NORTH CAROLINA DRAG RACING HALL OF FAME INDUCTION

Posted by Jim on January 26, 2009 at 7:31 pm under Professional | Read the First Comment

courtesy of Larry Tomar:

Greensboro, NC …This coming weekend’s 7th Annual Shriners Drag Racing & Hot Rod Expo will be highlighted by the North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame Induction ceremony.

Roy Hill from High Point, NC, Max Hurley from West Jefferson, NC, Dee Simmons from Greensboro, NC, Billy West from Selma, NC and Dick Rosberg from Rockingham, NC will be honored in a special Hall of Fame ceremony on Saturday at 11:00 AM.

The two day event will be held this coming Friday and Saturday, January 30 &31st at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex’s Special Events Center will have over 200 cars, 100 Swap Meet participants, and over 50 commercial vendors on display. Known as the “Biggest Indoor Show of Its Kind in the South” it continues to grow in size and stature.

The gigantic event to benefit the Shriners Children Hospital in Greenville, South Carolina features a huge display of Drag Cars, Drag Motorcycles, Muscle Cars, Classic Cars, Street Rods, Custom Cars, Motorcycles and Trucks.

Show hours are Friday from 5:00 PM-9:30-PM. Saturday’s hours are from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM. 

 

BILLY WESTBilly West of Selma, N.C. started his career in 1952 at the East Street Dragway near Benson, N.C.  From 1956 thru 1982 Billy won races up and down the east coast in his famous 1962 Plymouth “The Little Pilgrim”.  Billy was nicknamed ‘High Gear” because of his famous Big End MPH charges that left many racers in the dead in their tracks.
Billy lists his national event wins at Rockingham and Richmond and having Petty driving “The little Pilgrim” to the winners circle at Charlotte Motor Speedway as his most memorable days in racing.Selma is said to be one, if not the most elaborate collections in the world.  Unfortunately Billy lost his courageous battle with cancer on November 20th, 2008.  Fortunatly, Billy was aware of  his induction to the North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame before his death.
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Billy became a close friend of master Mopar engine builder Maurice Petty and credits him and Petty Enterprises along with his wife Jackie as being his greatest influences and supporters.

Billy and Jackie’s Mopar collection in

A great racer – an even better person – He will be missed!

Dee Simmons  – Dee Simmons of Greensboro, N.C began his professional dragracing career in 1968 and for the next 20 years campaigned his Alcohol Funny car up and down the east coast.  Calling Piedmont Dragway his home track, Dee was one of the finest men to campaign a professional funny car and received his encouragement to race from his college instructors in the Automotive Engineering Department at A&T State University.Ohio to Florida in his car the “Big Black Gorilla” for his showmanship and crowd pleasing driving.  In addition to his match racing, he also won major events at dragway 42, Camden Alabama and Gulfport Mississippi.

He was known from

Dee was a forerunner in dragracing in the East Carolina’s in the 60’s and 70’s and was supported by Gene & Herbert Holloway, Ralph Moore, Lloyd Miller and Chief Engine Builder Edward Johnson.  

 

 

Dick RosbergDick Rosberg just finished his 44th year in drag racing.  He has driven many well-known boats, funny cars and dragsters.  For the past 26 years he has driven jet powered cars.Southern California.  In 1964, his first ride down the drag strip was in a Top Gas dragster.  He ran 180 MPH, which was very fast in 1964.  The name of the car was “Blackie Carbon” which he drove through the 1969 season.Fresno and a fuel dragster owned by Mike Kuhl of Santa Ana, California.  Eventually he had to choose between asphalt and water…the asphalt won!

Dick is one of the original Lion’s Drag Strip “week-end racers” from

In 1970, Dick drive the nitro-powered hydroplane owned by “Mr. Ed” Wills of

In 1971, Dick drove Tim Beebe’s”Fighting Irish” nitro-powered funny car.  He toured with the Beebe team for 3 seasons.  When Beebe retired in 1973, Dick “inherited” the famous name”Fighting Irish”.

