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Drag Racing Stories
Nov 7, 2011

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2011 East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame

By Bud De Boer

The 10th Annual East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame & Reunion is now history. Not only did it draw record crowds, but also record entries for the Show & Shine competition. No wonder they call it the largest antique/classic and nostalgia drag car event on the East Coast.

One of the featured cars of the event was the MoPar Missile, a '73 hemi Duster driven by Don Carlton that set the Pro Stock class on its ear in 1973 when he ran an 8.98 e.t. at 152 MPH, the first sub-nine second run for the category. Car is currently owned by Ben Donhoff.

Born a decade ago, this three day event has put Henderson, NC on the map as a must-see attraction for the performance car enthusiast. Planned and coordinated by Nancy Wilson, the weekend of October 14, 15, and 16, 201l saw fans travel from as far away as Canada to see the sights and hear the sounds in the downtown section of this historic city.

It all began on Friday with a Southern Style Barbecue at Satterwhite Point on Kerr Lake. Not only was the food great, but bench racing was non-stop.

Saturday featured Show & Shine competition for pre-1976 vehicles and with record entries, event parking on downtown main street had to be extended a block to accommodate them all. With fifty-four classes, judges were kept busy throughout the day picking the best of show for each class.

This '67 Barracuda ran the 1967-68 seasons with Bob Cain at the controls. Powered by a 426 injected hemi, the Wilmington, MA, based team made its presence known whereever it appeared with clockings of 9.30 seconds at 139 MPH.

In addition to some great show vehicles, nostalgia drag cars included the MoPar Missile, Virginian, Bounty Hunter, 2 Sox & Martin cars, S & S Team cars, Virginia Twister, Bunny Burkett’s funny car, Thunder Shifter, King Kong, Hartsoe Brothers Anglia, Pandemonium, Blue Mountain Express, Billy Lynch dragster, (Pat Fosters last project), Arlen Vanke’s Pro Stock Duster, Herman Lewis AMX, Jerry Baltes dragster, Hurri-Cain II, High & Mighty MoPar, Susie Koffel’s ’39 Plymouth, Ronald Lyles Duster, The Frenchman, The Pacers “TAZ”, Quick Silver ’68 Z28 Pure Stock, Stone Woods & Cook, K. S. Pittman Willys, Underdog, and Soul Survivor Nitro Coupe.

"Akron" Arlen Vanke was his name and Pro Stock was the game whenever the quarter mile veteran climbed behind the wheel of his '70 hemi Duster. Whether it was open competition (took runner-up at Indy in 1970) or match racing (where he won 80 percent of the time), Arlen left a legacy that won't soon be forgotten. Car is currently owned by Andy Hefer.

Sunday saw the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame pay tribute to drag racing pioneers from the 50’, 60’s’. and 70’s. It began at 10:00 AM with cars on display, autograph signing, bench racing, scrap book viewing, and a chance to meet past inductees and well as those about to be honored. Then at 12:30 PM, ceremonies commenced with Bret Kepner as MC.

This years inductees were Pat Bilbow (Posthumous), Francis Butler, John & Beth Collins, Bud De Boer, Bobby DiMino, Susie Koffel, Clem LaChance, Steve Reyes, Mike Valerio, Arlen Vanke Lifetime Achievement Award – Ramchargers: Thomas T. Coddington, Hartford (Mike) Buckel, Jim Thornton, Dick Maxwell (Posthumous), Dick Jones, M. Barnes Daniels, Gary Congdon, Thomas M. Hoover, David G. Rockwell, John P. Wehrly, Pete McNicholl, Dick Skoglund. Wally Parks Motorsports Statesman Memorial Award: Ernie Schorb. Ronnie Sox Memorial Award: R. Jack Ashley (Jack Strader) Woody Andrews Memorial Award: The Gusler Racing Family. Spirit of Drag Racing Award: “Hemi” Fred Ristagno.

For additional information call Vance County Tourism at (866)438-4565 (toll free)/ (252) 436-2222 Ext 21 (local) or visit www.eastcoastdragtimeshalloffame.com

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