2009 Holley National Hot Rod Reunion Honorees
April 28, 2009 –
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Top drivers from every era of NHRA drag racing,
the first woman to win an NHRA division championship and the inventor of the tire-screeching
burnout make up the Honorees for the 2009 Holley National Hot Rod Reunion on June 19-21 at
Beech Bend Raceway Park, Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Grand Marshal – Darrell Gwynn
Selected as one of NHRA’s all-time Top 50 Drivers, Florida’s Darrell Gwynn
won 28 national events in a short ten year career. At age 18 he was runner-up in
Pro Comp at the U.S. Nationals. He scored ten wins in Alcohol Dragster before
moving up to Top Fuel at age 23. In March, 1990 Gwynn made the quickest run
in drag racing, at the time 4.90. Just weeks later, he crashed at England’s Santa
Pod Raceway, changing his life forever. He was paralyzed from the chest down
and lost part of his left arm. Even while recovering, he changed roles to team
owner where his car scored 14 victories. He is dedicated to the cure of paralysis
and maintains a very active schedule of public speaking, technical consulting
and enjoying life with his wife and daughter.
Chuck Nelson has been NHRA’s South Central Division Tech Director
since the position was created nearly a half century ago. Nelson’s
dedicated career began at the NHRA Nationals in Oklahoma City in 1958.
He was selected by NHRA founder Wally Parks to be just one of nine
attendees at the first official NHRA rules meeting in 1959. When he
began, the racers had to build everything themselves, and he’s seen the
tech side of the sport evolve into cars that are professionally
manufactured. Nelson says, “You learn every day because the racers keep
you on your toes. I keep trying to retire but Craig (Div. 4 Director Craig
Hutchinson) won’t let me.”
Known as an engine wizard, the inventor of the burnout and the most prominent
Top Fuel racer in Oklahoma, Bob Creitz was a member of the unofficial group of
hard-core fuel racers known as the “Greek Fleet”. Creitz’s cars have been runner up
at the ’67 Winternationals, made the first six-second pass in NHRA Nationals
history, and at the PDA meet at Orange County in 1968 won the last 64-car Top
Fuel show ever held. He won the inaugural PHR Championships in 1969 and
runner-upped at the ’72 Supernationals. He has restored his last front engine
fueler for Cacklefest events.
A name synonymous with Top Fuel racing in the southwest from 1960 to 1971 is
Vance Hunt. As an owner/tuner, the Arlington, Texas racer fielded a long series
of dragsters driven by Ed Mabry, J.L. Payne, Ted Arnold, Jerry Ellis, and Watus
Simpson. Hunt began racing in the late ’40s at “any place we could.” Fuel racing
beckoned in 1960, and with J.L. Payne driving Hunt defeated both Don Garlits
and Chris Karamesines for the Number One spot on the Drag News Mr.
Eliminator list and won the ’62 AHRA Nationals. In his final season he even
briefly raced a Mustang Funny Car. In recent years he’s remained active as a tuner
on nostalgia Top Fuel dragsters.
Beginning his drag racing career in 1951 at Paradise Mesa near San Diego,
Jerry Baltes raced for over two decades. He worked his way up from gas
coupes, through altereds to a gas dragster, then in 1962 to Top Fuel. He made it
to number 3 on the Drag News Top Ten List, set an NHRA speed record, won
the 1964 World Series of Drag Racing at Cordova, and finished number 2 in
1964 NHRA points. After a crash ended his driving career in 1967, he fielded
the Tom and Jerry Mustang Funny Car as a member of the Coca-Cola
Cavalcade of Stars. He has recently restored his 1964 Top Fuel car for
Experienced in Stock, Super Stock and Competition eliminator categories, Amy
Faulk was the first woman to win a national event in Alcohol Dragster and the
first woman to win an NHRA division championship. In 1979 Faulk won the
Super Stock national championship and in 1980 was elected to Car Craft
Magazine’s All-Star team. In addition to her racing career, Amy has held
management roles in the automotive aftermarket and currently serves as the
chief administrative officer of Hypertech. She has served on the
SEMA Board of Directors, was named SEMA’s Person of the Year in 1996, and is a member of
the SEMA Hall of Fame.
About the 7th Annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion
The 7th annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion, June 19-21 at Beech Bend Raceway in
Bowling Green, Ky., is a 3-day festival of speed, hot rods and American automotive enthusiasm.
Produced by the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by the Automobile Club of
Southern California and located in Pomona, Calif., the Reunion is part of the museum’s “living
history” philosophy, which works to bring to life the sights, sounds and people who made history
in the early days of drag racing, land speed racing and the golden age of American car culture.
Unique among motorsports events, the Reunion honors some of the top names in hot
Rodding from the past and features a fabulous array of fast drag cars, hot rods, street rods and cool customs.
Media contact: Monique Valadez, 909-622-3389 office, 909-287-6029 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org