In 1977, Dick formed “Fighting Irish Enterprises” with partners Don Novak and Bill McDaniel.  They campaigned nitro-powered funny cars for 4 years.  By 1981, the cost of independent nitro racing became too much and at the end of the season, they sold the car.

In 1982, they built a jet funny car.  The car was sponsored by the Stroh’s Brewing Company.  The “Firebrewed Firebird” was the first racecar to carry the Stroh Family name.  Rosberg drove the car and McDaniel was the crew cheif.

In 1984 they built a second jet funny car, the “Schlitz Bull”.  They campaigned two cars for 4 more years.  The partnership dissolved at the end of 1988.  They sold one car to Bob Van Sciver and Dick kept the other.

In 1989, Dick was on his own for the first time in his racing career.  He campaigned the car as the “Fighting Irish” jet funny car for two years.  In 1991, Dick sold his car to Pat Davidson and began a 5 year stint driving for Bob Van Sciver.  The car he drove for Bob was the car he sold to Van Sciver in 1988.  The car was sponsored by Kendall Oil and campaigned as the “Kendall Warrior” for 2 years.  

From 1993 to 1995 to car was sponsored by Main Event Video and was called the “Main Event Warrior”.  1995 to 1997, the car was sposored by Penzoil and called the “Penzoil Warrior”.

In 1997, Dick teamed up with Noel Smith and built a jet-powered pickup truck.  They called it the “Dodge Ram-Jet”.  They sold the truck to Paul Sender in 1999 and Dick drove for him for 2 years.

In 2002, at the age of 60, Dick decided to begin “winding down” his race career.  Then he got a call from long-time friend Al Hanna asking him to drive his “Eastern Raider” jet funny car on a part-time basis.  Of course this fit right in with Dick’s “winding down” plan…until…….

During the winter of 20002, Dick and Van Sciver were talking and Bob mentioned to Dick that the old “Warrior” car had been parked for a while.  He suggested that Dick take the car and run it during the 2003 race season.  Dick and his son, Terry, ran the car and still maintained full time jobs during 2003.  They ended a great season with a race in Aurba in November!  Sooo…Dick bought the car from Van Sciver to help himself “wind down”!

As 2004 was coming to an end, Dick decided to build a jet dragster.  He sold the “Warrior” car to Dan Crownheart.  In 2005 Dan Page built the “Thriller Powerboat Jet Dragster” for Dick and the thoughts of “winding down” were literally “gone with the wind”!

Now, in 2008, the dragster is for sale BUT if it doesn’t sell….there’s alwasys “Racing 2009″!  Winding down may have to wait!

Max HurleyFrom West Jefferson, NC, Max was one of the most respected racers in North carolina.  For 28 years he raced throughout the United States and has won approximately 280 races.  Along with his loving and supportive wife Wanda, Max also provided help and guidance to fellow drag-racers with his “Max Hurley Speed Shop”. 
Among his many victories, Max also won 13 national events driving the cars and engines that he personally built.  One of his ultimate achievements was winnning the prestigious “Hemi Challenge” at the 1978 Indy race.Ultimate Racer and a True Hall of Famer!
Roy Hill -  Roy’s passion for drag racing began in 1969 as a water boy for local legend Sam Kennedy and after 40 years of racing, he has never lost his passion for racing.1969 Plymouth Road Runner, which is not surprising since Petty Enterprises was only a few miles from his house.  Soon after Roy began racing, Maurice Petty and Petty Enterprises were doing his engine work.Plymouth and the “Hillbilly”, as he was tagged, soon became a crowd favorite throughout the country.  Roy has a gift of communication that has been with him since the very beginning.  Match racing and 1/8 mile burnouts became synonymous with Roy Hill.  Being the winner of 12 IHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock races, a World Championship and over 50 major event wins are a few of Roy’s accomplishments.  Roy’s favorite memory was when his Ford Probe, driven by Mike Bell, won the 1995 IARA World Championship and the Pro Stock Shootout on the same day.Roy also owned Rockingham Dragway with Steve Earwood and started the “Roy Hill Driving School“, which he still owns and operates today

Max credits the support and contributions from his wife Wanda, Jim McLaren, long-time crew members Ty Kinder and Jim Bare to his success.  

 

 


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