OPA! THE 'GOLDEN GREEK' HAS BEEN DRAG RACING FOR 50 YEARS
By Chris Martin
Photos from the DRO archives
I don't mean to harp on this, but...I cannot get over
certain oversights on my over-aged (to some) over-the-top and, to my
mind, overlooked superstar racer Chris Karamesines.
This year NHRA is quite justifiably saluting Kenny Bernstein's final
year as a race car driver, and also banging the drum for Don Prudhomme's
40th year as an NHRA racer, which is actually inaccurate. Don Prudhomme
was racing fuel cars as as early as 1961, but, to the best of my recall,
did not drive a nitro racer with NHRA until the 1964 NHRA Winternationals.
Possibly, he drove a gas dragster under NHRA sanction in 1962, but I
certainly wouldn't know whose it was. The 1962 season was where Prudhomme
made his mark by driving his and Dave Zeuschel's Top Fuel dragster to
the Bakersfield March Meet title. Oh well.
Anyway, these two racers are great ones and they both accomplished
things that are of Hall of Fame stature.
Which brings me to "the Greek." I was in Gainesville, Fla. in March
of 1997 when Karamesines was inducted into the Drag Racing Hall of Fame,
and was fortunate enough to be sitting at a table with his family and
friends. It was a real hoot to have a Chivas or two with your boyhood
hero and my single favorite auto racer.
This shot of the Greek's "long car"
was taken at the 1960 or '61 World Series at Cordova Dragway.
(photo by Slatts)
This handout was made to mark the record run at
Alton, Illinois although the photo was actually taken at Oswego.
I just can't get over something, though. I hope that at sometime in
the future, NHRA, drag racing's No. 1 sanctioning body, does for Karamesines
what it's done for Bernstein and Prudhomme. The guy is such a potential
public relations bonanza, and yet NHRA, even IHRA, doesn't see it this