Traci Hrudka – Chairman
The Hrudka name is synonymous with drag racing and the Mr. Gasket Company, founded by her father Tom Hrudka and Uncle Joe Hrudka epitomizes the term “Life in the fast lane”.
Traci started her business career after graduating from Palm Springs High School (Palm Springs, Calif.) in 1981, and began working for the Mr. Gasket Company in 1982. Starting as a computer operator and “racing” up the ladder, she became the Manager of Sales & Marketing, overseeing the customer service department and handling over triple digit million dollars in annual sales. She was charged with overseeing the customer’s racing contracts, pricing and co-op advertising. She said at one time, “There was not a department at ‘Gasket’ you wouldn’t find me involved with!”
Traci was rewarded with a “Person of the Year” award from the Performance Warehouse Association in 1997.
After the sale of Mr. Gasket Company to Echlin in 1997, Traci moved to the Automated Data Collection Arena (Intermec Technologies) where she achieved four President Club awards for over achievement in sales as an Executive Sales Director.
But she missed her roots and the industry she was born into. She wanted to come back home. With that said she attended several race events and aftermarket shows and saw a hole in the industry she so dearly loved, which was “Where is the history of our sport and the performance aftermarket”?
Well to know Traci that once she gets an idea in her head there is no stopping her. It was time to go back to her roots where everyone she knew and grew up with was at. And so it began, Quarter Mile Foundation along with Project 1320 was born.
We have all been enriched with a very unique industry and the people that built it. It is now time to give back what was so passionately passed on to us.
Steve Cole – Marketing Communications, WRITEWords
For over 30 years, Steve Cole has been a marketing communications professional – editor, public relations manager and marketing communications company owner, specializing in the motorsports and high performance automotive aftermarket.
His multi-faceted career has included involvement with tractor/truck pulling as the editor of The Puller the house publication of the National Tractor Pullers Association, plus serving as the association’s Director of Public and Industry Relations. He served as editor of the International Hot Rod Association’s Drag Review magazine. He also was the long time editor of Babcox Publications’ Specialty & Custom Dealer trade magazine.
He also served as the Director of Communications for the Mr. Gasket Companies, Holley Performance Products, Inc., Barry Grant, Inc. and Flaming River Industries, Inc.
He was the owner of In-Motion Communications, a marketing communications firm throughout the 1990s. In addition to marketing communications for aftermarket clients, he provided editorial services to such publications as Performance Racing Industry, SEMA News, Trackside, Super Stock & Drag Illustrated and Speedway Illustrated.
Presently, he is the owner of WRITEWords, a marketing communications firm located in Medina, Ohio, near Cleveland and Akron.
Don Ewald – Creator of WeDidItForLove.com, Pioneer Racer
Don Ewald has been involved in drag racing for 48 years. Born and bred in Long Beach, Calif., which was the home of Lions Drag Strip, he got the bug in 1962 and by 1966 was driving an injected fuel dragster. From 1968 to 1979 Ewald owned and drove a variety of Top Fuel dragsters making the transition from front engine to rear in 1972.
From 1974 to 1979 he served as Director of Racer Relations for the legendary Keith Black Racing Engines. In late 1979, he went in a completely different direction going into the television industry in the capacity of cameraman for CBS which led to his own production company and a long venture into high end home entertainment products. All the while keeping close ties with the drag racing community.
Starting with the first California Hot Rod Reunion in 1993 he returned to an active involvement in the sport. In 1997 he sold his business and moved to Oregon where he started a small website with a few photos of dragsters. It was dubbed “We Did It For Love” based on the fact that in the day there was little or no money to be made in racing so you had to love it. Twelve years later, WDIFL.com is the largest drag racing photo and history website in the world.
Aside from maintaining WDIFL.com, he publishes Cacklefest.com and other sites relating to nostalgia top fuel racing. His knowledge and love of drag racing history make him and We Did It For Love a perfect fit into PROJECT 1320.
Harry Hibler – Advertising & Marketing
Harry Hibler is currently the President of UNI-MARKETING, LLC, an advertising and marketing firm that is focused primarily on the automotive high performance market. Hibler has a long history of involvement with performance automotive industry starting in 1952 when he first began building and racing a variety of vehicles. During his early years, he was the manager of San Fernando Raceway for over fifteen years where he interfaced with a large share of the drag racers of that era. He was also a partner in a General Contracting firm during that period.
