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As we close 2015 and face forward into 2016, a presidential election year, we know our senses will be maxed out by next fall when the final election is held! Hopefully a great drag racing season will be enjoyed by most of us to ease the pain of ads, accusations and outright lies from the presidential election.
This writer wants to clear my files for 2015 by sharing tidbits which ‘almost made the cut’ during the 2015 season.
First, from my column about Kansas City drag racing, a reader correctly submitted that we had omitted Dick Harrell from the story. As far as being from Kansas City, we did. Harrell did have a speed shop and car prep business in KC for a time during the late ‘60s, but he was not from there.
Dick started his brief drag racing career around Artesia - Hobbs, New Mexico, in the early ‘60s. When he did well with a 409-powered car, he caught the eye of Chevrolet Performance who sent him to Bill Thomas Race Cars (GM’s performance engineering outlet) in Anaheim, Calif. There he really blossomed with a series of Chevy II’s powered by the new ‘canted valve’, porcupine engines.
As his success grew and match race dates were offered across the US, Harrell moved to Chicago and the Nickey Chevrolet arm of GM Performance. During this time he did open a shop in Kansas City and also St. Louis.
A local Chevrolet dealership in the small farming town of La Harp, Ill., offered Dick a huge sponsorship that became his headquarters until the end. That was Fred Gibb. Herb Fox, Ray Sullens, and Dick Harrell all made popular the Dick Harrell name from the La Harp, Illinois, community.