Wally Booth

Like most of the other competitors in the sport, Wally got his start in his teenage years but his most visible years were when he headed up the entrance into the sport by American Motors (AMC). He was making a name for himself with his Booth-Arons Chevrolet Camaro Pro Stock Car but when he got the call from AMC he saw the opportunity it offered for both factory backing and a highly visible effort.

When Wally began the project there was nothing in the way of performance parts that would apply to Pro Stock Racing and the Gremlins were very un-aerodynamically designed.  Fortunately AMC did produce some special blocks and cylinder heads for Trans-Am and Nascar.  Wally and his people built the first AMC Gremlin and the second Gremlin was built by Ron Fornier formerly of Penske Racing. The Hornet was built by Tom Smith and debuted at the NHRA Spring Nationals in 1973.

The Gainesville, FL Gatornationals in 1974 gave Wally his first national event win and actually saved the AMC drag racing program. After that Wally became a part of history when he qualified the AMC number one at the 1975 NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, IN and followed up by defeating fellow AMC Pro Stock competitor Dave Kanners in the final round at the 1976 NHRA World Finals at Ontario, CA. In addition to his 1974 Gatornationals and the 1976 World Finals wins, Wally’s overall performance netted him a total of five NHRA national event wins that also included the 1976 Springnationals in Columbus, OH, the 1976 U.S Nationals in Indianapolis, IN and the 1976 Fallnationals at Seattle, WA. Other prominent wins included the 1976 AHRA Dragnationals in Kansas City, KS, the 1975 Popular Hot Rod Nationals in Martin, MI, the IHRA 1975 U.S. Open Nationals in Rockingham, NC and the 1975 IHRA Winston All American in Bristol, TN. Wally fielded the only AMC race car to ever win in NHRA’s Pro Stock class and in 1976, Super Stock & Drag Magazine wrote “In the finest drag racing tradition, Wally Booth transformed the unheralded AMC into Pro Stock’s most formidable machine”.   

Wally continued to successfully campaign the AMC’s through 1979 when he chose to retire from driving and devote all of his time to his engine building business.