He went to work for the Petersen Publishing Company in 1969 where was employed for nearly thirty years. During his tenure at Petersen, he was at various times the national advertising director for Car Craft Magazine, Publisher of several PPC magazines including Hot Rod, Car Craft, Circle Track and Event Scene. During his 11-plus years as Publisher of Hot Rod, the magazine’s circulation increased to the point it had the largest readership of any automotive title in the world.
He has served three terms on the Board of Directors for the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) and was inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame. In 1994, he was inducted into the Northwestern College Hall of Fame for his contribution to its High Performance Motorsports Education Program. He was named California Business Man of the Year for 2002 by the Business Advisory Council. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of Quarter Mile Entertainment Foundation/Project 1320, the Board of Selectors for the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame and the SEMA Hall of Fame committee and Task Force.
In 2013, he was inducted into the prestigious International Drag Racing Hall of Fame (a part of the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, Ocala, Fla.).
Carl Olson – Racing Legend
Carl Olson is one of the most versatile individuals in the automotive aftermarket and motorsports world. Championship winning competitor, business executive, sanctioning body executive and industry leader all describe various facets of Carl Olson’s career.
He has been an owner and/or driver of several well-known Top Fuel cars, was IHRA World Champion in 1972, but perhaps the most important win came on December 2, 1972 – winning the last Top Fuel race at the Lions Drag Strip in Wilmington, Calif., over Jeb Allen on the final pass ever made on that revered quarter mile.
Over the years, Olson’s career has included the General Manager’s role at Trans-Dapt and Waterman Racing Components, 25 years at the NHRA in a variety of positions – leaving as Vice President, Insurance, Risk Management & International Relations, three terms on the Board of Directors of SEMA (plus a term as the organization’s Secretary), President of the Federation International de l’Automobile (FIA) Drag Racing Commission (responsible for all international drag racing activities), and currently serves the Motorsports Manager of the SFI Foundation, Inc.
He was awarded membership in the prestigious SEMA Hall of Fame in 1991, is a member of the Cragar 5-Second Club (1974 -5.94 sec.), Bonneville 200 mph Club (1994 – 2-way average – 234.276 mph) and received the NHRA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. As a hobby, he restores race cars – midgets, sprint cars and dragsters, and is an avid deep sea sport fisherman.
In 2012, he entered two prestigious drag racing Halls of Fame, the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame (a part of the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, Ocala, Fla.) and the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
Wayne Wolfe – Board Member
Wayne Wolfe has been a longtime fixture within the motorsports and performance aftermarket as a tech. sales person, a media salesman and manufacturers’ rep. for his adult life. Across his career, he has worked in the industrial design group for Goodyear, in Akron, Ohio, and then moved to Michigan, where he was with Holley Carburetor for 10 years. During that span, he worked the outdoor events, drag races/street rod meets, plus worked all the major warehouse distributors in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and eastern Canada.
He gained valuable OEM experience with Cars & Concepts, Special Vehicles Group, where he was involved with the Pontiac “Banshee” program.
During his career in media sales, he worked for the two leading publishers at the time, Petersen Publishing Group and Argus Publishing. He then moved to SLP Engineering , where he was the Business Development Manager for the company’s Automotive Group, which developed General Motors vehicle packages (Ram-Air Grand Prix, S-10) which were marketed through automotive installers nationwide directly to new car dealers. Currently, he is self-employed as a Manufacturer’s rep involved with private brand parts creation and sales to specific customers.
Drag racing has been a part of his life since the early 1970s, when he had unique opportunity to travel with Wally Booth and Dick Aronís Pro Stock team. He has always carried a passion for the golden days of the sport, and currently is involved with restoration of the AMC “HORNET X” Pro Stock car.
Don “Big Daddy” Garlits – Drag Racing Pioneer
Don (“Big Daddy”) Garlits began his racing career in 1950 and scored his first major victory in 1955. His first NHRA National event win came in 1963 at the Winternationals in Pomona, California, and he has won the prestigious NHRA U.S. Nationals a record 8 times.
The name “Big Daddy” is synonymous with drag racing – even to those who have only a fleeting interest in the sport. He has been dubbed the “King of the Dragsters,” and could be considered the patriarch of Top Fuel drag racing. Garlits’ distinct ability to conceptualize his dreams has allowed him to be master over the end result. The Drag Racing Museum and Classic Car Collection in Ocala, Florida, the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame, 17 World Championship titles and numerous racing milestones are all reality because Don first saw them as worthwhile dreams.
