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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame & 2002 Reunion
October 6, 2002

Text and Photos by David Dilbeck

The East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame & 2002 Reunion was held Sunday, October 6th in Henderson, NC at the Vance-Granville Civic Center.

Nancy Wilson (the director of the Vance County Tourism Dept. in Henderson, NC. and a former drag racer) and her team had worked on the organization of the weekends events since January. Nancy, Norman Dickerson, Jack Redd (former editor of East Coast Drag Times), and all the other people who helped make this event possible did a wonderful job! This was not just a reunion and Hall of Fame ceremony as several other activities took place during the weekend. 

Late Friday afternoon (October 4), Ronnie Sox made an appearance with his “new” 1965 Plymouth “Paper Tiger” replica at Superior Chrysler. Many fans and several former drag racers with the sport came by to visit with Ronnie at the dealership. It was good to see Herb McCandless, Jack Redd, Nancy Wilson, and others there. Later Friday evening, the Jameson Inn held a reception for the racers and car show participants. There were many drag racing celebrities on hand for both events.

On Saturday October 5, the town of Henderson hosted the Show, Shine, Swine & Dine. The downtown section was blocked off and over 300 show cars were parked on the streets. Drag cars, customs, muscle cars, classics, and just about any other type of car that you can think of were on hand for this all day event. If you wanted to dine on barbecue, the Pork Meet Cook-off was held during Saturday's festivities. Food vendors were on hand, live bands entertained, burnouts on the street were performed, and car show awards were presented in 37 categories!

Some of the drag cars that were on display included the “Little Georgia Shaker” 1964 Ford Thunderbolt that was campaigned by Hubert Platt and later driven by Lee Malkemes, “The Virginian” altered wheelbase car originally driven by Pee Wee Wallace and the “Candymatic” Dodge (these two cars are owned by Rick DeMarco), Ronnie Sox's 1965 Plymouth Paper Tiger replica, the 1963 lightweight Bob Ford car (owned by Marco DeCesaris), the Chevy powered “Hemi Hunter” Top Fueler, a Hemi powered Nostalgia Top Fueler, Shirl Greer's “Chained Lightning” Mustang II funny car, and several current drag cars. I had the opportunity to meet several of the drivers/owners and had a great time checking out all the cars. Check out the photo of Mr. and Mrs. Bud Faubel dancing in the street as one of the bands played! 

On Sunday, October 6, it was finally time for the event that I had anticipated the most. The East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame & 2002 Reunion featured drag cars on display, a couple of hours set aside for bench racing and autograph opportunities, the Awards Ceremony ( that featured entertainment by Archie Jordan ), and a photo session. I had a terrific time talking to several drag racers that I knew and meeting quite a few others for the first time.

The Awards Panel consisted of Jack Redd, Bob Wilberger, Darwin Doll, Nancy Wilson, Terry Earwood, and Ray Bullock. The awards were presented to: Dave Strickler, Tom Sneden, Ronnie Sox, Pee Wee Wallace, Bud Faubel, Hubert Platt, Shirl Greer, Herb McCandless, Butch Mori, Gene Mori, Dee Simmons, Bill West, Bob Bernardon, Jerri Ball, Harold Denton, Linwood Craft, Terry Earwood, the Hemi Hunter Team, Jack Redd, Jeff Tinsley, John H. Garrett, Al Gore, Darwin Doll, Sam Auxier, Bill Jeunette, Hoyt Grimes, Julio Marra, Gene Hinson, Dave Reitz, Johnny Kelly, Rick Demarco, Don Fezell, Marco DeCesaris, Nancy Wilson, and Lee Malkemes. 

It was a fun, sometimes emotional, and very entertaining ceremony with several of the award winners near 80 years of age (or older)! I would love to hear some of the stories that these guys could tell! The Awards panel did a great job and Darwin Doll gave an especially touching talk on the importance of preserving the history of drag racing. Terry Earwood kept the audience laughing with his wild and wacky ways during the ceremony. I won't disclose the person's name, but a panel member publicly said this about Terry, “ I've heard a lot of people that could talk faster than me, but I've never before heard anyone that could talk faster than I could listen.” It was quite a show! 

After the ceremony, there was time to take a few photos. This is a group shot of the award winners.

I'm from Georgia and I also wanted to get a group shot of the winners with direct Georgia ties: Terry Earwood, Shirl Greer, Hoyt Grimes, and Hubert Platt. Well, Terry had to leave immediately to catch a plane, but I did get the other three together for this photo. Left to right: Hubert Platt, Shirl Greer, and Hoyt Grimes.

I had a great time from when I arrived early Friday afternoon, until I headed for home Sunday evening! I believe that the people of Henderson were some of the nicest and friendliest that I've ever had the pleasure to meet. Thanks again to the Vance County Tourism Dept. and the City of Henderson, NC for hosting such a superb event. I'm already counting the days until the 2003 reunion!

David Dilbeck


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