Chris "The Greek" Karamesines Named Grand Marshal of the 8th annual Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion
Posted on Friday, February 26, 2010
BOWLING GREEN, KY -- Chris “The Greek” Karamesines, who is still racing Top Fuel dragsters at age 81, has been selected as the 8th annual Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion’s Grand Marshal. He is a member of the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. He has participated in the sport for over 50 years and continues to amaze the masses.
“At an age when most would rather be relaxing at home, “The Greek” Karamesines continues to drive a 7,000-horsepower Top Fuel dragster and shows no signs of slowing down,” said Tony Thacker, executive director of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum and event organizer. “It’s a huge honor for us to recognize one of drag racing’s titans Chris “The Greek” Karamesines as the Grand Marshal of this year’s Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Raceway.”
Call him the “Crazy Greek”, the “Golden Greek”, or simply “The Greek”, Chicago’s Chris Karamesines has been one of the most colorful and popular characters in drag racing history. In the days of front-engine tire smoking fuelers, there was no one more fun to watch. While he’s never won an NHRA national event, he’s more than made up for it with showmanship, competitive performances, and charming personality. He first came to national prominence with his Top Eliminator win at the 1959 AHRA Nationals in Great Bend, Kansas. On April 4, 1960 at Alton, Illinois he was credited with a run of 204.54 mph. Controversial and questionable to be sure coming years before consistent 200-mph speeds, that performance nevertheless cemented “the Greek’s” name in drag racing history.
Other career highlights include qualifying No. 1 at the ’63 and ’64 Bakersfield March Meet with the first 7 sec. et, two wins at the World Series of Drag Racing in Cordova, the ’65 Olympics of Drag Racing at Union Grove, and the ’66 AHRA Grand American Finale. Longtime friend and 2009 NHRR Honoree Bob Stange has backed “The Greek” for years yet he remains an independent racer. In 1990 he ran the full NHRA schedule and finished just 36 points out of the top 10. Without a single NHRA win, he was voted Number 30 on NHRA’s Top 50 Drivers list.
In the ‘60s, tales of Karamesines’ bravado spread across the country creating one of drag racing’s first larger-than-life legends. In 1962, while racing Tommy Ivo at San Gabriel Drag Strip, Karamesines went off the strip into the dirt, only to return to the strip and still reach the finish line first. At Lions in 1963, Karamesines” Chizler got completely sideways at the finish line yet avoided certain disaster in a 190-mph win over the nearly unbeatable Greer, Black and Prudhomme fueler.
Just as Hall of Famers “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney and “T.V. Tommy” Ivo played significant roles in developing the popularity of drag racing so too has Chris Karamesines. But unlike his previously named former opponents, he’s still driving his 7,000-horsepower Top Fuel dragster and as this is written has qualified for the first two national events of the NHRA season at age 81.
Also being recognized at the 8th Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion are Honorees Joe Jacono, J.E. Kristek, Leffler Bros. & Loukas, T.C. Lemons and Larry Reyes. The Justice Brothers Car Care Products Reunion Spotlight falls on the Ford Drag Team.
For more information about the 8th annual Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion, please visit the Museum’s web site at http://museum.nhra.com. Tickets for the event are available by calling 1-800/884-NHRA (6472). Click here to purchase tickets online.
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Mark Your Calendar –Father’s Day Weekend
Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion
Bowling Green, KY
Beech Bend Raceway Park
June 18-20, 2010
Come enjoy the annual three-day festival of nostalgic drag racing, Cacklefest, car show, vendors, swap meet and loads of family fun.