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Hemi Hunter's Top Fuel Tales

The Philadelphia Flyer

By Gary Peters

His name was Billy Young. He hailed out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He always showed up at the track with his son, whom he called Little Huck, if my memory is correct. He ran an AA/FD called Green Onions. He was an African American and looked to me to be about 6 foot 4 inches tall. At one point in time, Little Huck did the driving. Billy was a unique character who never seemed to get ruffled at the track.

He towed the trailer with a big station wagon with NAACP lettered across the doors. This was about the year 1961 or 62. The NAACP had printing under the big bold main letters that read, "National Association for the Advancement of Chrysler Plymouth." Green Onions sported an early Hemi. Billy and friends also had a great sense of humor. Green Onions was a fairly good running car, but seemed to be plagued with the little things that allow the competition to go by you for the win.

I remember one time when Huck was driving. The car sounded healthy and left the line fairly hard. It was on a good run and I saw Huck shut her down. I'm watching for the chute, but there was none. I notice the car hopping around on its tires as Huck tried to get it stopped. Off into the cornfield goes Huck and Green Onions. It appeared that he wasn't in serious trouble, just knocking down some corn stalks as he disappeared into them.

Billy's standing on the starting line with me watching the action. The track's rescue team is off after Huck in the ambulance. I asked Billy if he wanted to jump in to get to the bottom of the track. He calmly smiled and said, "What for? He was all right when he left, we didn't build it to stop." After the car returned, I saw that everyone was OK. No damage done.

The next time Billy and the crew showed up at the track, we had scheduled a wheelstander for the folks between the qualifying and actual race. Wouldn't you know it? The guy breaks, and we have no so-called half time show. What to do? The track decides to run a foot race for its 1320-foot racing length. We announce the foot race, and open it up to anyone who wants to compete. First prize was a trophy and a few bucks to win.

About 40 or so guys and gals show up for the race along with Billy Young. One of the guys who came to the starting line was the local area's high school track champion. We line everyone up as best we can and we flag them off. All I can remember to this day is Billy trucking down the track in his engineering boots with his pants legs rolled up, right behind the local track star who's decked out in shorts and sneakers.

Billy's right on the guy's heals all the way to the finish line. He comes in second. I don't remember the times turned by the winner. I just remember Billy's long legs with boots churning down that quarter mile. I never laughed so hard in my life.

Joe McNally does the work to schedule a yearly reunion at Vargo's Dragway. This past October, he told me that Billy was supposed to be there. Unfortunately, Billy never showed up. Hope everything's OK. This year, Joe is planning on the reunion again, and is hoping to have the Lehigh Valley Timing Association members attend. It will be the 50th reunion for the group. They started drag racing in the Lehigh Valley area and ran at Vargo's Dragway.

So if you're available and in the area, put this one down on your calendar. I don't think the date has been scheduled as of today. Keep your eyes open, it will get posted on the web somewhere I'm sure. If Billy shows up, we're not going to run another foot race. Not that we're all too old, it's just that we'll all need to look through our piles of junk to see if anyone has the starting flag.

Gary Peters
gary.peters@macktrucks.com
http://www.hemihunterracing.com

 

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