
a Lenco transmission! It helped make the Duster a winner since all you
had to was shift. He said they left the clutch in the car and he had
to remember to put his left foot up under the clutch to remind him he
did NOT have to smash it down to change gears! If there ever was a
bounty put on him, it would have been at Roanoke drag strip in 1963 or
maybe even several years later at Piedmont Dragway when he had his '74
Duster and won 21 races in a row!
He also had a '64 Mustang 'funny car' during that time…when Funny Car
was just 'being born' so Don Garlits has NOTHING on Linwood! He had a
good time racing it, too, but that one was just for fun. There were a
couple other guys around that area who had 'funny cars' and they were
the big thing when it came to the tracks drawing in spectators…which
they did a lot of back then. Best two of three match races was
something nearly every track operator did back then on a regular basis
for the fans. He ran it off and on for two years and it was 'flying'
at that time running 8.60s at 181 mph in a quarter mile! Of course it,
too, had a Hemi power plant…purchased from Richard Petty! Linwood was
number 1 in the South in match racing in either '63 or '64…he won more
match races than anyone during that time.
Clyde Curtis from Hudson, NC would come up and match race against him
most any time they called him… Linwood and Clyde were good friends and
had a good time at those match races. Hank Hankins in Virginia was
another of his match race competitors. Linwood described this racing
as, "Just having fun!" This only lasted for two years, then Linwood
got serious about his Pro Stock racing. This was during the heyday of
P/S racing, when they ran Pro Stock for several years then some idiots
at NHRA…who knew NOTHING of cars and engines…started changing rules
and made it impossible to even have a Pro Stock class!
NHRA fell out of favor with the car makers because of these dumb rules
decisions and the factory guys just would not sponsor any races OR
help anyone run in that class although they did continue research,
development and testing. Someone asked Linwood if he ever 'cheated' in
Super Stock. His answer, "Cheating was the name of the game! Everyone
cheated. It was more fun to cheat, beat your competition…who was also
cheating… and see how long you could get away with it! I never knew
anyone who didn't cheat…that was as much a part of the competition as
anything else! I ran a 468 cubic inch engine which checked out 427-428
during all the years I ran Super Stock in the Pro Stock cars!"
There was NO Pro Stock racing for three years until NHRA woke up and
changed the rules back…mainly because they were losing SO much money
because of losing the factory sponsorships! Linwood raced in P/S for
three years and the following 'Super Stock' classes for those next
three years, then P/S again for the next six years. Some of the racers
he competed against during those days were: Don Carlton, Ronnie Sox,
Harold Denton, Lee Edwards, Don Nicholson, Billy Stepp, Bob Glidden,
Bill Jenkins, Wayne Gapp and Jack Roush, Peewee Wallace, Malcolm
Durham as well as Dick Landy and all the Ramchargers drivers. Linwood
has raced all over the country.
I wrote about Linwood buying an engine from Richard Petty and he told
me learned a LOT from Richard. He went to the Pettys many, many
evenings and sat around in the 'chew fat' seats listening to them talk
about racing and engines, especially Chrysler engines and he always
had questions to ask. They were always forthcoming with answers to any
question he had. He gives them a lot of credit for the knowledge he
learned which helped him become successful racing Mopars.
Chrysler Corp. never did 'officially' sponsor Linwood but they helped
him out in lots of ways… mostly with parts…which they were VERY
generous in handing out! He said he came home from a race one time
with so many parts loaded in the trailer, on the truck and in the
truck, he barely had room to drive! He had actually gone to Chrysler
Corp. to pick up a car for someone else when he saw a Dodge Colt
setting high up on a shelf. He tried to buy it but they told him it
was being scrapped! He told Clyde Hodges right then he wanted one of
those cars if he could ever get one.
After Don Carlton passed away in 1977, Clyde was at Piedmont Dragway
and he told a friend of Linwood's to tell him there was something at
his shop he wanted. As soon as Linwood got that message, he called and
Clyde told him what he had…it was that very same Colt Chrysler Corp.
had intended to junk. It was rumored Don Carlton had bought it for
$1.00!!! Linwood went to Lenoir, NC as quickly as he could get away.
When he went into Clyde's garage, Clyde said, "Go look in the back
corner." Clyde made him a price and asked him if he wanted it! Of
course he said, "YES," and the rest is pretty much history. Linwood
took the Colt back to Roanoke that very day! If you knew what he paid
for it, you would probably faint…especially if you could learn the
value of it today! He paid Clyde $6,000!
It IS the only one of three Dodge Colts Don Carlton owned still in
existence today…two were actually built specifically for Don even
though this one was not! Don did race this car until Chrysler built
the others. Linwood said, "It is STILL in just as good shape today as
it was when I bought it 35 years ago!" He said, "I was on the way back
home with that car when I heard on the radio Elvis had passed away so
there is no forgetting the date I bought it! He bracket raced the Colt
for nine years before selling it to Durwood Edwards. Durwood raced it
a year, sold it back to Linwood and got a dragster.
Several years later, Linwood sold the car to Mike Belcher who also
raced it for many years. Mike passed away a few years ago, but the car
is still in his family. Before Mike's wife also passed away, Linwood
offered her a LOT of money for the car in hopes of getting it back,
but she wanted to hang onto it! Mike and Linwood raced together and
were best friends for over 30 years until Mike passed away. Linwood
really misses Mike, the racing and the traveling they did together.
And they had a LOT of fun!
Durwood Edwards had a heart attack and couldn't race for a while, so
he sold his dragster to Linwood who LOVED it! He said, "That is ONE
heck of a ride!" He also said he enjoyed it better than a full bodied
car but it was really hard to get used to because he could not hear
the engine. He is from the 'old school' and depended on listening to
what was going on in the engine to know if something was wrong or even
starting to go wrong! Linwood says he has absolutely NO idea how many
races he has won in 56 years of drag racing and if he did know, he
isn't the kind of guy who would brag about it! He also can't tell us
how many tracks he has raced on, but he's raced all over the United
States! He was runner up at the IHRA Bracket Finals for three years in
a row in the Colt.
He won't brag but he WILL tell you about racing from Virginia to Texas
and back through Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina and back
into Virginia in nine days and he has so many of those stories, it
would take a lot more pages than I can put here to write about those
escapades! About the hundreds of wins Linwood has had in his long and
illustrious racing career, he says, "It was just luck more than
anything else. I did have good reflexes, but I was mostly just lucky!"
Linwood had heart surgery the first of December, 2012 but plans on
coming back strong during 2013. Congratulations to Linwood Craft on
his induction into the North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame!
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
I recently had a 'drag racing' weekend such as I have never had
before. Since it meant so much to me, I want to share it with all of
you. In October, 2003, I was inducted into the East Coast Drag Times
Hall of Fame only I didn't get to participate in any of the
ceremonies. I couldn't even go receive my award…it was eventually
mailed to me! That was when I had my wreck…just about ten days before
that year's events. Nancy Wilson, who heads up all this, told me any
time I could get a chance to come to the event, they would include me
in the awards ceremony just like I would have been in 2003 had I
gotten to go. I have never had the chance to go, but it has ALWAYS
been in the back of my mind.
Knowing I was IN the Hall of Fame and having the plaque hanging on my
wall was a wonderful thing, but something was always missing. It
didn't seem real…no one handed me the award, I didn't get to be a part
of the ceremonies…it just didn't seem real. In the early part of this
year, when I learned Frank Teague was going to be inducted, I worked
at trying to figure a way to get TO that event! I didn't really think
about my own award, I just wanted to go see Frank receive his since he
and his wonderful wife Debbie have been such good friends to me and
actually took me to Greensboro in January (2012) to receive my Jeff
Byrd Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award from the North Carolina Drag
Racing Hall of Fame.
