Drag Racing Action Editor John DiBartolomeo Tribute at EMMR
Drag Racing Action Online
Images: Mashie Mihalko and Phil Hutchison
On Saturday December 2, longtime racer, speed parts entrepreneur, and writer John DiBartolomeo was recognized for his contributions to the sport of drag racing. The event, held at the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing outside of Gettysburg PA in York Springs. was attended by racers, friends, and family. John who passed away in May of 2022 from Pancreatic cancer, touched so many lives with his friendship, love, and ability to jump in and help a racer in need.
n addition to the tribute, the DiBartolomeo family donated several of John’s NHRA Wallys along with one of the famous ice cream scoop trophy given to winners at the NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Norwalk Dragway in Ohio. A race that DiBartolomeo won a record three times during his career.
Friends such as Racers for Christ Chaplin Tom Brown, Drag Racing List publisher Bill Pratt, photojournalists Mashie Mihalko and Phil Hutchison, John’s brother Frank and long time friend Paul Spencer were on hand to talk about John’s impact on the racing community and their lives.
But it was Beaver Bob McCardle, former owner and manager of Beaver Springs Dragway that got the biggest rise in the crowd.
DiBartolomeo, who with his wife Dottie, son Franklin, and daughter Christina, moved from New Jersey to Beaver Springs PA in 2002. Their house and shop were adjacent to BSD. It didn’t take long for Bob and John to become friends with DiBartolomeo using the track for photo shoots to be used in the numerous magazines he wrote for at the time.
The one and only “Beaver” Bob McCardle
McCardle reminisces, “We had a Test and Tune at the track one weekend and one of the guys there testing told me he had the fastest car at the track that day. The car was all tricked out and for a streetcar, could run in the 9 second range. He went as far to say he would bet $100 that he could beat any car on the property.
McCardle continued, “I called John and told him about the boast and a little while later, John, who lived down the street, drove his Super Comp dragster through the gates and I told the guy with the street car that John wanted to race him for the cash. Needless to say, John made an easy buck.”
Christina DiBartolomeo stands next to her dad’s trophy case in the EMMR library
Dottie DiBartolomeo said, “Having John be the first inductee into the journalism section of the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing was very humbling and an honor. John wore many hats during his career and worked diligently to become proficient in every one of them. As a family, we are so very proud for him to be recognized for those efforts.”
“As much as I don’t always know the right words to say,” John’s daughter Christina said. “it’s very humbling to hear all the lives the my dad has impacted and the relentlessness of his work throughout the years. I am and will be forever thankful for those memories that we can cherish forever.”
John’s son Franklin adds, “It never ceases to amaze me how many people he was able to touch throughout his career. It is always wonderful to hear the stories others have of him and know that so many remember him fondly.”
EMMR Executive Director Alison Kreitzer and Franklin DiBartolomeo show off the newest addition to the library.
NHRA legends 1989 NHRA Funny Car World champ Bruce Larson and 22 time NHRA national event winner Mike Dunn
Also scheduled for the event was a round table discussion with Top Fuel pioneer Alison Lee from the Jim and Allision Lee “Great Expectations” Top Fueler that raced out of The Plains VA for decades. Both Jim and Alison were inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 1995 and Alison was famous for turning the wrenches on the record setting dragster. Unfortunately, Alison was having health issues and could not attend. Funny Car and Top Fuel stars Bruce Larson and Mike Dunn were on hand for the discussion and gave the crowd a great NHRA drag racing history lesson with their stories of past victories and participating in both Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car.
For more images from the tribute, go to: