[Gunner’s Classic Corner] The Quarter Mile Foundation Preserves Drag Race History

“Big Daddy” Don Garlits sent 1957 photo to “Firesuit Phil” Pofahl in 2005. Phil passed away in 2011, but his accomplishments need to be preserved.
“Big Daddy” Don Garlits sent 1957 photo to “Firesuit Phil” Pofahl in 2005. Phil passed away in 2011, but his accomplishments need to be preserved.

Photos: Courtesy of the Quarter Mile Foundation

The Quarter Mile Foundation’s Traci Hrudka believes “legacy” means something handed down through generations. Hrudka is concerned that early drag racing’s legacy may be lost if it‘s not preserved today. “The number of surviving pioneers and legends in both drag racing and the automotive performance aftermarket continue to shrink,” Hrudka pointed out.

Fortunately, several active industry pioneers who were there at the start are still around. Hrudka thinks they can provide the sport, the industry and the public with an intimate look at hot rodding’s growth after World War II. The Quarter Mile Foundation and its PROJECT 1320 documentaries are interviewing pioneers to get a digital record of their careers and the growth of the sport.

“As the Quarter Mile Foundation prepares for 2015, our journey to preserve and share what we were built on still has miles to go,” Hrudka points out. “But, we have made great strides and are very proud of our accomplishments; the gap between the past and our future is shrinking,”

While working at Mr. Gasket, Hrudka dealt with requests for support such as race sponsorships, discounts and free products. Now, the tables are turned and Project 1320 needs support to continue. “It is the very long, overdue story of more than 60 years of hard work, passion, love and the incredible tenacity to get up back on your feet when you fell down,” says Hrudka. “The ideals, traditions and relationships that lasted through time need to be told.”

The Quarter Mile Foundation has programs to fit any budget. “We need people to stand up with others and be a part of a culture that needs to be preserved now,” says Hrudka “Please join in and together as a family we will keep alive and share some extraordinary stories of what was so richly built.”

Those interested in supporting Project 1320 can visit www.quartermilefoundation.org for information on how to help preserve the history of hot rodding.

About John Gunnell 93 Articles
John “Gunner” Gunnell has been writing about cars since ‘72. As a kid in Staten Island, N.Y., he played with a tin Marx “Service Garage” loaded with toy vehicles, his favorite being a Hubley hot rod. In 2010, he opened Gunner’s Great Garage, in Manawa, Wis., a shop that helps enthusiasts restore cars. To no one’s surprise, he decorated 3G’s with tin gas stations and car toys. Gunner started writing for two car club magazines. In 1978, publisher Chet Krause hired him at Old Cars Weekly, where he worked from 1978-2008. Hot rodding legend LeRoi “Tex” Smith was his boss for a while. Gunner had no formal journalism training, but working at a weekly quickly taught him the trade. Over three decades, he’s met famous collectors, penned thousands of articles and written over 85 books. He lives in Iola, Wis., with his nine old cars, three trucks and seven motorcycles.
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