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Anyone here race at Union Hill Raceway in the 60's?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by jpnewlin, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. jpnewlin
    Joined: Nov 19, 2010
    Posts: 196

    jpnewlin
    Member

    Union Hill Raceway is an 1/8 track that opened in Goodlettsville, TN in 1958.
    It is is now Music City Raceway and although the name has changed the history is long.
    Unfortunately stories and pictures are hard to come by it seems so i thought i would inquire here to see if there was any 60's racers lurking around. Thanks!
     
    Mark ogletree likes this.
  2. Gator
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,016

    Gator
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    I worked / raced there a little more recently than that, say 12-15 years ago.
     
  3. Tom S. in Tn.
    Joined: Jan 16, 2011
    Posts: 1,108

    Tom S. in Tn.
    Member

    You'll discover that aside from Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, there is very limited history of Mid Tn racing of any kind.
    This was the first track I ever saw that did not use a flag start and handicap car lengths down the track because it was so short, however it was not a Chrondek if I recall correctly from back in 66'/67' or so. A lot of Stock and Modified elim short track escapades there.
    I recall going there in 68' to see Ed Schartman run Henry Garcia's Camaro. Garcia had a rocker come loose and they sand bagged the race until someone could get back from Jim Reed parts downtown that stayed open until midnight, with a new pushrod and rocker.
    Ask someone tell you about Ronnie Hunter cutting down all the pine trees over in the campground about 10 to 15 feet off the ground after the little bolt fell out of the barrel valve linkage on their altered. Throttle blades completely closed and mag grounded, it still sailed straight off the big end under full power before he could grab the fuel shutoff and get the chute out, because the barrel valve let it suck nitro wide open.
    When it made the newspaper, this incident which had been preceded by other incidents in Georgia and elsewhere caused a ban on any fuel other than gasoline as well as blowers etc., for quite a while. It nearly caused the property managers to close the track entirely and return it all to camping only, but as time passed with Doug Greenfields new management, it returned to a nice facility and blown alcohol cars on occasion, but still no nitro at the point I quit in the late 70's.

    I'm looking for anyone who recalls Big Oak located between Franklin and Columbia off hwy 31. Also Dudley Oakley's Super dragstrip off I-40 west of Nashville.
    I'd also like to see some photo's of the original Riverside when it was located in the Sulpher Dell area in north downtown Nashville before it was in Pegram.
    Tom S. in Tn.
     

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  4. jpnewlin
    Joined: Nov 19, 2010
    Posts: 196

    jpnewlin
    Member

    I found this at a garage sale last week stuck in between the pages of NHRA Rulebook.
    I think most of these ended up in the trash at some point so i am glad this one survived!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
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  5. My uncle took me to the Super in the mid 60s.....my first drag strip experience :cool: I remember an orange(I think) 66-7 Chevelle with "Semi-Hemi" painted on the doors....at least that's what I think I remember:eek:--I was just a kid.
     
  6. papastoyss
    Joined: Apr 9, 2009
    Posts: 195

    papastoyss
    Member

    A little later. we raced there thru the 70s, most every Sat. nite 19 75-79. I actually got the honor of getting beat by Pappy Greenfield when I was still trying to drive the car. Ran against Dave Trimble, Floyd Maxwell,Thomas Baker,& others but really enjoyed it when we were able to put Larry Sexton on the trailer! David Midgett, Midgett &Wood L/G Fiat #2219.
     
  7. 47ragtop
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 597

    47ragtop
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    I never raced but went to the big Super Stock meets in 62 to 65. I saw Pat Gray of Huntsville in a 62 Bubble top beat Phil Bonner in the 1st 64 thunderbolt I EVER SAW. MR 4-SPEED from Memphis ran ss Plymouths and more. A great show for a 16-18 year old from the sticks. Jimmy Bridges who still races is from Nashville and was a frequent winner. Also my friend Wallace Hill from Nville ran a 57 Chevy Wagon. Great times. I went to Big Oak only 1 time. Only a hand full of cars and took forever to get from US 31 to the strip.
     
