Dick Wells, the first editor of National DRAGSTER and a longtime member of the NHRA board of directors, died late Monday night from complications after heart surgery last November. He was 75.
A member of both the NHRA board of directors and the NHRA Wally Parks Motorsports Museum presented by Automobile Club of Southern California board of directors, SEMA Industry Hall of Famer Wells began his long and storied career in motorsports as National DRAGSTER’s first editor in 1960.
“Dick loved the NHRA and everything about drag racing and the world of performance,” said Dallas Gardner, NHRA chairman of the board. “His passion led him to a lifetime of contribution that, simply put, made things better. His efforts and influence touched everyone. He was a great part of the leadership that saw the sport grow to what it has become today. We will miss him for his participation, but we will miss him more as a friend.”
As the original editor of National DRAGSTER, Wells laid the foundation for what would become drag racing’s most famous publication. He joined the NHRA board of directors in 1979 and was an important force behind the scenes since.
“NHRA lost one of its most loyal and trusted advisors and friends in Dick Wells,” said Tom Compton, president, NHRA. “He was an integral part of NHRA in the early days and has been a guiding force for NHRA ever since. Dick loved NHRA and was an ambassador like no other for the sport. On behalf of his NHRA family, we send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. He will be greatly missed.”
(Above) As the first editor of National DRAGSTER, Wells, right, helped launch drag racing’s most famous and longest-running publication. (Below) Wells was a longtime friend and confidant to NHRA founder Wally Parks.
After his tenure at National DRAGSTER, the hot-rodder from Lincoln, Neb., later moved to editorial positions at Hot Rod and earned the title of executive editor at Motor Trend. As Petersen Publishing Co.’s director of special events, Wells produced what many believe to be his greatest contribution to the automotive industry: the first SEMA Show in 1967 at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles.
Wells, who also began the Street Rod Nationals and was the first active president of the National Street Rod Association, is credited with the massive street rod movement in the U.S. In 2007, he retired from the position of vice president of corporate projects at SEMA, where he also served as executive director in the 1970s.
He was honored many times for contributions to the automotive industry. He was named SEMA Person of the Year in 1977 and was inducted into the SEMA Industry Hall of Fame in 1993. He was presented the International Specialty Car Association (ISCA) Founder’s Award in 1994, the Street Rod Marketing Alliance Industry Recognition Award in 1996, and was among those honored with the NHRA Pioneers Award in 2001. Last year, he was inducted into the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
Jupiter, Fla. (January 13, 2010) – Palm Beach International Raceway has seen some stellar times posted as the NHRA teams are at the facility testing for the upcoming 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Ideal weather conditions and a smooth concrete surface are definitely benefitting the teams as they perfect their tune-ups.
Testing has shown that the season long rivalry between Al-Anabi Racing and Don Schumacher Racing last year is still alive and well. Yesterday the Al-Anabi Top Fuel car of Larry Dixon posted a 3.767 ET (elapsed time) at 322 mph. Early in the test season on Wednesday, Larry Dixon posted another stellar run with a 3.763 ET. Tony Schumacher bested him early Wednesday with a 3.759 ET at 318 mph. He followed that up later in the day with a 3.753 ET at 322.88 mph.
A few of the drivers discussed the off season, the test at PBIR and their expectations for the 2010 season.
Tony Schumacher, driver of the Don Schumacher Racing U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
On the test session at PBIR: “It’s great. It’s way better than what we normally get. Generally speaking when we show up at Phoenix we’ve got to run side by side with other cars and we only get to run when they want us to run, and we’re testing, that’s not how we want to do it. We come down to a place like this, it’s an amazing facility. It’s just as nice as any of the other tracks that we race on and we get to fast.
Expectations for the 2010 season: “There will be good battles. There’s about 10 good cars out there that are going to battle every weekend. It’s what you show up for. No one out here is showing up for an easy battle, we’re all showing up to dig deep and to battle it out.”
Morgan Lucas, driver of the Morgan Lucas Racing Geico Powersports Top Fuel Dragster
On the test session at PBIR: “Now that we’re into our second day of testing I’m really, really impressed with the facility here. The security and personnel here are very nice, the surface of the track is very smooth and it’s got a lot of grip. We’re running as good of times that we ran at any point last year and it gives you a lot of confidence going into the season. It’s nice to go somewhere where you can trust what you’re going to have and know that you’re going to learn something and address it. You never want to go into a race season, especially one 23 races long with your tail between your legs wondering what’s really going to happen when you get there.”
Expectations for 2010: “Our main goals are just to go out and minimize first round losses. That’s what we did last year and we ended up winning a few races out of that. You have to put yourself in a position to win and we’re going to have to pick up our performance a little bit to keep up with the Schumacher’s and the Alan Johnson cars, they’re running over 320 mph right now at 1,000 ft. and that’s very impressive. That’s something we’re trying to pick up on and get that extra ET out of these cars. Getting these cars on the track, being more consistent and not making mistakes to beat ourselves, that’s really what we’re looking at. Hopefully we can go out there and finish top 5 this year and chase the championship and put ourselves in those good spots, that’s what we’re all about.”
Cory McClenathan, driver of the Don Schumacher Racing FRAM Top Fuel Dragster
On the test session at PBIR: “We’re really happy. We knew last year after we came to PBIR that we were not going to go to Phoenix or Vegas, we were just going to come here and wrap it all up in a weeks’ time. We made sure that Alan Johnson and all of the other teams, and everyone at DSR, really wanted to do this. We knew that in a years time the track would be that much better, and we’ve definitely proved that. We’ve ran a 3.77 ET now at 321 mph, it’s just right off the tick at being record runs. So we know that this is what we’re looking for. I think we’ll be very comfortable testing through Thursday and be able to leave here and go to Pomona and go racing.”
