Saturday, October 1, 2016

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #312

ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF TRACK AT DRAG LODGE DIES
Joe Perugino (Photo: Times Leader)
Our good friend Charlie Hulsizer sent us this appreciation and remembrance of the late Joe Perugino Senior who passed away this week. Perugino was one of the people who helped form the famous Pocono Drag Lodge of which WARM Radio was a major part of in the 1960s. Here is his remembrance.
Joe Perugino and his Brother Jimmy, and his father came up with the Idea of building a Drag Strip in NEPA after the successful Drag Racing Activities at Forty Fort Airport in the late 50's. They were also concerned with the Unsafe street racing that was taking place in the Valley. The family Purchased 300 acres in Bear Creek, and construction was started in 1961. 
The track was officially opened in 1963 and ran until 1971. Due to the Visit of Agnes in 1972, the track never reopened. It was a true family affair--everyone in the Family participated in the running of the track, including Joe's sisters. The Timing system was built and designed by Joe's Brother in law. Even the track Announcer. "Mondo" Mirin, brought his daughters Annie and Carol to the track on race day. The Blacktop was put down by the Legendary Addy Asphalt company. Most Construction work was done by the Perugino Family Construction Company. And Mrs. Victoria Perugino, Joe and Jimmy’s mom, always had a full traditional Italian Feast after the races.
In order to keep the racing off the streets the Lodge held the Popular Wednesday night Grudge races. For $2 you could come up and have at it with anyone you wanted, even if you just wanted to " Test and Tune:" your race car for the upcoming Sunday races. Whether you were a professional racer on a strict schedule. or a Hobbyist, you could truly "Run Whatcha Brung" at the Lodge. Many a family Car had the hubcaps peeled off for a race!!!. 
The Pocono Drag Lodge ran for eight seasons, I was fortunate to be able to run eight yearly reunions, Including a great 50 year anniversary Reunion in 2012. You ask how the Name Pocono Drag Lodge came to be? Joe came up with the name, and the 3 founders envisioned a full service Racing Resort that would feature a Nascar track, other motorsports tracks and Hotels on site. The track remains today as a monument to the Glory Days of Pocono Drag Lodge.

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