  8. OldColt
    Joined: Apr 7, 2013
    Posts: 504

    OldColt
    Member

    Union Hill was my local home dragstrip. Started going there with my brother in the late 50's. It was first owned by the Wingo family. Flag starts, hash mark handicapping, 3/16 mile distance for the slower classes, and 1/8 mile for the faster classes. Braking strip was short and downhill. They went to running 1/8 mile only around the late 60's best I remember. I saw Garlits run Pete Robinson there in Swamp rat III. Used to draw huge crowds when they had a funny car meet with those old altered wheelbase cars burning through the rosin and wheelstanding. I was there when Hunters altered ran off the end, and saw the crumpled remains in the woods at the end of a path of knocked over trees. It's a wonder he survived it. Me & my wife raced there in the 70's in a variety of stock eliminator and bracket cars. It was and still is a great little track.--- Steve ---
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  9. OldColt
    Joined: Apr 7, 2013
    Posts: 504

    OldColt
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    Yep, remember all those guys. Did you know my school buddy Ronnie Duke that ran modified eliminator with a small block Camaro, and later a tube frame small block Vega?
     
  10. BAD A
    Joined: Oct 17, 2006
    Posts: 294

    BAD A
    Member

    We raced their with several cars. in the late 60s & early 70s. the track was 3/16 mile long. as the cars got faster the track went to 1/8 mile.
     
  11. jpnewlin
    Joined: Nov 19, 2010
    Posts: 196

    jpnewlin
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    I am enjoying the recollections. Any pictures to share?
     
  12. Hud I
    Joined: Jul 19, 2008
    Posts: 151

    Hud I
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    from Tennessee

    I went there in 64-65 with some buddies. One ran a new Falcon, the other ran a Tempest. Nothing special, just a group of guys out having a good time. I remember the short track. Those were the days. Hud
     
  13. papastoyss
    Joined: Apr 9, 2009
    Posts: 195

    papastoyss
    Member

    The way I heard it Ronnie wasn't hurt in the crash but Fred Clifford ran down there & released the belts while Ronnie was hanging upside down & Ronnie nearly broke his neck falling out! I remember the night Floyd Maxwell crashed the Allied Bearings Opel GT,rolled it several times, scary but he was ok except for his pants! Another time Sexton grenaded a motor about 200 ft off the starting line, we walked the track for 30 minutes picking up pieces of engine block & pistons.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2013
  14. papastoyss
    Joined: Apr 9, 2009
    Posts: 195

    papastoyss
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    Yeah, I remember Duke, he worked for Bob Amos at Music City Rod Shop & later for Doug Nash
     
  15. OldColt
    Joined: Apr 7, 2013
    Posts: 504

    OldColt
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    Used to buy a lot of stuff at Music City Rod Shop. They machined an engine for me in the back shop once. It is now an upscale resturant. Sadly, Ronnie & Bob are no longer with us. BTW, I remember your car David. I recall that little Fiat (4cyl I think) putting a lot of guys on the trailer. --- Steve ---
     
  16. OldColt
    Joined: Apr 7, 2013
    Posts: 504

    OldColt
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    I've been following the resurrection of Gene Cromers "Moonlighter" A/G '41 Willys thread, and just had to revisit this one. There was a '40 or '41 Willys gasser that ran at Union Hill Dragstrip for several years. It's name was "PROUD REBEL" & it was driven by a guy named Sonny Elliot from my hometown of Donelson, Tn. It is my all time favorite car from that dragstrip. Anybody remember it, and maybe what ever became of it? --- Steve ---
     
  17. OldColt
    Joined: Apr 7, 2013
    Posts: 504

    OldColt
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    This thread has been quiet for over a year now. I practically lived at this track in the 60's and 70's. My wife, myself, and many of my friends raced there, and have many good memories and stories. Anyone got anything else to add?

    --- Steve ---
     
  18. Drewski
    Joined: Feb 22, 2008
    Posts: 267

    Drewski
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    I know this is an old thread, but first time I've run across it. We ran several drag bikes at Union Hill and Riverside in the mid 60's.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    At least I had a helmet on and my racing penny loafers.

    Drew
     
  19. jpnewlin
    Joined: Nov 19, 2010
    Posts: 196

    jpnewlin
    Member

    Great pictures. Thanks for sharing.
     
  20. Mike Nichols
    Joined: Apr 25, 2015
    Posts: 2

    Mike Nichols

    I used to go to the "Hill" quite often with Bobby Vaughn he ran the "Tennessee Rebel" 6 cyl corvette, every weekend. Still remember the "Pure Hell " Vega taking out the fence. