Drag Illustrated Issue 173, December 2021 - Page 24


Paying Tribute

Nostalgia Pro Stock community remembers Don Carlton through sixth annual memorial race By Gena Ellis-Rudisill

Perfect October weather and the original “ Motown Missile ” Barracuda driven by Don Carlton himself , mixed with a whole lot of excitement provided the perfect backdrop for the 6th annual Don Carlton Nostalgia Pro Stock race and Hudson / Shuffletown Reunion race at Mooresville Dragway on October 23 .

For those who don ’ t know , Don Carlton was a Pro Stock driver in AHRA , IHRA and NHRA and a test driver for Dodge , who died in a testing accident in Milan , Michigan , in July 1977 . Carlton was a very skillful and popular driver of the ‘ 70s and one of the most feared competitors of his time . This race was created by Southeast Nostalgia Pro Stock founder Jeff Rudisill of Lenoir , North Carolina , for his hometown hero . Rudisill resides a quarter-mile away from Carlton ’ s old shop , where Donnie Carlton Jr . now has his own successful business .
Each year , attending this race is like stepping back in time . There is always an amazing selection of Nostalgia Pro Stock cars from all over the country and this year was no exception . A total of 18 cars came from Georgia , Alabama , Pennsylvania , Wisconsin and everywhere in between . The turnout included representatives from three Nostalgia Pro Stock groups : the Southeast Nostalgia Pro Stock ( SNPS ) Association , the Legends Nostalgia Pro Stock group , and the Midwest Nostalgia Pro Stock Association .
For the first time in Nostalgia Pro Stock history , there were five Bob Glidden cars represented at one race . This was an awesome tribute to the man himself and shows how much he inspired
other racers . These cars included Mark Johnson ’ s original ’ 88 Motorcraft Ford Thunderbird , Keith Bronson ’ s tribute to the ’ 87 Motorcraft Ford Thunderbird , Gary Varney ’ s tribute to the ’ 84 Chief Auto Parts Ford Thunderbird , Mike Ruth ’ s tribute to the ’ 79 Ford Fairmont , and Larry and Clinton Snead ’ s tribute to the ’ 82 Ford EXP .
Each year to honor the memory of Carlton , a different original Don Carlton car is brought in to be displayed . The highlight of this year ’ s event was the original “ Motown Missile ” Barracuda . This car was meticulously restored by George Paul from Mississippi . Credit goes out to Teresa Merritt , Mark Williamson and McGrath Keen
for getting the car there for all to see .
This year ’ s event saw a change in format for the 5-second cars that participate . Instead of pairing from a ladder and each pair running the best two out of three , the drivers decided they wanted to have a little fun by pairing themselves in a way that everyone ran everyone . This produced quite a bit of excitement for both drivers and fans , and it gave the photographers lots of unique photo opportunities .
The 4-second cars ran an actual race with Terry Adams of Millers Creek , North Carolina , in his original Frank Iaconio Oldsmobile coming out on top . Representing the Legends Nostalgia Pro
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