MOUNT VERNON — Friends and family of Richard “Dick” Rudrick gathered Wednesday afternoon to say good-bye and “Godspeed” to the local racing legend.
Rudrick was a standard at Pacemakers Dragway Park since its opening in 1956. He was well-known for his ’64 Plymouth Barracuda at the track. He also regularly helped with the upkeep and mowing at the track during his retirement.
“For those who didn’t know Dick, he’s been out here for probably 50 plus years in that same car,” said Pacemakers owner Rod Zolman. “He’s just been kind of a standard bearer out here that you knew when you came to Pacemakers track you were going to see Dick Rudrick and that Barracuda.”
Rudrick held off on getting a racing car because he wanted to put his family first financially, but in 1972 his dream of racing was realized.
In a 2006 interview Rudrick told the News that he hadn’t missed a week of racing since he first got his “Cuda” in ’72.
The love of racing spread through Rudrick’s family, especially in the case of his two sons. It was only fitting that on the day his loved ones said goodbye Rudrick was given his final passes down the track. Each of his sons took a turn driving him Wednesday, one on each lane.
“He was really a special person for everybody,” said Zolman. “For him to be the first one down the track in 2018 and make that final pass, it was a special thing.”