Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series officials presented its first Lifetime Achievement Award during its 2012 Banquet and Awards Presentation at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 2012 Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Charlie Allen, founder of the International Hot Boat Association and President of Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Arizona.
Charlie began his racing career even before he was legally able to drive on the street, campaigning a 1937 Ford coupe that he converted into a competitive F/Gasser before getting more serious in a stock Dodge in 1963. Dubbed the "All American Boy", Charlie was best remembered for his 1968 Dodge Dart Funny Car, a flip top funny car that he built with a contemporary fiberglass body shrouding a tubeular chassis. Charlie logged a best speed and ET of 199.96 mph at 7.29 seconds in 1969 in that vehicle, which was powered by a Keith Black 426 Hemi and a B&M Torqueflite 3-speed transmission.
One of the first to earn a major corporate sponsorship and an innovative force behind the deveolopment of funny cars as we see them today, the "All American Boy" raced nationwide until 1971 with a multitude of awards including setting a NHRA national speed record at 222.22 miles per hour in his "Mr. Ed" bodied Charger in 1972.
Charlie retired from racing in 1972 and turned to business as a custom home builder and manager of the Orange County International Raceway until its closing in 1983.
Charlie recalled, "I had two bodies of water fit for drag boats, so I thought I would check around and see how they were run". He attended his first drag boat race at Irvine Lake and, being dissatisfied with what he saw in the existing program, he soon formed his own organization which came to be known as the International Hot Boat Association. In its third year, the IHBA was conducting ten races on the west coast.
Feeling that safety was the single most important issue that needed to be addressed in the sport of drag boat racing, Charlie was the first to install barrier fencing to keep the spectators away from the track. A 2,000-foot fence, anchored by 5/8 steel cable was installed at Puddingstone and soon became standard procedure at all IHBA events.
Charlie was also instrumental in the concept and design of a "driver protection device", which the IHBA mandated at the beginning of the 1987 race season, and which ultimately evolved into the specially designed fully enclosed capsules that are commonly seen today.
In addition to founding the IHBA in 1983, Charlie also brought to life his dream of building one of the most diversified motorsports facilities in the world - Firebird International Raceway - and in 2012, Charlie Allen hosted the 30th Annual Napa/Lucas Oil World Finals Drag Boat Race at Firebird Raceway Lake.
Congratulations to Charlie Allen. Because of his passion, vision and years of dedication, the sport of drag boat racing is alive and well today.
For more information on the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series please call Ken Dollar at (830) 265-4790 or (951) 870-6381 or visit www.lucasoildragboats. com.
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