A DRAG RACING DOCUMENTARY
This two hour video differs from the ones we normally produce in that it is dedicated to the story of one racer namely; Kenny Vogt. Kenny grew up in the Detroit area and became exposed to the street racing scene that was taking place on the famous Woodward Avenue in the 1950's.
Kenny’s dad was a product engineer at the Ford Motor Company so Kenny was born into a car orientated family. Just prior to Kenny’s 16th birthday his dad took him to the 1960 NHRA Nationals at Detroit Dragway. Kenny had never been to an organized drag race before but was very impressed with what he saw at the event. He admitted that the drag racing bug bit him and he was looking forward to getting his first car in 1960. The car he chose was a 1957 Ford. It was just a street car but to him it was very special. Before long Kenny was taking the car to Woodward Ave and having some success racing other cars.
One day Kenny’s dad asked him if he would like to tag along while he visited Andy Hotton at his shop called Dearborn Steel Tubing Company (DST). While there, Andy said he would like to remove the old Y-Block ford engine in Kenny’s ‘57 and replace it with a 390 FE big block Ford. He did and Kenny returned to Woodward Ave with a lot more horsepower under his foot. After his success on the street Kenny made an attempt to race on the Detroit Drag Strip but it did not work out very well. It was at this point that Kenny knew he had to make the car track worthy if he was to have any success.
In the summer of 1962 Kenny had a summer job at DST and in talking with people there they decided that Kenny needed a 406 engine for the ‘57. So out came the 390 and in went the 406. It was at that time that Andy said he would like to put Dearborn Steel Tube’s name on the side of the car.
In 1963 they replaced the 406 with a 427 dual quad engine and Kenny continued to race the car. One day at Detroit Dragway Kenny beat a similar 427 1957 Ford running out of Bob Ford, Inc. As a result of that victory Mr. Paul Harvey (Bob Ford) asked if Kenny would consider putting the Bob Ford name on his car. Kenny said yes and he continued to race the ‘57 through 1964 in the Modified Production class.
In 1965 Mr. Harvey turned his 1964 Ford Thunderbolt over to Kenny and Kenny ran the car very successfully through out the season. Kenny painted the Tbolt yellow and put the Bob Ford name on the sides of the car. With the yellow paint it really stood out in the crowd. It also stood out with the many victories it earned through out 1965.
In 1966 Kenny was approached by the Lincoln Mercury Division of the Ford Motor Company and asked if he would be interested in joining the Mercury Racing Team for the season. He signed a contract and took possession of a C/Stock 390 powered ‘66 Comet. Even though it was a sweet deal Kenny was unhappy running in the lower stock class and he wanted to run in a higher stock class where he felt he could make some money. Kenny asked Mr. Fran Hernandez who was the Performance Evaluation Section Chief at the Lincoln Mercury Division if it would be OK to put a 427 in the Comet. Fran said it was alright and DST turned the Comet into a Ultra Stocker on the NASCAR drag racing circuit. Once again Kenny had a lot of success with the car and set National Records in both NASCAR and NHRA.
In 1967 Kenny decided to update the ‘67 Comet to stay competitive during the 1967 Season. In order to do that he commissioned The Logghe Chassis Company to modify the chassis on his Comet in order to accommodate installation of a SOHC 427 engine. The guy that did the work was Jay Howell who was working at Logghe at the time. Kenny knew Jay from his street racing days on Woodward Ave. They also installed a 1967 Mercury Comet fiberglass front end on Kenny’s car. Essentially the front of the car looked like a 1967 Comet while the rest of it was a 1966 model. In any event the car ran very well during the season and its biggest accomplishment was Mr. Super Eliminator runner-up honors at the 1967 Super Stock Nationals held at Cecil County Dragway.
After the SS Nationals Kenny competed at the 1967 US Nationals at Indy and was the C/FX class runner up. This would be the last race for Kenny and the Comet as he retired from drag racing at that time.
The story goes on as Kenny tells us what happened to the Comet and the transporter truck that he used to get to the races. Kenny finishes the story by sharing his personal history with us and how he never forgot his special time in drag racing.
The interview was held at Jason Owen’s race car shop in Jupiter, Fl and we also give you a look around the shop. Actually the shop is more like a museum than a garage. I am sure you will be impressed with its decor.
This video is not just a talking head variety but rather we have used a good deal of drag racing movie footage and lot of still photos to supplement the information Kenny provides. It is really amazing what Kenny saved through the years. He has the original contract papers from the Mercury Racing Team, expense vouchers, newspaper articles and a ton of photos. We used them throughout the video to help you appreciate the story.
We have also included an interview with Jay Howell. Jay is a legend in the sport of drag racing and he has been inducted into several Drag Racing Hall of Fames.
When I started this write up I told you this video is unlike videos that we normally produce but I’ll tell you this is one of the most complete and detailed story’s you will find about a young guy living the dream. Give it a try and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed even if you are a GM or Chrysler enthusiast. Get your copy today!