Eddie remains the only person in the world to win a yearly Drag Racing Championship on both land and water. Starting with a win on his self-modified Cushman scooter in 1949 to his win in 2014 in an Ariel Atom, Eddie has now won motorsports trophies in eight consecutive decades! Voted in 1999 as one of the most popular drivers in the history of motorsports, Eddie Hill garnered the first championship of his life when he captured the 1947 Tri-State Flat Track Motor Scooter title in Shreveport, Louisiana. A few years later he moved on to dragsters and won the first drag racing event he entered with a Top Eliminator car he built himself and drove to and from the track. Hill won the class with a pass of 106 MPH (1955 – Karnack, Texas) at age 19. Eddie built his own chassis and a few for other customs in his early years of drag racing.
His move to the professional ranks of the fledgling National Hot Rod Association circuit was inevitable, and young Hill moved up to the pro ranks when he lined up and raced against Jack Chrisman’s “Sidewinder” in 1959 at a racetrack in Inyokern, California.
Since that date with destiny, Hill has done it all in the world of drag racing, both on land and in the water. He is credited with:
1. Introducing small profile front tires on dragster (1958).
2. Introducing front wing on dragster.
3. Introducing charcoal-filled breathing masks for safety (1959).
4. Inventing the tire-smoking burnout (1960), which is standard practice on all top fuel cars today.
The record books show Hill to be the first driver to cover a quarter mile in less than five seconds, a feat he accomplished with a 4.990-second pass on April 9, 1988, in Ennis, Texas. This car is currently on display at Eddie Hill's Fun Cycles. He was also first to break the 200 MPH barrier in a gas-powered car when he attained a speed of 202.07 MPH in Hobbs, New Mexico in 1962.
What Are Eddie and Ercie Doing Now?
During their retirement from NHRA drag racing at the end of the 1999 racing season, the Hills had time to pursue hobbies for which there was no time while they were on the road during their drag racing career.
Eddie took up airplane flying lessons and made a solo flight from Waco, Texas, to Wichita Falls.
Eddie is also bitten by the radio-controlled aircraft bug. He has over 40 nitro, methanol and gas-burning aircraft, some with wingspans of over 11 feet, as well as 6 radio-controlled helicopters. He likes to perform aerial shows to classical music, and has put on shows for local groups, always assisted by Ercie.
Ercie took up her college career at Midwestern State University, where she logged 43 additional credit hours with a 4.0 grade point average, majoring in English. Her favorite courses were Biblical history and astronomy.
The Hills purchased a 500 acre horse and cattle ranch on the outskirts of town, where Ercie raises Tennessee Walking Horses and cattle. Eddie set a new record for being 68 years old before he got bucked off the first time (while attempting to ride an unbroken horse bareback). He broke a few ribs in the process.
Eddie and Ercie have a great love for animals. They have two dachshunds (HotRod and Lady), a blue heeler named Angel and a yellow lab named Nitro, a munchkin house cat (Lola), numerous barn cats, and eight horses, three donkeys and fifty head of registered cattle.
The couple faithfully attend the Cowboy Church of Henrietta, Texas, and attribute all of their successes in life to the Lord.
Kit Car Builder magazine, Feb 2013, pages 52 through 54, covers the 25th annual Run'N'Gun event, held this time at Hallett Motor Raceway just west of Tulsa, Oklahoma. I entered this event with my 2012 Ariel Atom 3 demonstrator/company car, and was blessed with winning four first place trophies. The trophies were for Time Trials, Road course, Autocross, and a larger one that says Overall Champion. The Autocross was held on the third and last day of the event and was huge fun for me. I had never even seen an Autocross before, let alone driven one, but the Atom's acceleration, braking, and handling, (not to mention being able to see the cones better) more than made up for my lack of experience, and we had Fast Time of the Day. My Atom 3 is stock except for the track wheels and tires (and I take the fenders off when I run the track tires), and an unmuffled pipe in place of the stock muffler. There were some very expensive cars there, and all the other cars had V-eights, some with over 500hp. The Atom required nothing more than adding some pump gas. I do check tire pressures and lug nuts, but no air needed adding, and lug nuts did not move. To go to a prestigious national event like this and have "the fastest thing on the track" (their words, not mine), and be able to relax and drink Dr. Pepper between sessions instead of having to work on my car, was really satisfying to me, especially so after all the work required on on my previous top fuel gee-generators. I was afraid I'd be terminally bored when my top fuel days were over, but the Ariel Atoms have saved my life. Anyway, huge fun, and one of the very few regrets in my life so far is that I should have discovered road racing sooner. Cheers, Eddie.