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I Could Have Had Roy Hill’s Pro Stock Duster!

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I had a great part-time job right out of high school. My local drag strip, Atco Dragway, in Atco New Jersey was looking for a new track announcer because their long-time announcer, Bob Fry was planning to leave. After a lot of coaxing from my girl friend I decided to try out for the job. The same day I went for my first tryout, there was another young fellow who was also interested in becoming an announcer.

It turned out that Tony and I both got jobs, but since Tony lived so close, he would work at Atco and I would fill an open spot at Cecil County Drag-O-Way in Maryland. During the 1960s Cecil County had developed a reputation as a great match racing track for the emerging Super Stock, A/FX, and Pro Stock classes. It’s just a small track situated in the beautiful rolling hills of northern Maryland. Because of its small size, large national events were out of the question, but it was perfect for match races and 8 car shows.

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In 1974 Roy Hill was one of a handful of young upstart racers who were making their marks in drag racing’s latest darling class, Pro Stock. Grumpy had already reinvented the class in 1972 with his famous tube frame Vega and by 1974 everyone was running tube frame cars with the new and exotic Lenco transmissions. Roy was campaigning a beautiful Duster for Richard Petty Enterprises. The car was very low in the front, a little higher in the back and sported the standard Mopar hood scoop. It was rather menacing looking, not like the Motown Missile, but it had that tricked out look.

Roy was a real happy-go-lucky sort of guy who’s crew-cut hair made his stand out among rock’n roll drag racer look of the day. The show started at 8 pm and Roy and his competitor were in the staging lanes just hanging out and talking to his crew. It was that short, quite time of the race day, the sun was getting ready to set and racers were ready to fire’m up. I was milling around the starting line, about to go into the timing tower, when the started asked me if I’d tell Roy that he could move his car closer to the line, since we were minute away from the playing of the national anthem.

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This was one of those, “if I’d only been older and a little more savvy” moments. I walked up to Roy and told him that he could move his car into the burnout area. Roy flashes his big smile and tossed me the keys and said, “Here! You move it up there!” What I wished I’d done was open the door and got in. But instead I stammered and stuttered and said, “Oh no… er ah… I don’t think so Roy… ah…” He’d clearly caught me off guard and had a good laugh about it. But it left me wondering how far he would have let me go if only I’d just said”Thanks Roy!” and gotten in. Hmmm…

If you’re into the wild and wooly world of the early days of Pro Stock, you’ll enjoy my collection of Pro Stock art at: http://www.precision-illustration.com/Prints_Drag_Pro_Stock.html


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2 Responses to “I Could Have Had Roy Hill’s Pro Stock Duster!”

  1. Enjoyed your story and I’m looking for information about the winternationls in 1970 I believe it was E-stock automatic. and the drivers name I believe was Roy Fidppesop 1970 Ply Duster

    • Thanks Dan! Roy’s Pro Stock Duster was a real crowd pleaser. About your question, two suggestions. First, try DragList.com, they might have something about the ’70 Winternationals. Second, we offer the old Drag News weekly newspaper on CD. Vol. 5 covers racing from ’70 to ’71. I don’t know for sure if what you’re looking for would be there, but it might. Hope that helps! Thanks! – Scott


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