Many people knew Tom Howell as an artist.
He would thoughtfully create and execute unbelievable works of art on cars, boats, and signs. What people didn’t see was this reserved man with an uncanny ability to understand and manipulate information that would result in an extraordinary performance. Tom’s passion for motorsports has provided him many opportunities over the years. From driving tractor-trailer loads of M&H tires across the states to being recruited for a specialized project in Afghanistan, when his talents were realized by a racer he was helping. In fact, at a welcome home gathering, a ranking military official flew up to Boston, just to thank Tom for his service and efforts that literally saved a strategic program for the US Armed Forces.
It is this special talent that Tom has to look at and analyze data that has earned Tom a place in the New England Hot Rod Hall of Fame. Over the years Tom has worked on many teams and types of vehicles including the Mr. Boston Top Fuel dragster, the John Carey Top Fuel dragster, off-shore powerboats, Super Modifieds, known as the top fuelers of circle track, pro-comp dragsters, the Blue Chip IHRA Funny Car, and most recently as the tuner for the Follow A Dream NHRA Top Alcohol Funny car.
I recall the first test session of the Follow A Dream Funny Car on a Saturday at Englishtown, NJ. Tom and the team had worked to assemble the car on Cape Cod. Tom in his quiet methodical manner had researched, studied, and commented how he never worked with a screw blower, and really didn’t know about them but he would try. Well after the team was done that day a gentleman named Frank Manzo came by the track to see what was going on and asked if the team had got the car down the track, and the response was yes, we ran 5.73, Frank challenged the statement thinking the team was kidding, but no they were serious and Frank complimented them because Tom had made the car run within a ten of a second of the national record held by Frank Manzo.
Tom used that talent and earned himself and his team six number 1 qualifiers awards, 10 NHRA Regional victories, four NHRA National Event Victories, five NHRA Top Ten National Championship points’ finishes, and an NHRA Division 1 Championship.
It is with great pleasure and admiration the Orientals Hot Rod Club presents Tom Howell with this plaque recognizing his Induction into the New England Hot Rod Hall of Fame.