Dave and Susie Koffel…Koffel's Place…have attended the East Coast
events for many years, they and many of the racers affiliated with
them are in the Hall of Fame and I knew they would especially be there
this year for Frank, whom they have sponsored…and become close friends
with…for many years. There were other special reasons they were
planning to be there this year, too…I will get to that later. I wanted
to see them, too…they advertised with me and supported Quick Times
Racing News for MANY years and I truly appreciate their business, but
more than that, I have appreciated their friendship all those years as
well. And they ARE TRUE FRIENDS like Frank and Debbie. They showed me
a wonderful time when I went to Norwalk in 1997.
But just TWO WEEKS before the awards ceremonies and other events, I
learned the 'Carlton' cars were going to be there and I absolutely HAD
to figure out some way to get there. I still had not even thought
about my own award, I just HAD to go if for no other reasons than
these I have just written about. A racing friend of ours who lost her
husband over 20 years ago also wanted to go to see Frank be inducted.
We discussed it, discussed our finances…or LACK OF…and finally decided
we wanted to go to this thing bad enough to do without groceries or
something equally important!! I happened to mention to Jeannie I had
never officially been presented with my plaque and at that moment I
remembered Nancy telling me…nine years ago…she would include me in the
ceremonies if I ever got the chance to attend.
I called Nancy and she said, "That will be great! We will include you
just as we would have in 2003!" We discussed it and she seemed to
really be glad to get the chance to include me. Jeannie and I could
only pay for one room for one night so we left EARLY on Saturday
morning and hit the highway to Henderson, NC…I-40 all the way! For
those of you who have never attended this event, you HAVE to go! I had
NO idea it is as huge as it is. I was amazed. When Nancy Wilson says
it takes her all year to get this thing together, I am here to tell
you this: I am surprised she does it in one year! When we got there,
of course, we knew nothing about any of it so we parked on the 'wrong'
end of town.
Luckily, true to Nancy's word, there were several golf carts roving
the streets and we caught a ride. That was a good thing because I was
on crutches!!! I could never have made it otherwise! The entire
community of Henderson, NC works together for this event and they shut
down an entire MILE of Garner Street…one of the oldest streets in a
town which was founded in 1841. From one end to the other, on both
sides of the street, there were CARS. Cars of every shape and size and
make including plenty of homemade ones! They weren't just ON the
street, they were in every parking lot on both sides of that whole
mile, too. As hard as it was for me to put together a drag car show in
a shopping mall, I cannot imagine what these people go through to make
this entire 3-day weekend one of the MOST successful drag racing
events I have EVER attended!
As soon as we got to the 'racing' end of town…we started out on the
'car show' end, but after catching a ride to the 'racing' end of the
five blocks, the first thing we saw were the 'Carlton' cars. The theme
of the 2012 event was The Evolution of Chrysler's Pro Stock Missile
Cars…Dodge Challenger to the Plymouth Duster 'Wire Car.' Don Carlton
was always my HERO…I idolized him for as long as I can remember. If
you know anything of racing history, you know something of Don, the
fact I got to meet him one time (and only one time) just added to my
hero worship of him because I learned he really was the man I had read
about and lived up to all the good things people said and wrote about
When I saw those cars, tears welled up in my eyes. I don't know how
many times I went by to tell those guys, "Thank You, Thank You, Thank
You," for restoring the cars and bringing them back to us. I don't
think they ever got tired of hearing that! I cannot tell you how much
I enjoyed talking to the current owners, the ORIGINAL builders and the
restorers. They have poured their hearts and souls…as we say 'blood,
sweat AND tears'…not to mention fortunes and years…into the
restoration of these cars. I won't even mention finances because I'm
sure it has a cost a large fortune! I don't know if you remember or
not, but Betty Sigmon owned and drove one of those cars for many
years. Betty and her husband Ray found our house for us in Vale, NC in
1982 and we were their neighbors for several years…being 'just around
But from our back door to their back door was just a very short
walking distance. Betty has had some health problems over the past few
years but her son made sure she got to come down to see her former
Carlton race car…'The Wire Car'…totally restored. And it was a GREAT
day for her. She even gave the guys a couple pieces of pertinent
information about the car and so did Frank…he actually raced that car
a few times, too. Betty was in her element standing with her former
car talking to all the fans. Her son, Jeep, said it was a very good
day for her. She didn't get to stay overnight but she enjoyed talking
to a lot of people she had not seen in a long, long time.
Dave Koffel was project manager at Chrysler part of the time during
those wonderful and amazing years…I cannot imagine what it must have
been like to work on a project as large in scope as was the original
design and building of all those factory race cars. Susie and Dave had
a nice area set up with their 1937 Dodge humpback panel truck with
seats for everyone and a table for Frank's memorabilia. That's a big
thing down there, everyone is expected to bring their 'stuff' to show
By the way, Dave and Susie DROVE the '37 Dodge from Huron (way
northern ), Ohio to Henderson and back…they actually still use it in
their Koffel's Place business for deliveries! They were practically
stopping traffic on the interstate as everyone had to slow down to get
a good look! The only thing I took…besides my plaque…was a picture Don
Carlton Don had given me on July 2, 1975 at a match race at Farmington
Dragway…a picture he signed for me… "To Becky, Don Carlton." I really
actually took the picture to use with my speech on Sunday. When I
first talked to Nancy, I told her I didn't want to make a speech since
I had just made one in January and I would just say something like
thanks to everyone and I was glad to FINALLY officially be receiving
my induction plaque!
But during our phone conversations, Nancy said something which
eventually made me change my mind about making a speech. I say,
'eventually' because I had to think about it a while. She said when
she talked to Betty Sigmon, Betty had asked her if she thought the
owners of her former car would mind if she got her picture made with
that car and Nancy said, "Do you think she doesn't realize how
important her role was and has been in all this?" I said, "No, she
doesn't realize it. And neither do any of the others you're going to
have that weekend." Well, the more I thought about that conversation,
the more I realized what I had said is true.
People who have been in drag racing since the '50s and '60s (and many
of them were there) have absolutely NO idea how important they were,
still are and always will be in 'all this!' 'All this' being the
entire sport of drag racing! I called Nancy back and told her I had
changed my mind and I actually did want to make a speech but it wasn't
about me and it wouldn't be long. I just wanted to thank all those
people for making drag racing what it is today! She said that would be
just fine. By the time I called her back I already had the speech
written…once I started, I couldn't stop until I finished it. It is
something I feel very strongly about. I hope all of you will read it…I
know you will agree with every word in it and I'm sure you feel the
same as I do. It follows the end of this story.
One of the things which totally shocked me was what Ted Jones said
when he introduced me. It has never been a secret there was always a
lot of contention between me and 'most' of the powers that be at IHRA
and NHRA. I was more than a 'little' worried about the fact he was the
one who was going to do the introductions!!! But he actually surprised
me and did a good intro…as a matter of fact, I was so shocked at what
he said, I had to clasp my hand over my mouth to keep from gasping out
loud! He gave me credit for single handedly saving IHRA class racing
when Billy Meyer owned IHRA by forming the Sportsman Class Racers
You could have knocked me over with a feather! I really appreciated
that…it made a lot things seem 'worth it' if you know what I mean! He
also said the fact I had worked so hard to bring IHRA back to what it
was 'before Billy' was the reason I received the IHRA Media Award for
1989! And he made sure he talked about how hard I had worked for the
'little guys' all the years I published Quick Times Racing News.