Expectations for 2010: “The only thing I want to do is finish three spots better than I did last year. That would be the key thing. It’s one thing that NHRA has done, the point system, and what happens there has really changed things. It’s made it a real driver’s game and it’s made it good for the fans. To go into Pomona and know that you have a shot at the championship and end up fourth was a little bit alarming for me. But if you don’t have that shot at it, where’s all the drama at? I want to see it where we are and it’s exciting that way. We’re back with a fresh paint job and a whole new attitude and we’re looking forward to it.”
Ron Capps, driver of the Don Schumacher Racing NAPA Auto Parts Funny Car
On testing at PBIR: “It’s going great. Last year was our first time here at PBIR and we enjoyed it so much. We had such a good time last year and the people were so good to us at the track that we would rather just spend our whole time down here getting ready for Pomona and that way the guys have time to go back to Indianapolis and get everything ready and then take the trucks and go to Pomona. Last year we were low ET for most of the test session, we’d just love to have a race here. I just ran a 4.10 ET and I shut it off early and it was on a good run. The track is great, the people are great and the best part about it is the group of cars that are here. It’s a small enough group that you’re not waiting long to run and it’s all teams that you don’t have to worry about strange things happening to the surface of the track. All in all it’s been great, you look around the pit area and everyone’s smiling.”
Expectations for 2010: “Last year when we left here I was pretty confident. We went to Pomona and we won, went to Phoenix and we won, and I feel the same way right now. (Crew chief) Ed McCulloch is the best. He’s got his game face on already and we just got here. He’s relaxed and he’s excited about pushing the limits on our car and the NAPA guys have two brand new cars ready to run.
30 days remain until the ticket renewal deadline for the 25th Annual O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals. Renew the same seats that you held in 2009 for 2010′s power packed celebration of 25 years of drag racing at the Texas Motorplex that you do not want to miss.
You can renew by phone by calling 800-MOTORPLEX (800-668-6775), visiting TexasMotorplex.com or by clicking here.
Kansas City (Jan. 12, 2010) – The Super Chevy Show series hired Tom Kreager as General Manager, it was announced today by the ownership group, SCSW, Inc.
In a series that will be celebrating its 30th anniversary of drag racing, car shows, swap meets and collector cars for sale, Kreager will be responsible for the development and growth of the series as well as ensuring uniformity at each of the 10 national events.
“We are celebrating a milestone anniversary with the Super Chevy Show this year and there will be significant changes that will go along with the new ownership group while maintaining the heart of a series that has cultivated loyal fans across the nation for 30 years,” Kreager said. “We are working on enhancing the shows, bringing new faces into the series and making sure it becomes a premier event at each of the host tracks.”
SCSW, Inc. board of director’s President John Bandimere Jr., said hiring Kreager was an easy decision.
“Tom has all the tools needed by this strong group of owners,” Bandimere said. “We have 10 facilities on the schedule that are used to making major decisions every day and we needed someone that every track could trust. We wanted everyone to be confident in working with the series GM so we can all build up the Super Chevy Show series together. Tom has the background and experience working with major sanctioning bodies that will help him successfully do the job. He’s a strong addition to the series.”
Kreager has been involved with racing for more than 25 years, working with racing sanctioning bodies including NHRA, IHRA and AMA. He also will be working closely with Forward Sports Marketing on sponsor development and services.
“I have always admired the Super Chevy Show series and wanted to be part of it,” Kreager said. “I believe this is a great opportunity to make a good product even better and I’m confident we will do that starting this year. There is a lot of talent working on the events right now and I’m excited to put my experience as a series director to work and make some big contributions to the series.”
Racers, car show participants, fans, vendors and sponsors can call 800-692-6230 for more information on the Super Chevy Show series or go online at www.superchevyshow.com for details on 2010′s 30th anniversary season.
NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle rider David Hope has signed a major sponsorship agreement with Brian Bozsum and Mohegan Sun Racing for the full 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.
“The talks of a partnership with Hope and Hammock started a few weeks ago after coming to the realization that we would not be able to run with Matt Guidera until Indy of this year due to the unforeseen circumstances that occurred last year,” said Bozsum. “It’s truly an unfortunate situation to be involved with, considering how successful the team was and the friendships that we all forged during the past couple of years.”
Bozsum continued, “Mohegan Sun Racing wants to have a continued presence in the NHRA, and David Hope and John Hammock will be able to provide that. My wife and I look forward to the 2010 season with much enthusiasm, and we’re very proud to be associated with David and John. We’ve known John Hammock, Vroom team owner, since we hit the NHRA in 2005 and have always considered him a very good friend.
“We’re looking forward to starting the same relationship with David and his family. David seems to have such a great presence at the track and has done some great things to bring awareness to the struggles with breast cancer. Good things happen to good people, and this is a great example of it.
“We’re looking forward to a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship that will not only pay significant dividends on the racetrack but also make the Mohegan Sun/Vroom Racing team one of the top teams in 2010.”
Hope will debut the Mohegan Sun/Vroom Racing Buell March 11-14 at the 41st annual NHRA Gatornationals season opener for the Pro Stock Motorcycles in Gainesville.
Situated on 240 acres along the Thames River in scenic southeastern Connecticut, Mohegan Sun, owned by the Mohegan Tribe, is one of the largest and most distinctive and spectacular entertainment, gaming, shopping, and meeting destinations in the United States.