Bowling Green’s Don Enriquez is among the Class of 2020 inductees for the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame announced Wednesday by the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, home of the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
Enriquez has long been under the radar when considering racers who were dominant at one point or another of drag racing history. His racing career has been linked with his friend and fellow Hall of Famer, Gene Adams in the late 1960s-early 1970s in what was collectively known as “Junior Fuel Dragsters.”
This classification embraced four front-engined dragster classes, based on engine size, which used nitromethane fuel, but used naturally-aspirated fuel injected engines. The pair terrorized the class in Southern California, and later across the country. Born and raised in Santa Monica, Calif., Enriquez followed his father’s career and worked at Hilborn Fuel Injection Technologies (where he met Adams) – first as a machinist and later in the sales department. The Adams & Enriquez dragster was powered by a Hilborn-injected, cast-iron Desoto Hemi 305 engine, which delivered a multitude of wins and Class Eliminator championships at the famed Lions Drag Strip in Long Beach, Calif., along with the many other drag strips which dotted the Southern California landscape of the period.
Enriquez raced with Adams for 33 years – moving on from the injected front engined dragsters, to nitro-fueled injected Funny Cars and later moved into the emerging nostalgia drag racing cars in the 1980s. Most recently, Enriquez has competed in the NHRA Heritage series at the wheel of Bob McKray’s C/Fuel dragster which has been a multi-season champion in the Junior Fuel Eliminator for over two decades.
Enriquez remains a part of the Hilborn operations, which was recently purchased by Holley Performance Products and moved to Holley’s headquarters in Bowling Green. Enriquez is overseeing integration of the Hilborn product line, and imparting over 50 years of mechanical fuel injection experience into the Holley line.
The induction dinner and ceremony will take place on March 12 in Gainesville, Fla., at the Wyndham Garden Hotel Gainesville.
The inductees for 2020 are (in alphabetical order): Robert (“Bones”) Balogh (Long Beach, Calif.), Lee Beard (Pueblo/Silverthorne, Colo.), Don Enriquez (Mission Viejo, Calif./Bowling Green), Roy Hill (Sophia, N.C.), Billy Meyer (Waco, Tex.) and Larry Minor (Hemet, Calif.).