The Real Pro Mod Association (RPM) has announced Protect The Harvest as a supporter of racers competing in the NHRA Pro Mod Series. Racers will have Protect The Harvest identification on their cars to promote the cause beginning with the upcoming NHRA Pro Mod Series race presented by J&A Service in Houston, and continuing through the 2015 season.
Started by Lucas Oil founder Forrest Lucas, Protect The Harvest was organized to bring a collective voice to American farmers, sportsmen and animal owners who have been challenged by organizations trying to interfere with their way of life.
“I’ve really enjoyed putting together a program with the RPM Association to benefit all of the drivers in the Pro Mod class at NHRA national events,” said Lucas. “We are going to generate even more awareness for Protect The Harvest through RPM over the years.”
The Houston race is the second stop of the annual 10-race series which starts in Gainesville, and ends at Las Vegas in October. More than 30 racers are members of the RPM Association and compete in the series.
“We are so thankful for all of the support that Forrest Lucas and his family have provided to NHRA racers over the years and especially thrilled to have all the RPM members participate in the Protect The Harvest promotion,” said RPM board member Mike Knowles. “It’s a tremendous cause that Forrest is an advocate of for families.”
Peyton Manning Children's Hospital will feature a drag-racing-themed MRI room thanks to funds raised from the Eric Medlen Golf Tournament, which is hosted annually by Morgan and Katie Lucas.
Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent will hold a special dedication ceremony Thursday for a drag-racing-themed MRI room.
The room was completed with funds raised from the Eric Medlen Golf Tournament, hosted annually by Morgan and Katie Lucas. The room is complete with racing memorabilia and photos of the late Funny Car driver, who was killed in a crash in 2007.
"We started the golf tournament as a way to honor Eric, to remember him and keep his legacy going," said Morgan Lucas, owner of Morgan Lucas Racing. "When it came time to decide where the money was going to go, the Children's Hospital was the first place we thought about.
"Eric was one of the best drivers in the pits, if not the best, when it came to the kids."
The relationship with the hospital was cemented last December when the Lucases' newborn son Hunter was admitted for treatment for respiratory syncytial virus.
"As a parent that's the scariest thing you'll ever see, seeing your newborn hooked up to IVs and wires and cables and not being able to help him," Lucas said. "The hospital did a great job, and Hunter was out in a couple of days and on the right track. They helped us understand what we needed to do to help him, and Katie took the reins from there. He's doing great now."
Morgan and Katie Lucas will see the completed room for the first time Thursday.
"There's some new technology and some things they wanted to put in, and with the help and support of everyone who has taken part in the golf tournament we've been able to finish off this room," Lucas said. "What's really cool is it's going to be a room dedicated to drag racing, with a heavy Eric Medlen portion."
The sixth-annual Eric Medlen Golf Tournament will take place Aug. 28 at Eagle Creek Golf Club in Indianapolis.
"Since it's become more personal, Katie and I have taken a bigger interest in the golf tournament," Lucas said. "We're going to try to make this the best one yet.
"We've got to keep people coming to this golf tournament and keep it growing. We are seeing some really special things in the community."
Kenny Safford, who enjoyed a long and successful career in Top Fuel and Funny Car driver in the 1960s and ‘70s, died April 22. He had been in ill health recently.
Safford was a member of the famed Burbank Road Kings Car Club while growing up in California’s San Fernando Valley and began competing in the mid-1950s with his mom’s ’56 Ford coupe then graduated to Super Stock in which he was runner-up at the first Bakersfield March Meet in 1959. With fellow club members Rod Pepmuller and Don Gaide, he then moved into a gas dragster, then partnered with Don Ratican to run in Top Fuel.
The newly formed team of Safford-Ratican-Gaide won 17 out of the first 22 Top Fuel races they attended. The wins did not come cheap, and they broke a lot of parts and, apparently, spent some time commiserating about it, leading another Road Kings member, Tommy Ivo, to dub them the “Sour Sisters,” a name that not only stuck but which they carried proudly.
Safford went on to drive the B&M Torkmaster Special and for Frank Cannon, and finally Ted Gotelli, whose cars he drove until early 1969 before switching to Funny Car and a ride in the Mr. Norm’s Dodge Funny Car. He returned to Top Fuel in 1971, driving the cars of Dennis Baca and Gary Bowers (in whose car he was runner-up at the 1971 Winternationls), then returned to driving for the Mr. Norm’s team in 1972, a ride he maintained after buying the operation, which included a continuation of the sponsorship from Norm Krause. A severe hand injury in a shop accident in 1981 required more than two and a half years of therapy, which forced Safford to sell his Funny Car operation, effectively ending his drag racing career.
Safford was recognized by the NHRA in 1996, as an honoree at the California Hot Rod Reunion and was inducted into Don Garlits' International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2002.
The Safford- Ratican-Gaide “Sour Sisters” car was recreated in 1999 and has been a staple of Cacklefest events for years and enjoys a permanent home at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum.
A celebration of Safford’s life will take place Tuesday, May 20 at 7 p.m. at the NHRA Museum.
With the NHRA’s Mello Yello drag racing tour making a stop this weekend in Houston for the 27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts SpringNationals presented by Super Start Batteries, Texas native Steve Torrence made the most of the event’s close proximity to his Kilgore home by providing members of the Kilgore Rangerettes drill team with an up close-and-personal look at the 330-mph Capco Contractors dragster in which he has reached the semifinal round in four of five races this season.
A Kilgore College graduate himself, Torrence hosted 60 members of the Rangerettes for a photo session which ended with a mini-cacklefest on the front lawn of his parents’ home. The 31-year-old former Top Alcohol Dragster world champion (2005) is third in Top Fuel points entering the Houston event. His father, Billy, is an accomplished Super Comp driver who last year made six starts in a second Capco Top Fuel dragster.
Mark Rebilas photo