Don Carlton's daughter Robin and wife Jonnie were there to accept the
Ronnie Sox Memorial Award posthumously for Don. Most of you know
Ronnie and Don were friends and raced together for a lot of years. I
met both Robin and Jonnie for the first time and was really glad for
that opportunity. Frank and I sat with them during the awards ceremony
on Sunday afternoon and talked with them later. We all got our
pictures made together and it is GREAT to have those pictures to
reflect on for many years to come. I enjoy my racing pictures more
than anyone can imagine…all of them…mostly the 'people' ones! They
make everything even more real and keep my wonderful memories vividly
alive. These photos from this weekend have been added to the 'treasure
trove!' I want to thank Ernest Burwell from the bottom of my heart for
sending me a lot of those photos.
Four of the men who worked for Chrysler Corporation and originally
built these Carlton cars were present…they were Tom Hoover, Dick
Oldfield (who owns one of the cars), Joe Pappas and Ted Spehar. Then
of course, Dave Koffel was there. They held a seminar on Sunday
morning after church services on the actual building of the cars. I
cannot begin to imagine what kind of life those men led during those
years…HOW exciting it had to have been during that time in factory
sponsored drag cars. I wish I had had the chance to do something like
that in my lifetime.
I did a story on Betty Sigmon in 1982 and I wrote all about her car,
how it was built, etc. but I did NOT know that was a one-of-a-kind
car. It is the only one like it EVER built anywhere in the world!
There IS no other and will never be another one built even similar to
it! It is called a 'wire' car and I won't even begin to try to explain
that to you but they talked about that, how they did it, why they
built it, the great things about it and why they didn't build another
They discussed so MANY pertinent things during that time and I mean
they talked about things which are STILL pertinent to drag racing and
always will be. Things pertinent to the way cars are built today, how
the changes and improvements have come about over the years, what
makes drag cars SO special. The spoke about how these particular cars
were built, why they were built the way they were, how they performed
on the track and how that transferred to highway performance for
future cars. These were true factory experimental race cars and
basically were built as a way for Chrysler to learn how to build
better cars for the public. There was standing room only in the
seminar, proving how popular these cars were and still are.
These were TRUE factory experimental race cars…they were built by the
factory, at factory owned shops by people who were Chrysler
employees...ALL engineers. Basically, they were built as a way for
Chrysler to learn how to build better cars for the public…you can
thank a lot of our safety features and other great features on the
cars of today to these men. There was standing room only in the
seminar, proving how popular these cars were and still are. There were
so many people viewing the cars during the exhibits on Saturday, there
had to be special photography sessions at a different time away from
the crowds so the cars could actually be photographed.
It was fascinating. I couldn't stay in it for the whole time, but I
was mesmerized the entire time I was in that room (I would love to
have a DVD of that seminar…if anyone made a video, PLEASE call or
email me). Dave Koffel and many other people who were at some point,
somehow involved in this project joined in these conversations…if you
ever get a chance to sit in on a seminar like that, make sure you do
so…you will learn a lot about our sport as a whole! The men who are
restoring these cars, along with those former Chrysler car builders,
were also in the seminar and talked about some of the things they have
learned and done in this restoration!
Don Carlton of Lenoir was the most honored racer at this year's
event…if y'all know anything about Don, he was killed in a testing
accident in Detroit in 1977 at the young age of 37, but his
sportsmanship and major accomplishments in the sport made him one of
the most popular, most important and most honored drag racers of all
time. He made his mark in a short amount of time because of the person
he was. For many years after Don's death, IHRA presented the Don
Carlton Award for Exceptional Sportsmanship to a deserving racer every
year because Don was always the epitome of a great sportsman, always
respectful of everyone he met, worked with and raced with.
This year, Don was honored, posthumously, for his contributions to
drag racing. Don's daughter Robin accepted the Ronnie Sox Memorial
Award for her dad with her mother Jonnie looking on. Don and Ronnie
were racing competitors and friends all the years they raced together;
they both worked and drove for the Chrysler Corporation. A native of
Lenoir, Don had a busy early career racing locally, then drove Pro
Stock and Super Stock for Chrysler for many years until his death. Don
was named to the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame, associated
with the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, FL in 1992 and to
the N.C. Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2007.
Five of Don's former Chrysler-built factory race cars were on display
during the 3-day event...
four have been completely restored and several are being raced in
Nostalgia races and are being taken all over the country for people to
see. Those cars included: his 1971 Motown Missile Dodge Challenger
owned by Arnie Klann of Phoenix, AZ; his '72 Motown Missile Plymouth
Barracuda owned by Mark Williamson of Canada and Eara Merritt of
Richmond Hill, GA; his '73 Motown Missile owned by Ben Donhoff of
Melbourne, FL; the '77 Macomb Missile Aspen owned by Mike Ricketts of
Macomb County, MI and last, but most unusual, the '75 Mopar Missile
Plymouth Duster (aka 'The Wire Car'), also owned (now) by Arnie Klann
and previously owned by Betty and Ray Sigmon of Vale.
Restoration of the Challenger is not complete but it was displayed as
a chassis and 'back half work in progress.' It was interesting for the
spectators to be able to see what the under parts of a drag race car
look like and how they are made. This may be the only time these cars
will ever be seen together since they are owned by people from Florida
to Arizona to Canada, but hopefully they can and will be shown
together more often! This entire event was a major undertaking and
practically took miracles to pull it off in such grand fashion!
All in all, for me, this was the MOST rewarding weekend I have ever
spent in drag racing! I can't explain that to you…the people I was
with, the circumstances of the weekend, the way this whole thing came
together…for me…for people I care about, for the sport I have ALWAYS
loved! It was an amazing weekend, I learned so much…and no matter who
you are, what you do, where you go or what your past or future is…you
can ALWAYS LEARN something. I saw people I had not seen in a long
time…Roger Gustin, Bunny Burkett, Lew Silverman, Ernest Burwell…whom I
helped get started in drag racing photography, Geoff Stunkard… who
probably has as much MOPAR memorabilia as anyone (and maybe more)…and
on and on…TOO many to mention! I met people I had only read about,
heard about and/or watched in our sport. I was both totally amazed and
awed and treated with SO MUCH respect from everyone…even people who
had never known me before.
This group of people who are restoring the Mopar Missiles is one of
the neatest bunches of guys and gals I have EVER met in drag racing
and, let me tell you this…they are going through a LOT of heartache
doing this love of theirs but they are having a blast! If you ever get
a chance to see them where they are nostalgia racing or just have
their cars on display…talk to them. You will be amazed at what a great
group of folks they are, just as I was. I am SO glad I got to meet
people who CARE this much and that I got to hang round with them and
LEARN from them. I can only hope maybe they learned just a smidgen
from me, too…if nothing else but the fact I love drag racing so much!
I am so thankful for this weekend. If I never get to do anything in
drag racing again, this will go down in history as the culmination of
a helluva career…a career like no other person ever in the entire
history of drag racing has EVER had! My life and career in this sport
had never been done before and can NEVER possibly be repeated by
anyone! I have done something in my life no one in the world has ever
done and will NEVER do in the future. What I did cannot be repeated,
it is literally, physically AND historically impossible. I am so glad
I had what it takes to stick it out all these years. I'm not done! DO
NOT count me out just yet. I may still have some surprises left in me!
