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Click for more info. - East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame

October 21, 2008. Not believing the day was here, I stood before an audience of hundreds to speak. I had much to say, but my words wouldn’t come. Only tears. Tears because I did not want to be standing on this stage. I wanted my father to be standing on the stage. It was his honor day. How unfair life seems.

I remember watching a movie with my Dad, a documentary about someone’s life. We sat there in awe of all this person had done. And sadly they never got to see the accolades... they died before the glory came to light. Dad shook his head in sorrow for the lost opportunity. Then puffed up proud for the fact that it did come to light.

Ironically here I was, standing in for my Dad, who passed away almost six years ago.

I stood with his friends of many years, his partners, his cohorts to adventure. I felt the ‘mouse’ amongst men.... but it is here I had to be.

It was my time to speak my words and all I could do - sentimental female that I am - was cry.

~ Nancy

My acceptance speech for Dad

It is hard to believe this day is finally here.

I was asked to accept this award on behalf of my father. I do this with great honor.

Sadly he has been gone for almost six years now... it is still mind numbing to think about.

First, I want to make sure you know his real name... Charles Fred Hagenmayer. To me, Dad.

Dodge’ was a nickname given to him by his friends Mike Sforza and Otto Qualliotine back in the early days.  It had to do with the engines he ran.

I have been listening with great pleasure to many stories from many people - simple stories... gripping stories... crazy stories... All relay in one form or another - adding to my own existing memories - the essence of a man that was, himself, driven.

This man, my dad... Charlie... was self taught and not afraid to take risks or try new approaches. He was creative and innovative, and had the skills to follow through with his ideas. Putting a tool in his hands was like handing him a magic wand. He had a great eye for detail... and was touted as a true artist.

He was passionate on many levels. He was exhilarating and infuriating all at once... strong minded and demanding - many times to the aggravation of others.

One of my fathers motto's was "Don’t tell me you can’t do it - tell me how you’re gonna do it!"

..which by the way, I was reminded of by my dads good friend Jamie. Perfect timing, it helped me get on this stage...

My dad was such a pivotal man, not only to my life, but to so many others.

I think the best words used to describe him so far... was that ‘he was a man of extremes.’

I want to further share something that was written for my dad after he passed. Andy Schwartz worked at Pacer’s one summer - only one. From those few months a life long bond was formed. That is the type of man Charlie was... it prompted Andy to write these words.

In Memory

The emptiness left by the passing of a man draws the thoughts and reflections of those who shared his times. There is felt a need to sum up, and put in perspective, who and what he was. To explain, and to comprehend the depth of our sorrow, and the wretched ache and fear of parting.

For the loss of Charlie Dodge, a daunting task.

I knew Charlie for half his life. Boss, mentor, counselor, close friend, disciplinarian. I know no man who so profoundly affected me. My patterns of thought, my approach to life’s tasks, problems, challenges, and rewards are his. The things I learned to value: a devotion to craftsmanship, uncompromising attention to detail, a clear duty to complete the job at hand, to experiment with new fields, and master them. All from Charlie. I’ve spent so much of myself trying to gain his approval, to please him, to make him proud. To be, in what small capacity I could: him. How rare are men that inspire such goals?

The simple platitudes usually uttered at a loved one’s passing are woefully inadequate for Charlie, for his influence was so very much beyond simple poetic phrases. In truth, he lives because we live. Because so many of those whose lives he touched tried so much to become like him. And in so doing, perpetuate and live by what were his strengths and his loves. Imitation is our ultimate testament.

If wealth be measured by the number of devoted friends and loving family a man leaves, Charlie was rich indeed. It leaves ourselves and our world so much the poorer for his passing.

We would all like to leave this earth knowing we made a mark... or had a memorable impact.

As I am sure you can understand, this day is bitter sweet. We all wish it was my dad standing here accepting this award. I’m sure he is watching- that is, of course, if he is not too busy revamping the golden gates...

Dad was comfortable knowing his accomplishments... There is great solace in that, especially today.

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I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to Thanking people...

I, along with my family, am grateful to Nancy Wilson and the East Coast Hall of Fame for this wonderful event. To the resurrection of the Taz II. To the many friends that have stepped forward & taken the time to tell their stories. To loved ones that gave support... and to all of YOU for being here and helping to honor my father in this manner.

Thank You!

Kenny, Otto, Lisa, Barbara, Nancy & George

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Can you believe this crowd?!!

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