Northeast Dragway Host the 4th
Annual Richie Bowden Memorial Race
by Carla Winslow
For many years the voice that was heard across the drag strip, calling out the names of the racers as they pulled their dragsters up to the burn out box was that of the late Richie Bowden. Not just an announcer but once a drag racer himself back in the old Suffolk Drag Strip days. Bowden could be counted on being in the tower every Saturday night to call the race with just as much excitement as if he were on the track himself.
Many still remember that Friday night Test and Tune when track operator Tony Trueblood announced the sudden passing of Bowden that afternoon. An empty announcers chair and a lonely microphone lay silent in the tower for weeks to follow.
On Saturday, drag racers returned to the track for the final race of the season to honor "Richie".
Top Eliminator winner Brian Crumpler of Elm City, NC met Jason McLawhorn of Virginia in the final round. Crumpler had the advantage off the tree with a .005 reaction time. As McLawhorn left the starting line, his car would lift with a wheel stand that had the crowd on their feet; McLawhorn's car came down hard and then broke left towards the wall. McLawhorn had to get out of the throttle to avoid a crash. Crumpler had no idea what was happening behind him as he crossed the finish line and his win light came on.
Modified class winner Leon Walston Sr. of Elizabeth City, NC got his first win of the season when he beat Tim Riddle. Walston in his 1984 Camaro had the better reaction time, and took the win easily from Riddle at the stripe. "I only got this close to winning once this year. I just want to give God the praise first and foremost. My wife Reequita and my daughter Justine support me 100%, my son Leon Jr. comes with me and helps me out with the car and I could not race without him, but without the help of Pops Boyz Racing, Riverside Performance, FTI Convertors, and CCS Carburetors I could not race at all. I am just so thankful to them for all of their help. They are the ones who got me to the winners circle tonight”, said Walston.
Julie Ainsley of Chesapeake, Va. ended her final race of the season on a high note. The Deep Creek High school senior had a very successful year in her Jr Dragster. A Wally and the track Championship were the highlights of her racing year. Ainsley took the win from Sierra Eure of Suffolk, Va in the finals of what became a peddle fest at the end. In order to avoid a breakout, Ainsley had to "whop" the gas. With skill and determination Ainsley took the win light.
5.90 index winner George Williams of Moyock, NC took over the seat for Ricky Williams. A former drag racer put his race car away three years ago, but jumped at the opportunity to get behind the wheel of his brothers 1993 S10 Drag Truck. "It's absolutely amazing to win a race when you haven't been behind the wheel of a race car in three years. I didn't know if I still had it in me, but I guess Ricky knew better than I did, said Williams."
Other weekend winners included Darnell Tillett over Sharon Smith in the Street Class, Willie Warren over Bubba Driscoll in Pro Bike.
Track owner Curtis Trueblood and his family would like to thank all the drag racers and their families for a successful year, and wish them all a safe and happy holiday.