Across six decades of racing, Don’s famed “Swamp Rat” series of hand-fabricated black race cars – 34 in total — carried him to 144 national event wins. “Big Daddy’s” living legacy and racecar design innovations are so significant that his record breaking Swamp Rat XXX is enshrined in the Smithsonian Museum of American History.
His decades of drag racing have filled the pages of seven books. The list of significant honors is a testament to Don’s innovative spirit, his indomitable desire to compete and win, and to the recognition of his staying power with race fans and his fellow competitors.
Jon ”The Voice of Drag Racing” Lundberg – Race Commentary Legend
Jon Lundberg saw his first hot rod in May 1949 and according to the Oro Valley, AZ, resident,”I haven’t been the same since.” On literally parallel career tracks he witnessed the growth of both drag racing and its supporting industry from its early days. Having chosen college instead of building a dragster, he began ‚ instead ‚ to talk about cars. From 1955 through 2001 Jon announced the sportís leading events appearing at 130 North American drag strips while carding significant firsts in media coverage. He became known as “The Voice Of Drag Racing” and was given the nickname “Thunderlungs”.
When his family sold their manufacturing business in 1973, Jon headed West to enter the specialty aftermarket industry fulltime. In 1976, he participated in the buy-out of Cyclone Exhaust from its parent. In the late 70ís, he was elected by his peers to three consecutive terms on the SEMA Board of Directors. He has since filled operating posts in every aftermarket facet.
As of January 2010, Lundberg is the owner of Southwest Valuations – a 38 ‚year provider of appraisal services – a company focused on value opinions for unique, exotic, historic and racing vehicles. This new enterprise prompted him to seek that industry’s top operating credential. As of January 27, 2010, he is attained “Accredited Senior Appraiser” status as conferred by the American Society of Appraisers – a 3600-member international society of professional valuers.
At 73, Jon Lundberg serves collector, individual and corporate clients with car valuation projects. Weekends find him “giving back” to drag racing and the industry with presentations at leading nostalgia events on various aspects of motor sports history. As an operating member of the Project 1320 Board of Directors, Lundberg fulfills the role of quintessential “car guy”.
Darwin Doll – Founder of National Nostalgia Drag Racing Association
Darwin Doll’s career can be best described as a motorsports journey from the time he was a young man in his hometown of York, Pennsylvania to the present, being involved with cars and racing has placed him in a number of high profile and very interesting endeavors.
As a young man in 1957, he founded the Sportsters Roadster Association, following a tour of duty with the U.S. Army. The goal was to put his peers on the drag strip, and keep their racing activities there instead of the streets. He served as President of the organization for several years, while working at the Lancaster Drag-O-Way and later at the famed York U.S. 30 Drag-O-Way in a variety of technical and operations duties.
He then worked for the legendary Bob Richwine at Williams Grove Raceway, which was one of the East’s premier oval tracks, and Doll ran drag races on the front straightaway. He also began to work with the National Hot Rod Association, and for many years was responsible for the recording system for all NHRA national events.
He went to work for the NHRA in 1964 as the Director of Division One, the Northeast Division (14 states plus Eastern Ontario and Quebec in Canada and Puerto Rico). He served as Division One Director for 17 years, and was instrumental in establishing the regional structure for the organization of the NHRA. In addition to his duties with overseeing the operation of Division One, Doll also served on the Board of Directors of the Automobile Competition Club for the United States (ACCUS), which is the U.S. arm of the international motorsports sanctioning body Federation Internationale de líAutomobile (FIA), which all major sanctioning bodies in the United States are members.
In 1981, Darwin made a career change and returned to track management, working for Roger Penske at the Michigan International Speedway, as Vice President and General Manager. While at M.I.S., Roger loaned Darwin to the CART organization to assist with the CART Indy Car series races held at Pocono International Raceway for several years. Doll then moved to Sonoma, California to become the President of Sears Point International Raceway, where he was instrumental in securing both NASCAR Winston Cup and NHRA National events at the track. He left Sears Point to become involved with building the Albuquerque International Raceway.
He returned to his hometown of York in the early 1990’s and settled down to become involved with local business opportunities. He became active in the National Rifle Association and in particular with the Eddie Eagle Youth Gun Safety Program. He continues with his passion for motorsports and hot rods as the promoter of the Musclecar Madness at the York Reunion & Nostalgia Nationals, also known as the York U.S. 30 Reunion and the Legends of Drag Racing. From a reunion of racers and former employees of the legendary drag strip, the York affair, held the second full weekend of July, has become one of drag racing’s premier nostalgia events. He also formed the National Nostalgia Drag Racing Association (NNDRA) to preserve the sport’s history.
