“A night to remember” was a very common comment following the “tribute roast” to Linda Vaughn held at the “Sports Palace” at the Lucas Family Estate in Carmel, Indiana on Wednesday, August 29.
The building was filled to capacity with over 300 attendees, who witnessed a “love fest” tribute to the “Queen of Speed.” The overall tone of the roasters was one of respect, admiration and love for one of motorsports’ most beloved icons. There were funny stories, but many were tributes to Linda’s unwavering love of the motorsports and the performance aftermarket communities.
Presented by the Quarter Mile Foundation, the event was a fund-raising effort for the Foundation and to assist Linda. The room was a powerful mixture of figures from many motorsports disciplines – drag racing, open wheel, stock car, road racing and fans – all intent upon paying respect to one of the most beloved and enduring non-racer legends of modern times.
The evening opened with a huge surprise, as Darrell Gwynn came into the room dressed in drag as Linda, complete with the Hurst shifter arching up from the back of his electric wheelchair. After the obligatory photo shots were completed, Master of Ceremonies Bob Frey had the daunting task of keeping a semblance of order in an evening that seemed to feed on the energy in the room – everyone running at “wide open throttle.”
Starting with Jack (“Doc”) Watson, the list of roasters who followed were a “Who’s Who” of the motorsports and performance aftermarket world – Paul Candies, Jeg Coughlin, Jr., Bob Glidden, Lyn St. James, Corky Coker, John Force, Bob Bruegging, Chip Ganassi and John Menzler. Each related his or her personal stories of Linda, and how her connections helped influence their lives or those of friends.
Interspersed between the Roasters’ comments were spirited bidding wars over a dozen live auction items. The bidding often led to comedic exchanges – the most notable being with John Force and Tony Stewart – which left the audience in stitches.
Traci Hrudka, Chairman of the Quarter Mile Foundation said, “We were able to build off the very successful Roast of Don Garlits at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. in February. Linda’s Roast took four months of planning, and I felt like a wedding planner. The Foundation worked very closely with the staff at the Lucas Family Estate, and the evening’s results speak for themselves, with the very positive feedback from the audience was nothing but a huge plus.
“The belief of the Lucas family in the Foundation’s undertaking to do the historical documentary and the support of Linda, as well as the support of so many companies, racers and fans made the evening an entertaining and financial success. The funds which were generated will be a tremendous help to Linda personally, as well as to the Foundation to continue to record the recollections of the legends and pioneers of drag racing and the performance aftermarket for posterity.”
The Linda Vaughn Tribute Roast will be available on a DVD, and will be available through the Quarter Mile Foundation’s website: www.quartermilefoundation.org.
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