Jim Baker's Then and Now

Gary, a Different Trump

When you are born and raised just one-half mile from a dragstrip, you might be inclined to migrate to the new sport. This is the history of Gary Trump and not only did Gary grow into racing, he became a ‘Super Star’ of Stock racing during the ‘60s with his longtime partner Ronnie Redding. This is his story.


Gary and his older brother, Harold, grew up on the edge of Kahoka, Missouri, where they helped their father, Fritz Trump, operate his produce business. Harold terrorized the local street scene with his 312” 1959 Ford Pup during 1959-60.


A group of young local enthusiasts that included Gary’s close friend Kent Martin, started the Tri-State Dragway during June of 1960. Shortly thereafter, Kent built a home-built dragster for local competition. Gary did not have a car at that time so he helped Kent and together they won several Top Eliminator trophies.

1960: Kent Martin ‘driving his rail’ into the main gate at Tri-State Dragway. Gary Trump is coming to help (white T shirt)

This ’46 Ford Coupe was Gary’s first self-owned effort, running in B/Gas class with a Buick V8 motor from Kent Martin. It is definitely an ‘off season’ winter time photo, probably in 1962.

Approximately two years later, Gary joined forces with Ron Redding and together they constructed a ’55 Chevy two-door sedan with a ‘little’ 265” Chevrolet engine. There were plenty of modifications done to the motor and chassis, but none that would keep the car from being declared ‘legal’ for Stock Eliminator competition. And, boy, did they WIN!

When you amass this much ‘hardware’ in three years of competition, something must have been right! Their wins included two World Series of Drag Racing titles at Cordova Raceway, and a World Stock Championship at the AHRA Nationals at Green Valley Raceway in Texas. When they stayed home at Kahoka, it was almost a given that they would win Little Stock Eliminator.


There were no reaction timers ‘back in the day’, but Gary’s starting line ability was the envy of many fellow racers. His winning spirit has carried forward some 57 years to 2017. A little bit like Connie Kallita, Gary has fashioned TRUMP TRUCKS, INC. which is one of the largest custom truck emporiums in the Midwest.

Their mantra reads: “We are a full service commercial truck dealer located in Kahoka, Missouri. We offer a large selection of used & salvage trucks for sale, including dump, day cab, heavy duty, conventional and long haul trucks from Freightliner, International, Volvo and Mack. We serve customers from St. Louis & Kansas City, MO.; Springfield & Chicago, ILL.; plus Des Moines, IA., with our huge selection of New & Used Trucks.”


Gary has not forgotten his drag racing roots; he sponsors racers such as the Super Comp dragster we photographed at Eddyville Dragway in 2016.

But Gary’s racing story doesn’t end there. He and his daughter recently competed in ‘The Great Race’. It is a rally over a long distance with parameters for each segment and exacting precision. They did not win in their first attempt, but Gary told me they “learned a lot.”


They drove several hundred miles in a fully restored 1941 Mercury Coupe that Gary built with all possible amenities and comforts.

2016, Gary and his wife joined yours truly and my son, Brad, for dinner at Reed’s Café & Tavern in Wayland, MO, on Thursday evening prior to the huge ‘Rust Revival’ car show that takes over the entire town. After we finished dinner we noticed many early arrivals for the three-day festival already setting up camp for the crazy weekend.

The internet recently posted this photo of an old dragster still alive and in action in the Midwest with a Chevy motor.  Looking at the pic, no one could deny the 2x3 square box tube frame and front axle set up are that of the original car which Kent Martin and Gary Trump built and raced back in 1960. The post said it originally had a Pontiac engine, but it was always a Buick.


Gary is one of the early Drag Racing pioneers who continued to thrive in another automotive endeavor. There are hundreds like him all across the land; many can be found at places like the CHRR in Bakersfield or the Holley HRR in Bowling Green. They are all proud racers who really could ‘bring it’ - back in the day.


Until Next Time, Be On Time! 



official DRO sponsors

 © 1999-2017 - Drag Racing Online and Racing Net Source LLC - 607 Seib Drive, O'Fallon, MO 63366 Phone: 636.272.6301 - Privacy Policy


fficial ponsors