When Maple Grove Park Drag-O-Way first opened in 1962, Alfred Stauffer had some help.
Looking for a safe place to race locally, the Eastern Custom Car Association convinced Stauffer to take a piece of land that was being used by a motorcycle club for some dirt racing. They got together with some blueprints and the rest is history.
Maple Grove Raceway is celebrating its 50th anniversary this season and the ECCA along with three other drag racing legends – Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, Raymond Beadle and Frank Hawley – will be inducted as part of MGR’s Walk of Fame Class of 2012. The induction will be part of the 50th Anniversary Spectacular on June 23.
The Spectacular will feature a day of racing and nostalgia including the Auto-Plus Cavalcade of Funny Cars, featuring eight nitro- and eight alcohol-powered competitors, and a car show and cruise.
Along with surviving ECCA members, Prudhomme, Beadle and Hawley are all scheduled to be here. Prudhomme will serve as the grand marshal, while Beadle will come with his Blue Max Funny Car that will take part in the Cavalcade and Hawley will be driving the Chi-Town Hustler in the race.
The spectator box office will open at noon with prerace ceremonies at 6 p.m.. and the main event at 7. Tickets, which will be available at the gate, are $30 for adults; $10 for teens ages 13-15; and free for children 12 and under with a paid adult.
The Class of 2012:
Eastern Custom Car Association
Maple Grove connection: The former racing club worked with Alfred Stauffer in building Maple Grove Park Drag-O-Way in the early 1960s and helped run the track when it first opened in 1962. Members Carl Ruth, Lee Crupi, Ernie Musser, Barry Musser, Bob Eveland and George Weiler all went on to significant careers in drag racing.
Don “The Snake” Prudhomme
Maple Grove connection: Racing legend started competing at Maple Grove in the 1960s as a young man and was a constant visitor over the years as both a competitor and team owner. Those visits became an annual event when the NHRA Full Throttle Series started making its annual trip to The Grove in 1985. He won Nationals in 1991 in a Top Fuel dragster and took the Funny Car title at the 1977 NHRA Northeast Division points meet. Ran his quickest quarter-mile pass – 4.73 seconds – in Top Fuel at Maple Grove.
Maple Grove connection: Raced the Blue Max Funny Car at Maple Grove and was a crowd favorite. Won major Funny Car events through the 70s and was a standout competitor going against some of the legends of the day.
Maple Grove connection: Longtime racer made several visits Maple Grove over the years and still brings his driving school to The Grove annually. Raced his Funny Car at the NHRA Nationals well into the 2000s.
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