The 2012 weekend of the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame gave me
something I've been missing these nine years since my accident…let's
see what happens from here on out. Now…the following is the speech I
wrote and made at the 2012 East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame awards
My Thanks to Our History Makers from Becky White
"I had originally told Nancy I did not want to speak because I have
already given a speech this year and I am not good at speeches. But
she mentioned something to me later in that same conversation which
made me change my mind. I don't want to speak about me, but there is
something I would like to say to all of you about YOU, people you have
seen this weekend and hundreds of others you haven't seen but who,
nevertheless, are all cut from a similar pattern. What I really want
to stress is this: I don't think any of you here have any clue what
YOU mean to all drag racers everywhere! I spent a lot of time at home
raising children before I got heavily involved in drag racing but I
continued to read my hot rod magazines, etc. and I went to a race once
in a great while. (I held up my picture of Don Carlton and said)…This
IS my pride and joy…you can't read it but it says, "To Becky, Don
From the '40s on, there were groups of people in small areas all over
the country who got together to discuss cars, who's was faster, had
more horsepower, more cubic inches and all the other things drag
racers still discuss today…we have heard that for years. From those
groups of racers…like the bunch which came out of the Hickory, Hudson,
Lenoir area and others like them all over the U.S…they can have NO
idea how they impacted, not just local drag racing, but the sport as a
whole. People like Don Carlton and Clyde Hodges here and all their
followers…the people who idolized them and wanted to be just like
them…just like groups all over this country. They MADE drag racing
REAL. They made it legit.
YOU…all of YOU are the people who made all this possible…this entire
sport…you came before…you are the ones who made drag racing what it is
today. YOU…you gave us our deep, fierce abiding love for cars with
MUSCLE, for big loud engines and little loud engines, YOU…you gave us
our heritage and taught us things like respect, sportsmanship, caring
for our fellow racers and what it means to be a part of something as
grand as drag racing. YOU…you showed us how to be fierce, mighty
competitors while all the time, teaching us how to share and share
alike, help anyone who needed it and be there at all times for your
YOU…at least most of you…came from shoestring backgrounds where you
had to rake and scrape and scrimp and work a second job to raise a
family AND a race car! Most of you worked on your own cars…maybe with
a little help from friends sometimes…and you taught us how to do the
same…you let us KNOW and showed us ALL THIS IS POSSIBLE!
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you…every racer who came before
us who taught by DOING and NOT by TALKING. Thank you for teaching us
we can be the absolute best of friends and the absolute fiercest
competitors while all the time being good sportsmen and sportswomen.
The battles we have fought in drag racing for so many years are
nothing compared to what you went through in making drag racing the
grand sport it has become. WE cannot thank you enough, there are no
words to describe what you have meant to the sport, to all the little
guys who came after and KNEW they could do this because they watched
all of YOU struggle and fight to be able to do this singular thing you
Clyde Hodges told me a story about one time when he and Don Carlton
had been to Detroit, I don't remember why. They probably weren't
testing a car because he told me how cold it was during the trip. Yes,
sometimes they got paid by Chrysler and sometimes they raced FOR
Chrysler and sometimes they raced independently, but as Clyde said,
"They didn't pay for everything!" They didn't pay for that old car
hauler they were driving on that trip and not long after they left
Detroit heading home for good old North Carolina, that old rickety,
falling apart car hauler…which probably already had a hundred thousand
more miles on it than it should have…started smoking. Like the smoke
coming from the stack on a coal fired steam train!
They just happened to have a case of 'racing' oil on the back of the
truck…they pulled over, checked it, yep…it was low so they started to
put a quart of that oil in the engine. Only the oil wouldn't pour out
of the can…it was so cold it was almost solid! They laid the can on
the engine and finally got it barely warm enough to pour in. They
started on down the road. Shortly thereafter, they had to stop and put
in another quart…only this time they had been smart enough to put a
can in the truck with them…near the heater. That worked. They put that
one in, but their fingers were freezing and they were having a really
Being the 'engineers' all drag racers are known to be, they stuck a
piece of hose in the hole in the valve cover and ran it into the truck
through a crack in the window and stuck a funnel in that end of the
hose. They put that whole case of oil in the front floorboard with
them…they knew they were going to need it! From then on, all the way
home, they just poured warm oil in one end of the hose and let it run
right into the engine. He said they never WERE so glad to get back to
get back to good old Lenoir!
There are a MILLION or 20 million stories like that in drag racing.
Every racer you meet has several of them. Not many of them ever get
published. I thank God I had the chance to publish a lot of those
wonderful stories. I thank God I had the chance to have so many people
like YOU help me raise my children…in their crucial teenage years…all
drag racers who taught my girls how to be REAL people. THANK YOU for
being who and what you are, the spectacular friends of drag racing.
Thank God for DRAG RACERS…those who continue to carry on our sport but
even more importantly, those of you who made it possible! Thank YOU!
Thursday, March 14, 2013
This is the second editorial I ever wrote in Quick Times Racing
News…the May, 1981 issue…32 years ago!!! I wonder how much difference
there would be in drag racing now if track operators had followed my
advice all the way back then? I am not afraid to say the sport would
now have thousands of more spectators than we do now and lots more
racers! I always did everything I thought I could to help the sport
and this was one way I felt would really help every track AND the
future of drag racing.
I wrote editorials time after time about how track operators could get
more racers, more spectators and be more involved with their
community…therefore making friends with their neighbors so when
problem did arise…which they always do…tracks would have a way to
defend their positions AND their actions.
I could only give advice all those years…which I did…but I could not
do my job and theirs, too! You know the old saying, "You can lead a
horse to water but you can't make it drink?" I don't know of any way
to better describe drag strip operators. I am going to be putting more
of these 'ageless' editorials on the blog in the near future! Read
this and tell me what YOU think!
On the Racing QT…with Becky White (May, 1981)
Now that the weather is getting warm, I wonder how many track
operators have considered trying to get younger people involved in the
sport of drag racing? At least one track I know of is really doing
something. Each week, a different group of youngsters, along with
their chaperones, are invited to attend the race free of charge. You,
as a track operator, cannot possibly lose money on this venture since
the youngsters will be visiting your concession stand quite often to
buy refreshments and most tracks don't charge admission for children
under 12 anyway. This will not only help drag racing get more
spectators, it will also improve the relationship between your track
and surrounding areas.
You may ask, "What groups?" but have you ever noticed just how many
youth groups there are? Churches have youth groups, there's 4-H, Girl
Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownie and Cub Scouts and school groups, just to
name a few. How do you go about inviting these different groups? You
can call your county agriculture office for 4-H, the Tri-Ad Council of
Scouts, preachers for information on church groups, talk to people who
work at the public library and contact your local newspaper, also
school principals and secretaries. Then contact the group leaders. Set
a date which will be convenient for them. Assure them you will reserve
their group a section where they can all stay together.
If possible, have a track official meet them at the gate with name
tags so everyone will know they are not a part of the usual crowd. In
other words, give them the 'red carpet' treatment! Always try to
schedule a different group at each race. If you do have guests and you
have your race reports printed in local newspaper, BE SURE to include
this in your report. It won't be long before people will be calling
you to ask if they can bring a group.
