By Russell Hixson
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Legendary Oklahoma drag racer Rick Kirk had his place in racing history cemented in Florida when he was inducted into the Old Drag Racers Reunion Hall of Fame.
Kirk was one of nine Old Drag Racers Reunion members chosen from a list of 100 candidates Sept. 29 in Panama City.
“It was a good feeling to be recognized by a lot of good friends and peers,” Kirk said.
Kirk is a former racer who has been involved in many facets of the drag racing community since the early 1960s. He is invited to attend race events all over the country by the National Hot Rod Association. He and his cars have been featured in dozens of auto magazines.
The Ripley resident began racing in high school, traveling all over the south for races nearly every weekend from 1963 to 1972.
“I always loved drag racing,” Kirk said.
He has seen the sport change. In the 1960s and early 1970s, people would flock to tracks in Cushing, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Enid for a day of high-octane fun.
“It was more the average guy, Joe Blow, like me, going out and having a good time and doing it for themselves,” Kirk said.
Now, money and commercialization has steered the sport to be more mainstream. But this has never stopped Kirk, who still attends drag racing events all over the country.
Kirk recalled racing his 1963 Galaxie and specialized 1968 Mustang with hundreds of horsepower and the experience of zipping a quarter mile in 10 seconds.
“It’s not like a roller coaster ride,” Kirk explained. The driver is concentrating on controlling the 500-horsepower car and keeping it on the road.
Other than the thrill of racing and a love of cars, Kirk said he has met good friends in his career during his travels.
“It has been extremely good to me,” Kirk said.