Warren Johnson & zMAX Dragway host PROJECT 1320 interviews
The Quarter Mile Foundation continued to add interviews of legends and pioneers of drag racing's and the performance automotive aftermarket's early days in preparation for the production of the television documentary about the sport and industry. Using interviews in the Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC areas, the Foundation was able to interview 19 racers, promoters and speed shop owners who helped establish the sport and the industry in the southeastern U.S.
On May 22, interviews were conducted at the shop of Pro Stock legend Warren Johnson in the Atlanta suburb of Buford, GA, where a full day's filming netted ten interviews. Interviewed were: Warren and Kurt Johnson, veteran manufacturer's rep "Skeeter" Jourdan (True High Performance sales), speed shop owner/distributor Warren Barnett (Barnett Performance Center), drag racer/speed shop operator Lamar "Mr. 409" Walden (Lamar Walden Automotive), long-time speed shop operators Julius Hughes, Jr. and his mother Elaine (Hughes) Jape (Atlanta Speed Shop), former NFL head coach and racer Jerry Glanville, Steve McAllister (owner, Innovative Engineering and former Mr. Gasket/Hays clutch technician) and Mountain Motor Pro Stock and Pro Mod engine builder/crew chief Jon Kaase (Jon Kaase Racing Engines).
On the following Wednesday (May 29), the Foundation's crew went to the north Georgia home of legendary super stock campaigner Phil "Daddy Warbucks" Bonner for his recollections.
Charlotte's z-MAX Dragway hosted two days of interviews on June 5 and 6, 2013. A number of legends from the Carolinas recalled their early days in the sport. These included: Pro Stock legend and NASCAR team owner Jack Roush, sportsman racer and performance retailer Tommy Johnson Sr., IHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock pioneer Roy Hill, legendary Pro Stock crew chief Buddy Martin (partner of the late Ronnie Sox), top fuel pilot and performance parts retailer Doug Herbert (for his father, the late Chet Herbert), Jeffery Ellis – for his father Bill Ellis, a pioneering drag strip owner, chassis builder and a part of the NASCAR's drag racing history in the 1960s, 1980s Pro Stock campaigner Johnny Dowey and auto dealer magnate, NASCAR team owner (and sometime street car drag racer) Rick Hendrick.
George Elliott, zMAX Dragway's Director of Marketing (who hosted the Charlotte interviews, and who shared some camera time with Roy Hill) observed, "When you think you have been around for so long and think you know most all the great stories; you get the 'old timers' talking and start hearing the REAL deep memories! It not only brings a lot of laughter, but makes you thankful you lived through those times. It is also then that you know you have not heard it all!
'It is so important to capture these memories not only for a historical nature, but to learn the stories how the East met the West in hot rodding and a timeline to key events that made us an industry. In the day it was intuition, passion and a gut feeling idea that someone had; and was not afraid to build it and see if it worked. Some of the interviewees were from our second generation and to hear what they learned (as a kid) while their Dads were in the 'Pioneer' era of drag racing and hot rodding clearly showed the how the passion carried on even though the economics, lifestyles and science of building of parts and cars has moved on to the modern era.
It was a real reality check of where we've been!"
Foundation Chairman Traci Hrudka noted, "A special 'thank you' goes out to Warren and Kurt Johnson and to George Elliott of the Speedway Motorsports, Inc.'s zMAX Dragway for assisting us in recording these interviews. As a result of their generous support, the Foundation added 19 interviews to our list of contributors to the growth of the sport and the aftermarket industry, bringing the total number of interviews to 233 names."
* * * * * The Quarter Mile Foundation is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit foundation, which is producing PROJECT 1320, a for-television documentary film series about the history of drag racing and the parallel growth of the performance automotive aftermarket.