The Road Kings of Burbank have a long history of racing. From the nationally famous drag racers like Don Prudhomme, Tommy Ivo and Ken Safford, to the local racers. They have raced almost every kind of vehicle on every kind of surface throughout the country, whether it be asphalt, salt or water, in a straight line or on the circle tracks. The classes and vehicles these Road Kings drove in represent a cross section of racing in all of its’ diverse forms.
The racing history of the Road Kings begins with the formation of the club itself. The club began in 1952. “T.V.” Tommy Ivo started racing his “type car” that year. Ivo became the first true professional racer. Going from town to town (between his movie roles), racing throughout the country. Also that year, Richard Johnson campaigned at the local tracks. Ralph Marshall rode a Vincent Rapide in the gas motorcycle class in 1952-53. Bob Sagesar competed in a gas coupe with a blown flathead in the early ’50s as well. By then, Bill King had already been running on the salt, starting back in 1946.
Later in the 1950s, Don Prudhomme started his career in the gasser wars. Don then stepped up to the fuelies and the national spotlight. Ken Safford started the same year as Prudhomme driving gas coupes, fuel dragsters and funny cars. All told, there were 36 Road Kings racing in the 1950s.
In the 1960s the variety of machines and classes followed the trends being set throughout the country. George Sakora ran a Crosley gas dragster, while Owen Engle and Denny Cross raced their 4 cylinder machine. Later members like Nick Sfetku, Joel Embick. Ed Drugmond, Bill Loven and Frank Ney piloted drag boats.
Many still race today, like Bob Muravez, who recently began driving the Western Hoist top fuel dragster in the Nostalgia Races. In his 3rd race Bob won at Las Vegas.
The list today contains many names from the same family, again mimicking the national trend. The Salvatores, Pucios, Giannoupolis, and Daltons families all have multiple members racing today.
To look at the list of Road Kings and the wide variety of vehicles driven is to look at the sport of racing and see its’ history.
Here is the complete racing history of the Road Kings: