NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion
June 17-19
Bowling Green, KY
Story By Michael Hollander
4 Pages

Emotional Reception Caps Friday Reunion Action

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - (June 16, 2005) - When grown men cry and they're hot rodders, it could be from the fumes of raw nitromethane, but on Friday night, it was raw emotion that gripped the legendary honorees at the 3rd Annual Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion's traditional public reception. More than one of the stars of yesteryear was moved emotionally by the tribute.





Hubert Platt, who brought his extended family to the event, was humble. "It's a great honor to be here tonight," said the former moonshiner from South Carolina. "I've been around the world. I tell no lies. I've done everything you've done, twice. Don't I look good to be 40?" That brought a roar from the crowd as the septuagenarian smiled.


Arlen Vanke noted, "It's a great honor to be here. In my 52 years, if it wasn't for what we did, you wouldn't be home, watching qualifying on Saturday and racing on Sunday."

Grand Marshal "Gentleman Joe" Schubeck noted that his nickname was created by old-time cam grinder Ed "Isky" Iskenderian. Schubeck told the story as he popped a top hat onto his head. "This is really a great honor for me to get," he said. Schubeck also told how Connie Kalitta came up to him before a round and said that he, Kalitta, needed the left lane because he'd lost his right eye. Kalitta beat Schubeck and then ran the same trick - with the other eye - on another racer.


Gentleman Joe Schubeck




'This is something else! I'm honored," said Sy Sidebotham, following a less printable remark. Sidebotham, who began his career as a racer and then moved on, noted that his companies make cardboard containers that touch lives every day. "I'm honored to serve you." Of his health problems, Sidebotham joked, "I died a couple of times and I'm here to thank my wife, a 35-year ICU nurse, Dottie," who rescued him.

Arlen Vanke


Sam Jackson, Executive Director of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, brought greetings to hundreds gathered at the Bowling Green Convention Center from NHRA Founder and Museum Board Chairman Wally Parks. "I spoke to Wally and he's doing fine," said Jackson, "but at his age, it's not as good to fly. But Wally did get his driver's license renewed for another five years and he didn't use glasses for the test." Parks, 92, lives in California. Jackson went on to thank everyone involved in the event and made special note of the 86 cars in the "Quick 64" class.

He also announced that "we're going to come back next year. Right here. We love Beech Bend and we love Bowling Green. We're a partner with Bowling Green." That brought a big round of applause. Jackson asked the crowd to be patient given the traffic pattern for the track this year. The track gates were opened all night on Thursday to help racing teams get their cars into the track with less traffic


Gibbs, Sox and Wells

Museum Board Member Steve Gibbs, who created the first Hot Rod Reunion, 14 years ago, said, "The older I get, the more emotional these reunions become. They bring back good memories." NHRA and Parks Museum Board Member Dick Wells joined Gibbs on the podium to present the Museum's first Board of Directors Award to the legendary Sox and Martin team. Ronnie Sox was present to accept the award.

Sox received a standing ovation. He thanked his partner and his engine builder, who he described as "the best." "You ask him a question, you wouldn't get an answer," said Sox. Talking of his partner, Sox said, "Buddy really pushed me. I had a very great career and I enjoyed every minute of it. I'd like to thank my wife, Alecia," said Sox, who has battled prostate cancer since 2004. "We've had some rough times, but she's been behind me all the way."

Don Garlits Trophy for the Justice Brothers Reunion Spotlight Award was presented to the S & S Racing team. Present to accept the award were Malcolm Durham, Porky Zartman, Gene Altizer, Fred Bear and Dave Hales. K.S. Pittman was unable to attend due to health problems and Charlie Hill has passed away. Ken Hertlinde, distributor of Justice Brothers products in Virginia, presented the award. Hertlinde noted that between 1962 and 1964, the team had an astonishing 23 wins in 28 final appearances and held 10 class records. Hertlinde became so emotional that he pulled the microphone right off the stand. "I'm so proud to break this mike and be up here with these guys," he said to a great laugh.

Dave McClelland, the Voice of the NHRA and an NHRA drag racing announcer for 44 years, presented each of the nominees in turn. In addition to those honored in Friday night's ceremonies, other racing notables included past honorees "Big Daddy" Don Garlits and Alison Lee as well as former IHRA owner Bill Bader.


Dave & Corky




 Corky’s VW

McClelland auctioned off a montage of photos of Hubert Platt, which raised $525 for the non-profit Museum. The second auction item was an event banner from the Reunion, which sold for $400.

Also presented were awards from Thursday night's kick-off cruise. The Mayor's Choice, selected by Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker, was presented by City Commissioner Delane Simpson to Barry Rime of Dallas, N.C. for his '37 Ford. Simpson followed that up by saying of the Reunion, "we want you back forever and ever. He noted that the traffic issue was "a county problem, but we're working to resolve it."


Vickie Fitch-Hawkins of the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau presented the Director's Award to Neil and Becky Garey of Bowling Green for their '37 Ford 2-door humpback sedan. "We want you back, next year," said Fitch-Hawkins.


Mayor Judging


Mayors Award


Mayor Chats With Rodders

Holley Director of Product Management Shane Weckerly spoke for the title sponsor as he said he was "proud to be associated with this event. There's a lot of history in this room. This is one of the best events on the planet. We look forward to continuing our tradition."






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