Legendary Funny Car Racer Tom Hoover Named Grand Marshal of the 10th Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA
Posted on February 20, 2012
Bowling Green, Ky. – This year one of the most popular Funny Car racers of all time Tom Hoover will serve as Grand Marshal of the 10th Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA, June 14-16 at Beech Bend Raceway Park. Tom will be joined by Honorees Jack Ditmars, Jack Moss, Bennie Osborn, Jere Stahl, and Bill Stebbins.
This year’s Grand Marshal, Honorees and other notable drag racing pioneers will be given special recognition at the annual Honoree Reception held at the host hotel, the Holiday Inn University Plaza. Everyone is welcome to attend and it’s free. Two "Meet and Greet" autograph sessions will be held at the track in the Dynamat Dynamic Legends tent.
Tom Hoover began his drag racing career when the Hoover family, Tom Pa (George), Ma (Ruth) and Tom bought a Dragmaster dragster in the summer of 1962 which they ran on gas, and later, fuel. In early 1964, they switched to a full bodied Rod Stuckey fueler with which Tom won the 1965 AHRA Winternationals. In June ’65 they bought a Woody Gilmore car that was stolen and never recovered. Woody and Tom Hanna helped them get back in racing with a beautiful full bodied car dubbed “The Fishbowl”. It ran under both Chrysler and SOHC Ford power until the end of 1967. Tom then switched to Funny Cars, first racing a series of White Bear Dodges followed by his first Showtime Vega, a pair of Monza’s and finally the series of beautiful Corvettes he was noted for. He won five NHRA National Events and was ’76 AHRA Funny Car Champion. He raced extensively in England adding international fame to his resume. Tom raced a series of Pioneer Pontiac Funny Cars through the ‘90s before retiring as one of the most popular Funny Car racers of all time.
Jack Ditmars attended the 1955 World Series of Drag Racing in Lawrenceville, IL and was so inspired he soon built a D/G ’49 Ford. After racing with friends he built his first Lil’ Screamer ’34 Ford altered that he raced until 1961 when it was destroyed in a garage fire. He teamed with Herb Moller and debuted another even better Lil’ Screamer in late ’63. The wheelstanding coupe became very popular and won the B/Altered class at the 1964, ’65 and ’67 U.S. Nationals as well as the 1965 and ’66 Winternationals. At the end of ’67 he sold the coupe and had R&B Chassis build an Opel-bodied Altered know as Der Mini Brute. In its debut he won Best Appearing honors as well as the AA/FA class at Englishtown. He won Competition Eliminator at the 1970 Winternationals and runner-up at the ‘Gatornationals and Springnationals before being named Car Craft Magazine Comp Driver of the Year. He also raced it as an injected Funny Car on the Midwest Injected Funny Car circuit. In late ’72 he debuted a rear-engine Vega injected Funny Car which he raced briefly until his retirement in 1973.
Jack Moss is one of a long series of noted racers out of Amarillo, Texas. Following combat service in World War II he returned home and began circle
track racing a sprint car throughout the Southwest. When the Caddo Mills, Texas drag strip opened in 1951, Moss was one of the first competitors racing a converted circle track coupe. The following year he drove his hot rod coupe to the Bonneville Salt Flats, raced it at 136 mph, turned around and drove it home stopping to run up Pikes Peak on the way. His “Ramblin’ Ram” Dodge Hemi-powered dragster was a strong competitor at the first NHRA Nationals in 1955 and was one of eight finalists when the meet finished in Arizona due to rain. He was a pioneer of the dual-engine approach entering his first side-by-side Chevy powered dragster at the ’57 Nationals. By the ’58 event his car was covered with a sleek streamlined body pioneering yet another concept. He continued to race twin-engine dragsters until his retirement in the early ‘60s, and is a member of the NHRA Division 4 Hall of Fame.
