MOHNTON, Pa. -
He's won here at least twice in his legendary War Eagle, taking the Jungle Jim Memorial in 1980 and the Budweiser Super Stock Nationals in 1982. A regular at The Grove in the 1970s and 80s, Pulde continued competing here well after it was added to the NHRA Nationals schedule in 1985.
"Every time I went to Maple Grove, it was a great memory," said Pulde, who did a phone interview while en route to an event in Denver. "I had great luck at the Super Stock Nationals when I won in my Miller car and the race was sponsored by Budweiser."
When he secured the Miller sponsorship in the 1980s, it was the beginning of the famous "Beer Wars" as he took on fellow Funny Car competitor Kenny Bernstein and his Bud-sponsored car.
He also got into a burnout contest with Bernstein during one encounter at The Grove as both drivers smoked the tires and annoyed NHRA starter Buster Couch.
"Buster stepped back and let it happen," Pulde said. "We smoked the tires, we were able to recover and Kenny couldn't.
"Maple Grove has always been a good track and a nice place to go."
Pulde hasn't been back since 1999 when he was working with Scotty Cannon's Funny Car. That will change on June 23, as Pulde and the War Eagle will return for the 50th Anniversary Spectacular to take part in the Auto-Plus Cavalcade of Funny Cars.
He will also be inducted into the Maple Grove Raceway Walk of Fame with Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, Raymond Beadle, Frank Hawley and the former Eastern Custom Car Association.
The Spectacular will feature a day of racing and nostalgia including the Auto-Plus Cavalcade of Funny Cars, featuring eight nitro- and eight alcohol-powered competitors, and a car show and cruise.
The spectator box office will open at noon with prerace ceremonies at 6 p.m.. and the main event at 7. Tickets, which will be available at the gate, are $30 for adults; $10 for teens ages 13-15; and free for children 12 and under with a paid adult.
Pulde, who is based in California these days, said he is looking forward for the return trip to see Maple Grove's tree-lined track. He remembers going there in his younger days and watching racers like the late "Dodger" Glenn.
"I always loved the atmosphere around it," Pulde said, "the way it sits with all the trees. I've had years of good racing there."
The win in '82 was especially sweet.
"It was a hot, miserable, son of a gun," Pulde said. "We worked out butts off. The car was eating parts like candy."
He's also relishing the chance to show his stuff once again to an East Coast audience and is tickled to receive an invite to Maple Grove's golden anniversary.
"I'm honored," Pulde said. "My guys that are with me running the car have never been there. It's totally different than California; the fans are more into it.
"It will be a fun race."
For more information, contact Maple Grove Raceway at (610) 856-9210 or visit www.maplegroveraceway.com.