Middletown Pacemakers Car Club of Ohio to be Honored at Annual Hot Rod Reunion in Kentucky

Posted on June 01, 2012


Middletown Pacemakers

Justice Brother’s Car Care Products Spotlight Award:

Middletown Pacemakers Car Club of Ohio

Photos courtesy of Ron Roberson

Bowling Green, Ky.
This year’s Justice Brother’s Car Care Products Spotlight Award shines on the Middletown Pacemakers car club of Ohio. The annual JB Reunion Spotlight Award was established by Ed Justice Jr. and the National Hot Rod Reunions to recognize an outstanding group or individual who has pioneered pathways in drag racing and/or hot rodding. The award will be presented at the free Honoree Reception, Friday, June 15, 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn University Plaza.

“The Middletown Pacemakers car club is well-deserving of this honor because of their pioneering efforts that helped forge the way for the National Hot Rod Association and today’s professional drag racing sport enjoyed by millions across the globe,” said Justice Brothers President & CEO Ed Justice Jr.

 Pacemakers with late Wally Parks
The Pacemakers car club was a small group of wide-eyed lads seeking public acceptance of hot rodding as a sport. It was the early 1950s, and together with the newly formed National Hot Rod Association embarked on a pioneering adventure in support of drag racing. The club adopted the NHRA slogan Dedicated to Safety and conducted several activities including successful car shows, safety inspections and even helping stranded motorists with extra gas or a tire change.

Beginning in late 1956, the Pacemakers raced a series of club-built dragsters that kept members active and did well at area strips such as Thorn Hill (Ky.), Beechmont (Ohio), and Stout Field (Indianapolis). From 1958 through 1965, club cars entered the NHRA Nationals. After respectable showings with the dragsters, the club switched to Comp in 1963 and scored three consecutive Nationals class wins.

Several club members built successful race cars of their own. Jim Neely and John Buehl bought a Hemi Plymouth that evolved from Super Stocker to early Funny Car. The Barnes brothers raced a strong B/Sports Corvette, and John and Dick Kauffman raced a Super Stock Ford. Don Klamo and Marion Hounshell raced a B/Dragster with Gary Rupp, who went on to a successful Top Fuel career with Pat Dakin and was named a 2007 reunion honoree.

By the mid-1960s, hot rodding had changed. Drag racing was becoming a professional sport, and club-built race cars had little chance against the pros. The original members of the Middletown Pacemakers were nearing middle age with families and businesses to run. The clubhouse was sold, and by mid-1966, the Pacemakers club was gone.

Though many members moved and left racing, the first of several club reunions was held in Middletown in 1994. This year at the Reunion, join us in remembering this trailblazing car club. A special ceremony in their honor will be held on Friday night during the Honoree Reception at the Sloan Convention Center.

For more on this typical club, get a copy of Middletown Pacemakers: The Story of an Ohio Hot Rod Club by third-generation member Ron Roberson, available from Arcadia Publishing and Amazon.com.

For the past 10 years along with the sponsorship of the Reunion Spotlight award, Justice Brothers has offered a FREE collectible poster and sticker to the spectators of this event. Along with being a manufacturer and worldwide distributor of over 100 car care products Justice Brothers, Inc. is known for their one of a kind racing museum. For more information on Justice Brothers, visit http://justicebrothers.com.


Media contact:  Monique Valadez, NHRA Motorsports Museum, 909/622-3389; mvaladez@nhra.com 

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