Everyone agrees wholeheartedly drag racing needs more spectators and I
feel this is one of the best of all ways to get the younger generation
more interested in this sport on the local track, weekly race level
(where spectators are needed most). Results won't be seen overnight,
but if this great sport continues to be what it is, it needs those
spectators and in the long run, who's to say this isn't the best
possible way in the world to get those spectators until we try and
Give this idea a try at your track and I believe you will be able to
see the difference before the end of the 1981 season. Becky White
(My note in 2013: What I ask you is this…if I knew this as long ago as
May, 1981, why in the world couldn't track operators see it, too? And
after reading that editorial, will someone PLEASE explain to me…WHY
didn't track operators act IMMEDIATELY on this idea and get on the
phone before they ever laid that issue down? When Steve Earwood
introduced me at the 2012 North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame, he
said I never minded telling track operators how to run their tracks! I
presume he was talking about editorials such at that one.
This was not a way to TELL track operators how to run their track, my
editorials were a way to give track operators suggestions on HOW TO
MAKE MORE MONEY…not just immediately, but for many years in the
future! How many of them acted on this? How many of them took this
suggestion? How about 'almost ZERO!' I KNOW running a track is a hard
job. I have never been a track operator but there isn't anyone in drag
racing who can say I DID NOT closely work WITH track operators…on a
daily and sometimes a minute to minute basis! I know what they went
through and I know all the hassles they had on a daily basis…at least
those who really cared.
But I CAN tell you this…many, MANY track operators I have worked with
over the past 34 years are some of the absolute LAZIEST people in the
WORLD! How much time and how many phone calls would it have taken to
get just a few childrens' groups to their track each year? But instead
of taking my suggestions and the advice I gave to them over the years
of all the ways I 'advised' them they could have MORE people in their
gates and more money in their pockets, they just shrugged it off as
TOO much work, too hard to do or the ravings of a 'woman.' Instead of
using my intentions in the way they were intended, they just laid the
paper down and went on to doing whatever it was they were doing before
they picked the paper up to begin with.
How many more spectators could we possibly have in this sport if this
idea of mine had been put to fruition in 1981? WOW! I can't even
imagine. Even if we only got ONE percent of all the children we could
possibly have gotten inside the gates in the past 34 years, that could
STILL be thousands! If you don't believe it, ask Bill Bader! If you
don't believe it, ask Marshall Oldham or Mark Joyce or even Melvin
Bishop! All these guys are track operators who have been, used some of
the ideas I suggested and gave me many more to pass on to others. Some
of those others no longer ever have a track…I think I know most of the
reasons why. And at least some of those track operators lost their
tracks because they were too lazy to help themselves a little bit!
Maybe there are some out there who will read these timeless
suggestions and try them now!)
You know how you listen to everyone talking about how drag racing is
doing good or doing bad and you normally hear more bad than good?
Well, everything I had heard about IHRA and their 2012 points races
for most of the year was not good! Mostly what I heard were lots of
complaints about how the tracks were way low on their car counts. In
August, I got a chance to go to Farmington Dragway's IHRA points race.
I only went on Saturday but boy, was I shocked when I got there! It
was…as usual…wall to wall race cars. The joint was packed and jumping!
I couldn't believe it after all the bad things I had heard.
I didn't go to any other IHRA points races so I don't really know how
the car counts were but there was NO shortage of race cars at
Farmington! It was the first time I have been to a race there since it
has new owners, but I actually went to two more races there later…both
in September. As always, new owners have things to learn but overall,
I was almost impressed with the job they were doing. I really enjoyed
seeing so many people I haven't seen in a long, LONG time. I had a
blast. The main reason I went to that race is because my friend
Jeannie said, "Hey, Frank Teague is going to race at the IHRA race at
Farmington…wanna go?" And of course I jumped at the chance.
The race was in August and I knew I would be able to go to Frank and
Debbie's and rest and get out of the sun…or rain as the case was at
least one time…any time I needed to. The rest of the day, I was
walking around talking to people, getting lots of hugs and "How are
yous?" There is ALWAYS that one question, "Are you going to get back
into racing!" The answer, "NO!" is always the same but I'm beginning
to wonder. If you keep checking this blog, you will understand what I
mean later on! Sandy and Everett and all the folks at the track were
really nice and helpful. I even went to the tower and did a little
question and answer session on the PA.
Yes, it IS hard for me to get in the tower but I am NO stranger to
stairs since I have to go down and up my own stairs at least once a
day and most times more often. It is good exercise for a crippled up
old lady! I can't tell you how much it meant to me to be there that
day and to see everyone. You have to remember, I haven't been to many
races since my wreck! I have been going to the Shuffletown Reunion at
Mooresville each year for four years and I went to the Legends Race at
the Farm in 2011. In September, I went back to the Farm for the
Legends Race. Yes, I suppose I AM a legend! HA! Sometimes it isn't
good to be a legend, sometimes it is! I had a great time and got to
see a lot more old friends. I enjoyed the first Legends race better
than the one in 2012…for a couple of reasons, in 2012, it was only one
In 2010, the first one was three days and they allowed me to set up in
the game room with plenty of table space to put out my books. I didn't
have that in 2012. It was really windy that day and those old scrap
books of mine had to remain closed most of the day because those old
papers are so frail, I was afraid they would rip to pieces. They are
all I have left of my life during those years. I was also a lot more
comfortable in the game room because at least the floor is level…it is
hard for me to maneuver on gravel and grass! I really hope they will
go back to the three day 2010 format in 2013 and put me back in the
I did not get to attend the Legends Race in 2011 because I was
paralyzed due to a blood clot in my spinal column on September 30,
2011 and I was still in rehab during the race. I don't know what the
format was in 2011 but I think it was pretty much the same as 2010.
Still yet, the 2012 race was a blast and everyone there had a great
time and if you ever get a chance to attend the race, please do. Mike
Boyles, who everyone knows as the guy who drives that wheel standing
Charlie Brown '57 Chevy wagon, was racing everything he could drive in
every class they ran that day and I think he won several of them!
Talk about having a blast…he was probably the happiest, as well as the
most tired, person there. He did more running back and forth finding
out which vehicle he was going to have to run the next round than most
people do in two or three racing weekends! I think he won two or three
of those eliminators in that one day! Ken Regenthal brought out a
'new' gear jamming 'street' (yes, street) Corvette which is running 5s
and everyone got a kick out of seeing him run that car. One of the
things I REALLY enjoyed that day was taking pictures. And, yes, I
broke out the old Canon AE1 film cameras and all the other folks on
the starting line looked at me like I was crazy! But I know what
always worked for me and even though I do have a digital camera…I
don't trust it for racing pics!
I haven't taken many racing many racing photos since my wreck in 2003.
I did take quite a few at the Shuffletown Reunion Race at Mooresville
Dragway back in the spring and was surprised MY reaction times on that
camera button are as good as they ALWAYS were! I think I had two
blurred shots from that race. None from Farmington's Legends race! If
you see me somewhere in 2013, I will have all the photos with me I
took in 2012! When Jeannie and I learned there would be a Pro Mod
style race at Farmington two weeks after the Legends race, we decided
to attend it, too.
I have not seen a Pro Mod race since 2003!!! I did see Tommy Mauney
and Charles Carpenter run a best two of three match race at the first
Shuffletown Reunion race and that was IT! Since I consider Pro Mod, as
a whole, MY baby, I TRULY enjoyed it. I took photos there, too! (I
missed the front end of one car and it was someone I don't like so it
didn't matter! After I found out who it was in that car, I didn't take
any more photos of it anyway!) I got to spend lots of time with lots
of other people I haven't seen in years…a whole different group of
That time, I got to park my car right beside the staging lanes just
like I did for so many years at so many tracks all over this country.
