“Out in the pineapple patches…”

It was during my stint at Hot Rod Magazine that I occasioned to meet Jimmy Pflueger.  He was a long-time friend of the then Publisher of HRM, Ray Brock.  Among his many business activities, Jimmy owned Hawaii Raceway Park, which included a drag strip.  As a competitor in many forms of racing, Jimmy felt Hawaii needed a place away from “the mainland” where enthusiasts could go to pursue their motorsports interests.  With some frequency, he would also arrange for noted drag race teams to visit Hawaii to perform exhibition runs, giving the locals an up-close look at race cars they might not otherwise have an opportunity to see.

Largely because of his friendship with Jimmy, Ray would travel to Hawaii (actually Kalaeloa) to cover a race for publication in HRM.  Obviously, the magazine exposure was beneficial to the track, but it was also a fun trip.  It seemed like virtually everyone in Hawaii knew Jimmy, so being there with him for a short time offered a wide range of experiences.  Remember that.

One of the race teams Jimmy had decided to bring to Hawaii was the T/F dragster team of Norm Weekly, Ron Rivera, Jim Fox, and Dennis Holding, known to the drag racing community as the “Frantic Four” who, by the way, were inducted into the International Drag Racing Association’s Hall of Fame in 2008.  The story is that this name was derived from the rather hectic and “never give up” fashion that they raced.  But that’s an entirely different story.  You should know that Roland Leong, a native Hawaiian, was already becoming widely popular and successful with his T/F team and planned to be at the event.  Under the tutelage of legendary engine builder Keith Black, Roland’s team was rapidly becoming a force among leading “digger” car owners.

As it turned out, Ray was unable to make Jimmy’s annual affair and it fell my lot to make the trip instead.  I arrived on a Friday.  The race was to be held on Sunday with qualifying rounds Saturday afternoon.  That left Saturday morning open, and Jimmy was quick to find an “activity” to fill the time.