Linda Vaughn gets the credit (or, some would say, the blame) for introducing me to drag racing.
I was a sportswriter at the Philadelphia Daily News in the mid-and-late 1970s, and while Linda’s home was in California, Hurst Performance Inc. (and her boss, Jack Duffy, a great PR man) was near me in the suburb of Warminster Township. So I’d see Miss Hurst Golden Shifter pretty often, at the Indianapolis and Daytona 500s, races at Pocono and Trenton and Watkins Glen, car shows, awards dinners and cocktail parties.
“Michael, when are you coming to a drag race?” Linda often asked me. Atco was the second racetrack I’d visited as a kid (Langhorne was first -- A.J. Foyt won) but I’d never been to an NHRA national event. So, at Linda’s urging, I headed to Englishtown in 1979. Linda told me I’d find her at the Hurst display adjacent to the pits, but she would have been impossible to miss in a breathtakingly bright red top and shorts, adding heat to an already sunshiny afternoon. Linda immediately began to introduce me to every racer in sight. Including some guy named Wally Parks.