That put me right in the thick of things because I have always known I
could visit with more racers in the staging lanes than I could any
other way! I guess you could say I 'haunted' the staging lanes at most
of the races I attended during the 25 years I published QTRN. I walked
the staging lanes several times at the IHRA points race as well. I
took some old photo albums and put them out on the hood of my car on
my Kodak beach towel during the Pro Mod race just like did for so many
There are always folks coming by wanting to know if I want to ride
around on their golf carts and see people and I really enjoyed that,
too. Especially when there are some people who don't come to the
staging lanes! Ken Regenthal…who had not raced his Pro Mod Corvette
all year came to this race, too and I got to visit with their whole
family…a family I have thought the world of for many years…I even got
to meet Ken's mother for the first time! The members of this family
have never forgotten me during these years of my absence, they
continue to send me photos of the kids and grandkids and every once in
a while, a box will show up on my doorstep with their return address
on it. I love that family!
I actually managed to get a good shot of Ken, in the right lane,
between the water box and the starting line FROM the left side of the
track! Speaking of taking photos at the Farm…I got a lot of strange
looks from people who don't know me, as this old crippled lady used
her crutches to help her scramble across those VERY high guard walls
so she COULD take photos! And as always, spring time is the BEST time
to take photos at the Farm because in the fall of year, the sun
crosses the track by 11 am and you can no longer take photos on the
right side (unless, of course, you have all the latest trick camera
You can't take photos of race cars with the sun on the opposite side
from you and you can't take photos of race cars with the sun glaring
on the quarter panels or directly on one side of the car even WITH the
latest trick camera equipment OR the old stuff! The neatest thing
about taking the photos was…the first week of December, I got an email
from Mark Joyce…a call for help, if you will! "Becky, did you by any
chance get a good photo of Ken Regenthal's blue Corvette at the
Legends Race? Lisa wants to make Ken a t-shirt for his birthday…which
is Sunday and we can't find a good enough shot!" The email came on
Tuesday! So I called Mark and told him, "YES, I DID get one!!!"
So I got the photo to him, he made the shirts and EVERYONE was happy!
Especially me! Here I am, I basically have not taken racing photos in
NINE years and I end up being the one person in the world Mark thinks
of to call to see if I got a shot good enough to put on a t-shirt…and
I had gotten one! I felt ten feet tall and bullet proof!!! I was so
proud of myself! And somehow or another, I ended up with two or three
of those great shirts! YAY! I've been wearing them everywhere!
All in all, I went to four drag races in 2012. I did some other
things, too and if you just keep reading this blog…there will be
stories about those experiences on here, too. I already wrote about
receiving the Jeff Byrd Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award in January
but there is a LOT more to come from this old racing lady! So stay
tuned and keep reading…Becky White just might stir the pot and get
things interesting in drag racing once again! As for Farmington
Dragway, I wish the 'still new' owners the best of luck and another
GREAT racing season in 2013! I will see you there!
Becky White…I am now, I always have been, I always will be "DRAG
RACING'S MOST DEDICATED FAN!"
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
When I was introduced at the North Carolina Drag Racers Hall of Fame awards ceremony on January 14, 2012, I walked up to the podium with the aid of my crutches. I leaned them against the wall and thanked the Hall of Fame committed, then I said, "Most of all, I thank God just for my being here because less than four months ago, I was completely paralyzed!" Then I made my speech. I had been told I would only have three or four minutes to speak so instead of making the entire following speech…the one I WANTED to make…I had to cut it down by more than half. I also said everyone had talked longer than that, but that they never had wanted to me speak anyway! Of course there were some remarks, but I continued. This is the speech as I FIRST wrote it on September 10, 2011.
A long time ago, I gave up hoping I would ever be recognized for my achievements in drag racing. So, imagine my surprise when I got this call! It call came on September 10 and all I knew was I had been selected for an award…I didn't even know what the award was for until two weeks before the car show! There ARE some people I have to thank. Without them, Quick Times Racing News would NEVER have been a reality. The first and most important is Jeff Byrd (I wrote this before I knew the award would be in Jeff's name). Without Jeff's guidance, his advice, his help and most importantly…his friendship, I would NEVER have made it. He never failed to answer a question, do a favor, share his knowledge, boost me up when I was in the depths of despair and he was ALWAYS my friend!
With Larry Carrier trying to keep me out of IHRA races and the powers at NHRA trying to keep me out of NHRA races, I would NEVER have gotten to go a national event had it not been for Jeff…I also have to thank Bill Taylor of TCI here! All I had to do was call and tickets would be waiting for me AND my girls when I got to any event I wanted to attend! Jeff answered MANY of those calls from me! I learned a LOT of things from going to the 'big' races which would help me help you. To me, the best two men we have been lucky enough to ever have in drag racing are Jeff Byrd and Bill Bader…thank you Bill, for everything. When I heard Jeff was the NEW president of the NEW Bristol Motor Speedway, my estimation of Bruton Smith went up about a million points!
I knew then Bristol Dragway would be saved! And that's exactly what Jeff did. He saved that track from being a parking lot and campground. When you went in Jeff's first office at Bristol, there was NO photo of Richard, Dale, Buddy, Ned, Junior or any other NASCAR racers hanging on his wall. Oh, no…in their place was a wall sized poster of John Force doing a burnout! Jeff LOVED drag racing. When we lost Jeff, we lost a person who did more for the sport of drag racing than almost anyone else every involved. Jeff…thank you…for EVERYTHING, but most importantly, thanks for your legacy…it will NEVER be surpassed! If the rest of us would be try to be more like Jeff Byrd, the whole world and especially the world of drag racing would definitely be a better place.
Next, I have to thank Jerry Joyce and Norman Drouillard of Farmington Dragway…without them, there wouldn't have even been a place to start. Thanks, Guys! They gave me a chance and BOTH taught me a lot. It was actually through them, I met Jeff Byrd. Next I have to thank Barry Jenkins. The paper AND the name was his idea, he just brought me along to do the dirty work. Without him, I would NEVER have had the nerve to start a project like this. This was a dream of his and when he learned it was a dream of mine as well, HE made it happen. After four months, he wanted out and somehow or another, I decided I would try to keep at it. I NEVER expected to succeed, much less for the paper to become what it did. I only wanted to do a 'little' publication for our local tracks and racers, but when the local racers would not support me, I had to go farther afield. That is how and why Quick Times Racing News grew the way it did.
The next two are Woody Hatten of Super Stock & DI magazine and Dave Wallace of Drag Racing magazine. You know, it's really funny, the men whose names I've mentioned welcomed me into the sport more than most track operators and racers!!! Woody and Dave both helped me in ways I cannot begin to explain. The closest I had ever come to doing anything like this was watching the girls at the Davie Enterprise do ad layouts!!! My entire background had been in farming and automotive and being a mother and homemaker! Those two men taught me things about writing, about people, about publishing…Dave told me one time, "I wish we could get as many letters as you do!" I was shocked. I said, "I always thought you got so many letters, you had to leave most of them out!" He said, "No…we print every letter we receive! We just wish we could get more! Never forget, every time someone writes you a letter, there are at least ten more out there who wanted to write the same one!" They were always there for me…that's how I got MY story printed in both their magazines! They taught me so much about this business, I could never thank them enough!
Without Frank and Debbie Teague, I wouldn't have been able to go to as many races as I did. First, because Frank kept all my junkers and clunkers…mostly Mopars…on the road for me! Second…because they both were willing to put up with my girls when I went to races they didn't want to attend. They just became a part of Frank and Debbie's crew! Thanks to both of you. I had SO MUCH adversity, not just when I first started the paper, but during the entire 25 years I published it. Actually, I am still getting adversity…there are many people who are trying to re-write the history of drag racing even now and I am still fighting the fight. I haven't quit writing…it is on my blog!
