Rockingham Raceway Park announces the first appearance of the East Coast Flathead Ford Racing Series at the local motorsports complex’s “Little Rock” half-mile track.
The East Coast Flathead Fords Racing Series will bring their unique brand of stock car racing under the new lights at Rockingham, Saturday, July 24 for a demonstration of how racing got started.
Fans are invited to attend all the Firecracker Challenge races. Public admission is only $5. Concessions are available in the viewing area. Competitor gates open at 2:30 p.m., with practice scheduled for 3:30 p.m. The 25-lap race goes under the green flag at 5:45 p.m.
The first Saturday Firecracker Challenge race is set for this Saturday, July 10, with more races scheduled for July 31 and August 7 and 14.
With cars ranging back to 1937 coupes, all the cars come with the famed Ford ‘flathead’ V-8 providing power, just as they did in the formative days of racing from the years surrounding the Second World War. Both Modified and Sportsman cars compete, with only safety features separating today’s racers from those of sixty and more years ago.
Most of the cars are older than their drivers, though a few drivers actually raced in the 60s and 70s. Johnny Johnson, the champion of the Modified Division in the Ford Flatheads, ran ‘55 and ‘56 Fords and Chevrolets in the Hobby division at the famed Bowman Gray Stadium. The Hobby class later became the Limited Sportsman cars. Johnson also has five victories at the old Raleigh Speedway and has a combined 39 victories at Bowman Gray Stadium and was the 1984 champion of the famous ‘Madhouse’ Modifieds. The 70-year-old driver is now in the seat of the No. 99 Ford Flathead.
Ronda Smith-McKnight has 20 years of racing under her seat belts. Ronda was the first female to win a feature race at Caraway Speedway and has a total of 14 race wins in her career.
She is also the only female to win a race with the East Coast Flatheads. She occupies the seat of a replica car of Bobby Myers’ famous 6A car.
A unique thing about Ronda is that she and her father race together in the same events.
Her father Clayton Smith was her mechanic and car builder early in her racing career before finding himself in a Flathead that is an actual racecar from the 50s found in Basset, VA. and rebuilt. The car’s original driver is unknown.
John Barrow runs the No. 55 Sportsman division car. He was the 1993 Rookie of the Year in the Street Stock division at Bowman Gray Stadium and then went on to drive in the Madhouse Modified division.
His biggest claim to fame is that his car holds the land speed record for Ford Flatheads at 123.827 mph, beating a 10-year-old record.
Jim Brock is a former Late model Sportsman driver and northern dirt racer who now pilots the No. 00 in the Modified division of the Ford Flatheads.
Kenneth Tuttle is the series’ Sportsman champion and competes in a replica of the famous No. 4 driven in the 50s by Billy Myers. He also had many wins with the East Coast Flathead Fords.
Many other drivers compete with these famed drivers who may not have as much seat time, but the East Coast Flathead Ford Racing Association welcomes anyone with the love for vintage cars and vintage racing.