The Quarter Mile Foundation has gained an important supporter of the organization’s PROJECT 1320 documentary film series. Joe Amato, the five-time NHRA/Full Throttle (formerly NHRA/Winston Drag
Racing Series) Top Fuel World Champion and the former co-owner of Keystone Automotive Warehouse, made a donation to the Foundation to support the effort to capture the history of the sport and performance automotive aftermarket’s history with first person narratives from the influential personalities.
Amato has been very interested in the Quarter Mile Foundation’s efforts for some time, donating his time at the 2010 SEMA Show, signing autographs, in addition to talking to his drag racing and industry contemporaries about the importance of the PROJECT 1320 program.
“I really want to make the industry and the sport of drag racing very aware of the importance of this documentary project,” Amato said. “We need to tell the story about the sport and the industry it built, so the young people who follow in our footsteps understand the effort and the sometimes brutal sacrifices that were made.
“I want my support to, in a sense; tell people that I ‘endorse’ this, and that the concept is a solid one.
“What just happened to one of the legends of both drag racing and the aftermarket, Joe Mondello, should serve as a wake-up for us! I saw Joe at Don Garlits’ International Drag Racing Hall of Fame induction dinner, shortly after he had completed his interview for the PROJECT 1320 documentary. Three weeks later, he was gone! We need to understand how priceless these legends and pioneers are, and if we cannot get the recollections of their careers and to tell the stories of their peers who have died, these first-hand stories will never get recorded, and we all are poorer for it!”
Traci Hrudka, Chairman of the Quarter Mile Foundation, stated, “Joe has been a quiet, behind the scenes supporter of the Foundation. In addition to his very generous and welcomed contribution, Joe has volunteered his time and influence several times over the past months to advance our efforts. He has been there to offer quiet encouragement and advice, and this generous donation on his part is further proof of his belief in this important endeavor.
“We hope his commitment to the Foundation and PROJECT 1320 will resonate within the drag racing and aftermarket communities.”
Amato also observed how the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) is reaching back into its archives to enhance the association’s 60th Anniversary of organized drag racing. “The NHRA is getting many of the surviving legends of the sport to help tell the story of 60 years of drag racing,” he said. “They’re bringing back many of the heroes and the special cars from the old days to help tell the story, and to perpetuate our sport and the industry.
“Many of the kids that are racing today, as well as getting into the aftermarket, do not appreciate how we got here! Folks like ‘Big Daddy’ (Don Garlits), Shirley (Muldowney), ‘Grumpy’ (Bill Jenkins) and so many others can help tell those stories...they bridge the gap between then and now.”
Amato added, “What the NHRA is doing is great, and gives fans at the races a chance to see and hear ‘how it was,’ but once the race is over with, those memories can fade. But in conjunction with the PROJECT 1320 documentary, those stories and images of how things were and how progress was made – on the track and making the parts (that made things go) – the memories and history are forever.”