Thank you Dick Moroso. A MOST unusual man. He was another of those VERY exceptional men drag racing was VERY lucky to have. Had it not been for him, this sport would be short many of his innovations and developments. The first time I got a call from Moroso Performance when they wanted to advertise with me, I was floored! From that point on, I had a Moroso Performance ad in nearly every issue I ever printed. He called me at least once each year and sometimes more to get MY take on the 'health' of sportsman racing…we spent hours on the phone. Then we got to be personal friends and he was SUCH a help and so willing to do ANYTHING to help make drag racing better. Drag racing was what he lived for. I thank God our entire sport was lucky enough to have him. I learned SO much from him and we had a blast forming the SCRA and being at the 5-Day bracket races in Florida. We shared the deaths of our children, both at the age of 22 and that brought us even closer together. Thanks, Dick.
This next person was running River Cities Raceway Park when I met him. Marshall Oldham has been my mentor, my friend and supporter for many, MANY years. Whenever I was unsure of myself or of something I had written, especially if it was controversial, I would call Marshall and read it to him. Now you know who to blame! He taught me so much about public relations, how to get attention for our sport from people who knew nothing about it, how to get things done and I appreciate him so much. Marshall and I still solve the problems of drag racing every chance we get!
I have to thank Warren and Arlene Johnson for their support in MANY ways over these many years along with Ronnie Sox, Harold Denton and several more of those wonderful Pro Stock racers. Even Don Carlton, although he was gone before Quick Times was started, the kind of man he was made me want to be the kind of person I am. He was always instrumental in the way I wrote and the things I did in my fight for grass roots drag racers. I spent just enough time with Don to learn exactly what kind of person he was and how he felt about the sport he had dedicated his head, his heart, his mind and his time to. Back to Warren and Arlene…any time I EVER needed an ego boost or just needed someone to re-assure me I was doing the right thing…I could call Arlene Johnson! When she talked about the guys in the shop dropping all their work to read the Quick Times when it came in the mail…that was all I needed to make me want to work even harder! When Warren said if he wanted propaganda, he would read National Dragster, when he wanted to know what was REALLY going on in drag racing, he read Quick Times Racing News, I knew I was doing the right thing.
I DO want to thank Larry Carrier…for the NASTY, hateful, lying letter he wrote ABOUT me but not TO me…the letter which made me mad enough to NOT quit. I was ready to quit…in March, 1982, until I read that letter. I thought, "I'll show you! You just don't know how stubborn I really am!" Larry also passed away a few years ago…he had Alzheimers and didn't even know his own family members. A local racer told me one time, "I would NEVER write a letter to that paper. And if I was a track operator, I wouldn't advertise in it either. It's just a bunch of propaganda!" Remember that, Bob? (If I could have said this much when I actually made my speech, I would have looked directly at Bob Harris!) This WAS my life for 25 years! And I loved every single minute of it! Things like that just made me tougher and stronger and made me want to be a better person and do a better job…for all of you…even for the people who were always against me.
Most importantly, thanks to my family…even Teresa. She was actually going to the printer to pick up the October, 1985 issue of Quick Times when she was in the accident which took her life. Without their help and support, I absolutely could NOT have done this. Thanks to Mendy and Candace who both worked for me and especially Mendy who took care of the home front when I was gone. They went racing with me and supported me for many, many years.
There are people in this world whose foresight rises above all obstacles, they just know there is a greater good with some things when other people just cannot see that good. Thank God I was lucky enough to have a few people in my life like those I've mentioned here who supported ALL my efforts. There WERE a lot MORE people than these who really made this publication a success and I could not have done it without every single one of them. Thanks to each person who ever bought a subscription, ran an ad, let me stay with them when I was out of town, fed me when I didn't have enough money for a meal, paid for my gas when I couldn't have even gotten home without it and said a prayer for my well being. Thanks to all the writers, contributors and photographers who sent stories, race results and photos and never got any pay…just their name in print. I am really afraid I've left out someone important, but I hope not.
I did not know this was 'possibly' going to be the Jeff Byrd Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award until two weeks after I was notified I was receiving it and even then they weren't sure that is what it would be! I feel SO honored to be the first person to receive this and I cannot begin to tell you how I feel. Thank you everyone….and thanks again, Jeff!
(I cannot tell anyone how much receiving this award means to me. I will cherish this always and it will always be the highlight of MY career in drag racing. Drag Racing's Most Dedicated Fan Forever…Becky White.)
Within the next couple weeks or so, I will put at least two more articles…editorials if that is what you want to call them, on this blog. I hope you will all read them and take them to heart because they will mean as much to this sport's future as anything I have ever written. Please keep reading because I'm going to keep writing. I am also working on an expose' of the Sportsman Class Racers Association. I want everyone to know exactly what happened to that organization and I want to make sure the people who caused its demise will get their 'just' rewards for their lies and back stabbing. Receiving this award has made me realize how much I have missed working in and FOR drag racing. I think I can still be influential because I have an insight into the sport and its people few other people have ever had. Thanks to everyone involved in and with the North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
Monday, January 24, 2011
I say 'not-so-humble' because the people who REALLY meant and STILL MEAN the MOST to Pro Modified are the people who started it. And one of them recently was inducted into the North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame…Charles Carpenter. Believe you me, Pro Modified was a hard fought battle…made easy for today's P/M racers by the people who MEAN THE MOST to the entire class and will always have the MOST influence because without them, it just would not be! I have already put the HISTORY of Pro Modified on this blog…I just wanted to write this to refresh the memories of those who forget so easily and to teach those who have NO clue! I guess I'll have to do this every couple years because people forget so quickly or just don't pay attention to start with. Of course, there are always those who would like to make everyone think things really aren't the way they really are!
If you REALLY want to know who the MOST influential people in the world are to Pro Modified as a whole…besides BECKY WHITE and Don Garrick, then pay attention for a change. One comment was by one particular person who said she could 'write a book,' well, if so, why didn't she? Because it was too hard a job! But I DID write a book…it was called Quick Times Racing News. And I wrote it a long time before the person who made that comment ever came on the scene So, NO, that person could not have written a book about what I'm writing about tonight. She was a late-comer to the scene anyway…years after the 'beginnings' of the class.
But if 'Yours Truly' (that's ME in case you don't know) hadn't given ALL those racers the acknowledgement and recognition of their accomplishments and believed in them even more than some of them believed in themselves, there may never have been the FIRST heads up, pro tree, no breakout doorslammer race. I called those guys and asked them if they wanted to race that way. They ALL did. I called them and got them to come to the first few of those races at Orangeburg Dragstrip. Don Garrick provided the FIRST venue for the fastest of the fast DOORSLAMMERS in the southeast to run a Pro-style race…and he did it a full year and a half before anyone else. THIS, my friends, is where Pro Mod came from and these were AND STILL ARE the people who are MOST important to and influential in Pro Mod…forever.
Why? Because without these 'charter' members, there would not have been the class as it is today. These same racers are the racers who ran Top Sportsman and formed the Top Sportsman Racers Association…from whence came Pro Modified after this group put so much pressure on IHRA to do MORE for the racers who were providing the show that brought the spectators to the IHRA races. This happened at a time when IHRA was losing was more racers and more spectators than they were gaining…a dangerous time for IHRA. Pro Modified was the biggest saving grace in the history of that organization! I not only helped Don Garrick hold the first race as well as subsequent races, the actual Pro Modified designation for the class happened in 1989…I won the 1989 IHRA Media Award for promoting this class and these racers as well as all the others.
