The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 4, 2013

Felker, Fast Freddy reunited in racing hall of fame

By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer

— Corky Felker, in a sense, has been reunited with Fred Tullis.

That’s appropriate since Corky was the race car owner/builder and “Fast Freddy” his long-time driver.

Tullis, from Joplin, died of a heart attack in 1994. Felker, from Neosho, also died of a heart attack several months later if the memory of Frederick Ward Tullis Jr. of Joplin is correct.

Felker, making it in the Pioneer category, will be inducted into the Ozarks Area Racers Foundation Hall of Fame on Saturday in Springfield. Tullis joined the Legends in 2006.

The 26th annual Ozarks Racers Reunion starts at 4 p.m. at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds E. Induction ceremonies will start at 7.

Tickets are $15 in advance at O’Reilly Auto Parts, Ron’s Racing Collectibles in Springfield and Greene County Damaged Freight and Food Sales. Tickets at the door are $20. There is no charge for 12-and-under.

Felker, according to a biography in the Springfield News-Leader, was one of the top race car builders and engine builders in the early years of Ozarks racing.

One of his race cars, with his trademark burgundy and gold color scheme, remains parked on old 71 about four miles north of Neosho, according to Lyndal Scranton in the News-Leader.

Felker and Tullis apparently pooled their talents for more than 20 years.

“They were together from 1964 through 1972,” Fred Tullis Jr. said with a chuckle on Thursday. “They split up but got back together and raced together for several more seasons.

“I remember that (OARF Hall of Famer) Willie Crane (of Springfield) was driving the No. 14 car for Corky in 1963,” Tullis said. “Dad took over his race car in 1964.

“I understand Corky raced briefly,” Tullis said. “He quit driving. He still loved the sport, though, and he began building race cars.

“Those times were a blast ... a lot of fun,” Tullis, 53, said. “I enjoyed it tremendously as a child. We’d pack it up as a family some of the time. There were seven of us kids. There was some traveling.”

The younger Tullis, manager for his brother John’s Home Pro in Joplin, has spent several years compiling www.dirttrackmemories.blogspot.com.

Joining Felker on Saturday in the Pioneer Division are Butch Beck, Jerry Mallonee and Chris Passantino. Beck and Passantino have Miller backgrounds. The Legends honorees consist of Freddy Fryar (who lives in Cassville), Derral Holt, Ron Gelsheimer and Bobbie Menzie.

Carl Junction’s Andrew Felker, who drives midgets, isn’t old enough to have met great-uncle Corky.

Andrew Felker, 20, is preparing for next week’s Chili Bowl in Tulsa after a solid performance in the Tulsa Shootout last week inside the QuikTrip Center at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds.

Andrew Felker was second in the Chevy ECOTec Midget main event, sixth in the winged outlaw main and eighth in the non-winged outlaw main.

Felker and his crew will arrive in Tulsa on Sunday. He will practice on Monday before the onslaught of races Tuesday through Saturday.