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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 way.


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