Bill Pratt – DragList.com Creator
Bill Pratt is a 40-year student of the sport of drag racing. He has been deeply involved with the sport in his home state of Maryland over the majority of those years. Bill served as the Communications Director and show announcer at Maryland International Raceway for 15 years before co-promoting and announcing the Classic Thunder nostalgia drag racing series from 2002-2004.
Nostalgia drag racing and drag racing history is a passion with Bill, and he has been very active in the preservation of the history of the sport for many years. He was a member of the NHRA 50th Anniversary Top 50 Drivers Panel, and when not tied to the computer, helps to promote and announce at nostalgia drag racing events and shows around the country.
Bill is known world-wide for his website, DragList.com, which is not only a 10,000 page data bank of the performance of drag racers throughout the history of the sport, but also a repository of 75,000 racer profiles including images and performance data from 1950 to today. The site has expanded to post and preserve drag racing related press releases and race results, and archives them for posterity.
Steve Gibbs – NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Consultant
Steve Gibbs, a native of the mountains of North Carolina, has been a fixture of the sport of drag racing all of his adult life, and one of its most influential people over the past 5 decades of his career.
He began his 40+ year career with the NHRA serving as an assistant to the legendary Jack Hart, then NHRA Vice President and Event Director, after Gibbs had several years experience of managing several drag strips. Gibbs’ staying power would eventually lead him to the position of Vice President of Competition, and overseeing the operation of 400 National events.
Upon entering what he refers to as “semi-retirement,” he began his “payback” mode to the sport, first overseeing the construction of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, Calif., and the acquisition of the vehicles on display, and was the Museumís director until December 2002. He remains actively involved with the Museum, serving as a member of the Board of Directors.
Gibbs has been instrumental in creating and organizing both the California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif. which is presented by the Auto Club of Southern California, and the annual Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Ky. He also serves as a consultant to the newly created NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series.
In recognition of his dedication to the sport of drag racing, Gibbs was honored with the Car Craft Magazine “Ollie” Award for lifetime achievement in 1991, and the California Hot Rod Reunion Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995. In 1994, Gibbs was named to the Board of Selectors for the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in Ocala, Fla., and was himself inducted in 2006. He was inducted into the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame in 2007, and was presented with the Board of Director’s Award at the 2009 California Hot Rod Reunion.
Respected by racers, sponsors, fans and industry leaders, Steve Gibbs has made significant contributions to the sport across his decades of service, and is considered one of the sport’s most influential individuals for the past half century, and continues to shape the sport in his own quiet manner.
Wally Booth — Pro Stock veteran, engine builder
Wally Booth began his drag racing career in the early 1960s, racing in the Stock and Super Stock classes with both Chrysler and General Motors race cars. By the later part of the 1960s, Booth moved into the Pro Stock class, with the “Rat Pack 1” Chevy Camaro.
But he created a huge stir in the fledgling Pro Stock class in the early 1970s, when he and partner Dick Arons brought American Motors into the sport as a factory-backed team. Racing first the under-powered and aerodynamically challenged AMC Gremlin, Booth had huge hurdles to overcome. But, the red-white-blue Gremlin became everyone’s favorite underdog.
Booth and Arons worked feverishly to develop the downsized AMC 401-inch engine, and at the same time, trying to improve the handling of the short-wheelbase car. The Booth-Arons engine program was showing positive gains, and with the introduction of the Hornet body in 1973 things improved dramatically. From 1973 to 1976, Wally and his partner Dick Arons, made the Hornet’s sting felt by the competition. Using the first all-tubular chassis from Tom Smith’s Wolverine Chassis, the Hornet’s improved aero qualities, a longer wheelbase and a very tunable suspension gave the Booth-Arons powerplants a very competitive platform to challenge the GM, Ford and Chrysler products.
Booth delivered five NHRA National wins for himself (plus four other AHRA and independent Pro Stock wins), and Booth-Arons engines powered the Maskin & Kanners sister Hornet, which was also a formidable challenger in the class.
Booth retired from the Pro Stock scene in 1979, and focused his attention on the Booth-Arons engine building business. He sold the engine shop and opened Booth Automotive, an auto parts distribution company in Hazel Park, Mich.
He was inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in Ocala, Fla. in 2013.