It was just the late 1960’s when two, friends Dick Clark and John Jillet thought it would be fun to take their corvettes to a 1/8 mile drag strip in Norwood. No one knew that 49 years later the quiet bashful, highly innovative Dick Clark would still be competing and winning.
Dick has avoided the limelight his entire racing career choosing to be the man behind the machine. In fact, it was only last year that John Jillet tricked Dick into getting his picture taken in the winner’s circle when they told Dick that he was needed in Tech, and ended up driving him in the golf cart into the Winner’s Circle picture with one of his current drivers Eric Cabral.
One car that did bring Dick attention was his Orange L88 Corvette. Rumor has it that it was the first Chevrolet to use a 9” Ford rear end. That same Corvette running in Formula AX not only outran all the Fords and Hemis but also outran Pro Stocks of the time by running 9.29 when a Pro Stock ran 9.37.
One day Dick was at Jim Reid’s shop and a guy name Jenkins’s showed up with a Vega and some strange suspension set up. Dick thought it was interesting and decided to build it for his friend John before trying it himself. The next thing you know Dick’s ‘Vette had what would become known as the four-link suspension system, and he was off terrorizing the top stock and modified eliminator ranks for years.
Dick’s innovation includes other items such as billet shifters, making titanium screws and bolts before they were available to lighten cars, and a little item called a cable bullet now marketed by Biondo Racing products to help prevent threaded cable ends from breaking. Dick continues today to race with a team of three cars; two Top Sportsman Cars competing here this weekend, and a new Top Dragster.
Even with all the Track championships that Dick was a part of, his friends describe him as the most intelligent person they know, on just about any subject, and in spite of his unbelievable ability to innovate and create he is not a gadget person and even today he probably still does not own a cell phone, further proof of just how intelligent he is.
It is with great pleasure and admiration the Orientals Hot Rod Club presents Dick Clark with this plaque recognizing his Induction into the New England Hot Rod Hall of Fame.