RANDY WALLS – Grand Marshall
Randy Walls was not only one of the country’s quickest Funny Car racer during the late 1960s and early 1970s, but he did it with genuine Chevy big block engines at a time when many Bowtie teams were switching to the more powerful Chrysler Hemis. Walls’ first Funny Car was a ’65 Chevy II that he raced in 1966, and he drove the former Hayden Proffitt Corvair roadster in 1968. This was followed with a pair of Chevy Novas that he ran from 1969 to early 1971. Walls returned from racing after he found his ’69 Nova in a barn loft in 1997 and his exhibition runs helped initiate the Nostalgia Funny Car craze in 2004. Walls was the series champion that year. In 2013 Walls went on a tour in New Zealand and he currently builds engines and automotive turntable for car dealerships and has taken a strong stand in Nostalgia Funny Cars maintaining their stock appearances.
Army Armstrong has been a longtime radio and television announcer for monster truck and tractor pull events and has used his pulpit as a broadcaster to become a good will ambassador for drag racing and all other forms of hot rodding. A longtime resident of Owensboro, Kentucky, Armstrong fascinated by hopped up street machines, and began racing a variety of cars in Div. 3 competition. In the early 1980s, his reputation as a knowledgeable racer earned him his first announcing gig and his folksy, Southern drawl has made him a favorite of thousands of fans. Armstrong is currently preparing for an attempt to set a Bonneville world record with C/Fuel Ford ’34 Ford roadster that is powered by a nitro-burning injected Honda four-cylinder engine that is expected to produce speeds in the 217 to 225 mph range. Armstrong was inducted into the Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Monster Truck Hall of Fame in 2013.
Steve Earwood holds the distinction of having enjoyed tremendous success in the two fields of motorsports public relations and race track operation/ownership. After a successful stint as the media relations manager at Gainesville Raceway in 1975, Earwood worked as the public relations director for NHRA until the mid-1980s. He then partnered with David Densmore to found Denswood Sports Marketing, whose clients included Raymond Beadle, Kenny Bernstein, Billy Meyer, Rusty Wallace, Sammy Swindell and others. Earwood purchased Rockingham Dragway in 1992 and hosted the highly successful NHRA Winston Invitational events during the decade. Earwood continues to operate Rockingham today, on a weekly basis. For his accomplishments, Earwood has been given the prestigious Founder’s Award by the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame, was named the Division 2 Man of the Year, inducted into the Division 2 Hall of Fame, and is the recipient of many other awards.
While most drag racing fans are aware that the first driver to win a NHRA national event Top Fuel with a rear-engine dragster was Don Garlits at the 1971 Winternationals, Art Marshall has the distinction of being the last driver to earn a major title with a front-engine dragster with his victory at the 1972 Le Grandnational. Marshall etched his name into the history books by defeating the likes of Clayton Harris, Carl Olson and then Jeb Allen to conquer the field. Marshall, who lives in West Palm Beach, Florida, has remained very active as he earned his license to fly and repair helicopters has been an instructor at Nelson Hoyas’ Drive2win drag racing school in Florida since 2010. Marshall helps teach students in a specially built two-seat dragster that is capable of speeds of 130 mph in the eighth-mile. Marshall’s car is currently on display at the Don Garlits’ Museum of Drag Racing.
Richard Maskin is one of those rare individuals who enjoyed a very productive career as a drag racer and engine builder, and then used these experiences to become one of the of the hot rod industry’s premiere aftermarket manufacturers. As a teammate of Wally Booth on the AMC Pro Stock team, Maskin and partner/driver Dave Kanners played a major role in helping the economy brand transform its image to that of a performance powerhouse in the mid-1970s. Maskin left Pro Stock to create Dart Machinery in 1981, which specialized in trend-setting heads, blocks, and intake manifolds. Now better equipped with more financial backing and experience, he returned to Pro Stock in the late 1990s to build engines for Jim Yates and Jeg Coughlin, who won NHRA titles in 1996 and 2000, respectively. Maskin continued to expand the Dart operation before selling it in 2018, and he still remains active within the industry.
Paul Smith is a self-taught racer who used his hard-earned skills to become a formidable competitor on the national event and match race scene and then shared his knowledge with student drivers to help build the careers of many other aspiring campaigners with his highly successful driving school. The unsponsored Smith established his credentials when he finished second to Shirl Greer in the 1974 NHRA Funny Car standings, actually out-pointing the third place Don Prudhomme. He made his car pay for itself with multiple match race bookings in the 1970s and into the early 1980s and was the crew chief for the likes of Chuck Etchells from 1987 to 1991. He opened his school in 1997 and past students include Jeff Arend, Cristen Powell, Johnny Gray, Clay Millican, Phil Burkhart, Jon Capps, and Blake Alexander. Smith still operates his school for selected clients and drives his current “Entertainer” ’78 Corvette Nostalgia Funny Car along with his sons John and Mike.