Bennie “The Wizard” Osborn began his racing career in 1958 in a Chevy-powered Modified Roadster which
eventually evolved into a twin engine Top Gas Dragster. In 1962 he won Top Gas at the AHRA Nationals and regularly defeated racers like Eddie Hill and Jimmy Nix. He next built a super light Chevy-powered Top Fuel dragster which he crashed in Kansas and was seriously injured. After a couple of years he decided to drive again and bought a Woody Gilmore chassis and built a blown Chrysler for power. This car brought him his greatest success winning back-to-back NHRA Top Fuel Championships in 1967 and ’68 as well as the ’68 AHRA Top Fuel Championship. He also defeated Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen that year in a one-shot match race for $14,000 at Orange County International Raceway. In 1971 he switched to a rear-engine dragster, but soon after retired. He runs a successful transmission shop in his native Sand Springs, Oklahoma and is a regular at the NHRA Hot Rod Reunions where he cackles his restored championship fueler.
Jere Stahl became nationally known during the era of the popular Junior Stocks of the mid-‘60s. He began racing in the mid-‘50s with a D/Gas ’39 Chevy coupe, then raced 348-powered ’58 and ’60 Chevy
Biscayne’s. He built his first set of headers for Bill Jenkins and Dave Strickler’s Old Reliable ’63 Chevy Super Stocker. They made enough power to make it first in the East to run in the 11’s at over 120 mph. Word of his expertise quickly spread and he opened Stahl Engineering in York, Pa. His own first car that gained national attention was his G/Stock ’56 Chevy station wagon the knocked the record from 14.25 to 13.57 in 1964. His D/Stock injected ’57 Chevy had a reputation for leaving the line as hard as an A/FX car. But his most famous car was the ’66 Plymouth Street Hemi that he drove to the Top Stock World Championship that year. He also match raced it a lot (mostly with Jenkins) and converted it to B/FX where he obliterated the record causing friction with Chrysler whose Ramchargers and Golden Commando entries were nowhere close. He briefly raced again in a Pro Stock Duster in 1971 before deciding there was no way to race competitively and run a business where your customers are racers. He continues to manufacture headers as well as roller camshafts and data acquisition software.
Bill Stebbins grew up watching circle track races and selling National Speed Sport News in the stands. At age 20 he bought his first dragster and within six years
began building dragsters with partner Tom Severt under the S&S Engineering name. He also built twin engine Top Gas Cars for Frakes and Funk as well as Butch Hummel and Austin Myers, the last Top Gas World Champions. Together with Jack Hart and Billy Campbell he developed one of the first successful rear engine dragsters. Hall of Famers Frakes and Funk won four major events in a row in a Stebbins rear engine car. Other products of Stebbins craftsmanship include the National Champion Woosley, Sharp and Reynolds Pro Comp dragster, the last non-Hemi car to win Top Fuel honors at an NHRA national event, Jim Bucher’s big block Chevy dragster, and Jim and Allison Lee’s U.S. Army dragster. In all he built approximately 75 drag racing cars before opening a new business focusing on rebuilding damaged aircraft. In 1998 he built a successful USAC midget team but unfortunately a fire destroyed his business in 2001 and put an end to his racing efforts. Today, his business is rebuilt and going strong, but and you can still find race car parts at Stebbins Aviation
Three-day credentials are just $65 (sold in advance) which includes three days of fun, a goody bag with commemorative dash plaque and a reunion program. Tickets are available online at www.NHRAtix.com or call, 1-800/884-NHRA (6472).
Single day tickets are just $25 per day. Children 15 and under admitted free with a paid adult admission.
For further details of all events at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum visit our web site at museum.nhra.com or, call 909.622.2133.
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The HOT ROD REUNION™ is a series of events produced by the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, and located in Pomona, Calif. Each HOT ROD REUNION event features a wide variety of activities, including NHRA vintage drag racing, featuring some the sport’s most famous and historic cars and drivers racing in such classes at Nostalgia Top Fuel, Funny Car, Fuel Altereds, Supercharged Gassers, Classic Super Stock, Hot Rods and others.
Information on HOT ROD REUNION events, including a full activities schedule for each event, entry forms and tickets, is available through the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum at http://museum.nhra.com.
Media contact: Monique Valadez, NHRA Motorsports Museum, 909/622-3389; firstname.lastname@example.org