For fans of drag racing in Pennsylvania, Maple Grove Raceway has been a long-lived venue for action. Back in 1962, the Stauffer family who owned the adjacent park and swimming pool, decided to bring the excitement of straight-line racing to the hills south of Reading; at first a 1/5-mile, in 1964 the track was lengthened to its 1320-foot quarter-mile format. One of many drag strips in this region (York US30, Atco, Cecil County, etc. were all within a couple hours of each other), Maple Grove began hosting NHRA regional meets in the early 1970s and the NHRA Keystone Nationals was introduced back in 1985. With 2012 being the 50th year of operation, the crew led by manager Lex Dudas decided to pull out all the stops for an anniversary event on June 23rd.

First of all, as a historical event, they wanted to honor both the past and present; a Quick 32 program plus a bracket race would be part of the festivities. There would also be a special honoring of the club and people who had made the place so successful, like the Eastern Custom Car Club who had proposed the repurposing what had been a motorcycle track into a full-fledged dragstrip. There would be a car show, and there would be some big-name racecars.

So off of the west coast came the Hemi-powered Winged Express AA/FA, which had been here back 41 years ago during the last big east coast fuel altered tour. Don Prudhomme (sans car) came in as the Grand Marshall. Out of Texas was Raymond Beadle and the 1978 Blue Max Plymouth Arrow that Ronnie Young drives now. From the Midwest came Troy Martin with the 1974 Chi-Town Hustler Charger; legendary driver Frank Hawley would be strapped in it, and it would be on nitormethane for fuel. In the end, it was eight fuel funny cars, eight alcohol versions, the altered, and five jet machines. With a big crowd on hand for this one evening of magic, Maple Grove Raceway did it right...