I don't know WHERE Bret Kepner gets the idea he knows anything about how Pro Mod came about…he wasn't even around when and where it first got started. He may have done a little announcing up in the Midwest some of those years…but he was never in the south during that time. He doesn't know anything about what was going on here. But for some reason or another, he thinks he has to put his two cents worth in every time the subject comes up even though he doesn't know what he's talking about. Bret…let me remind you AGAIN…I am NOT dead YET! First let me say NO ONE has CHANGED PRO MOD…it has evolved. I may not like the way it has evolved, but some things just cannot be held back. If ANYONE wants to KNOW the TRUTH about PRO MOD…its history…where it came from…WHO it came from, all they have to do is go to quicktimesracingnews.blogspot.com and right there you will find the entire history of how Pro Mod came to be…all the way from the 1960s! You HAVE to have the history…without it, there would be no Pro Modified! You will NEVER STEAL MY THUNDER…no matter how often you try or how many lies you tell…because you can NOT change history! How many times does someone have to tell you something before you GET it? You have to remember…this started with ALL carbureted cars…NO blowers! Nitrous, yes, but there were NO blowers.
Pro Mod is MY class…it was from the beginning and it will always be and no matter how many other people try to change that fact, it IS still FACT. The only thing Bret Kepner ever had to do with Pro Mod was talking about it…in his job as an announcer. Otherwise, no matter how much Bret WANTS Pro Mod to be 'his' class, it never will be. As I said, he was not even around when this class got started…in the south…first at Orangeburg Dragstrip…and it spread like wildfire because it was SO EXCITING…the most exciting thing to come out of drag racing since the advent of funny cars in the '60s…it was first called Quick 8 Doorslammers. But even before then, racers vied for speed and low ET, not just for the money it brought them, but the glory as well.
And yes, R.C. Sherman WAS one of those 'fast' guys early on, just like all the others I've named. There were factions all over the country…United Drag Racers Association had racers going that way…I guess that's who R.C. raced with. But this had NOTHING to do with 'altereds.' There were the Dixie Pro Stockers and several other groups of guys who either could not afford to run with Pro Stock…be it 500 inch or unlimited or they were just barely out-paced by the top few guys who were always the top few guys. They wanted to go fast…they couldn't do it with IHRA or NHRA and they sure as hell couldn't bracket race so they formed little groups all over the place and ran as exhibitionists. The racers who started Pro Modified didn't do that…they kept fighting for a place to run actual races, where they could get paid to qualify…not just do exhibition runs. They also ran the match race circuit with all their local southeastern tracks and became so well known to the fans just the mention of having any of them at any certain track would guarantee a track operator a good payday.
When they started running eight of those very popular cars per event, that guaranteed an even bigger payday and the southeastern tracks…especially the Carolina tracks…the most success they had EVER seen. The more popular they became in the southeast, the more little groups popped up in other places…Midwest Pro Stock was one very popular group, not to mention the Wild Bunch (although they were mostly blower cars). Yes, they were ALL important and I do NOT discount the importance of any of them.
But when you get right down to brass tacks, Pro Mod BELONGS to Becky White and Quick Times Racing News, Don Garrick and Orangeburg Dragstrip, Charles Carpenter and Rob Vandergriff, Jim Bryant, Blake Wiggins, Scotty Cannon, Michael Martin, Ken Regenthal, Gordy Foust, Ronnie Hood & Bruce Walker, Tommy Mauney, Frankie Flanagan, Terry Housley & the Thurmer brothers, Ed Hoover, Wally Bell (I cannot believe Wally Bell could mention other publications in his comments but not mention Quick Times Racing News…I guess that is the thanks a person gets for working their heart out…Wally, how would you like for me to leave your name out here?), Jim Honeycutt, Thomas Jackson, Jeff Higgins & Don Plemmons, Grady Moore, Sonny & Deb Tindal, Wayne Davis, Gene Fryer, Frankie Foster, Frank Roberts, Roger Huffman, Karl & Butch Bridgeman, Smitty & Memphis Smith, Paul Smith, Woody Elders, Frank Teague, Lee Huffman, Sam Stevenson, Tommy Warren, George Gaffney, Dennis Newton, Larry Adams and Mike Petree, Sam Snyder and every other little guy racer who wanted to go fast and heads up…every little guy who grubbed and dug and scratched their way to a new way of life in our sport…guys whose names you've never even heard before and never will hear them or read them anywhere but here…in Quick Times Racing News. Because I STILL care that the true history of this class remain unadulterated by egomaniacs. Not to mention companies like NOS, RAM, TM Race Cars, how many more were instrumental in building the equipment these cars needed?
As all GOOD things come to an end, when it became a 'Pro' class, it caught the attention of lots of those aforementioned egomaniacs who didn't have to grub out a spot…they just bought one…everyone wanted to be a part of this new part of drag racing. There are people who race Pro Mod now who have not the slightest idea of how we all fought and the struggles the racers and I went through to get from Low ETs and Top Speed to Quick 8 Mountain Motor Outlaw Doorslammers to Top Sportsman shootouts to get this class a legal IHRA class. You have NO idea what I went through to get NHRA to recognize this class, the begging and pleading I did to get NHRA tracks to run just ONE Quick 8 race…just so they could see how crazy the fans were over it. Ask Steve Earwood, see if he will tell you the truth…if he won't, I have a letter you can read! Ask anyone who was involved with the first NHRA sanctioned tracks who ran Quick 8s…Southeastern Dragway, Lassiter Mountain Dragway and others and finally Atlanta Dragway, ask Gary Brown. If there are people's names on here the Pro Mod racers of today don't know, today's group needs to thank them. Without them, you'd all just still be 'little guy' drag racers. And Bret Kepner wouldn't have anything to brag about. Just because he was an announcer…later…doesn't mean he knows anything about who is REALLY important to Pro Modified as it is today.
Bret…get an original idea for a change and stop trying to recycle mine! I offered you the chance to write an original story in 1986, you couldn't do it then and 25 years later, you STILL can't! You just keep trying to write the same old stuff in different places. When the people on one website get tired of reading your crap, you just go to another one. I have now figured out why you've never wised up…you can't! You remain as impotent on this subject as you were when you got your Corvette tires slashed at the motel in Bristol, TN!
I read all the posts on promodzone.com and most of you are way off base…I tell you this again…I DID WRITE A BOOK…it was called QUICK TIMES RACING NEWS! If you want to know the people who were…and always will be…the MOST important and influential people in Pro Modified, all you have to do is go to http://quicktimesracingnews.blogspot.com and read the TRUE history of Pro Mod. Wally Bell is correct about one thing…no one from 2000 on would be there without the guys who started it…actually I will go one step farther and say most of those from 1995 and on would not be here today without those original guys and I know I've left some names out…for that I'm sorry. You DON'T have to remain ignorant on this subject…just read the facts…written and printed as it was happening! Ronnie Davis was close…Tommy Mauney was as influential in the formation of Pro Mod as any other single individual with the exceptions of Charles Carpenter, Becky White and Don Garrick at Orangeburg Dragstrip.
Some of the guys y'all mentioned on that message board had absolutely NOTHING to do with the beginning of Pro Modified and they are inconsequential as far as the class is concerned. For the REAL answer to the question, just come HERE to learn the REAL TRUTH. Read the November, 2009 article along with this one. Coming soon: The TRUTH about the S.C.R.A!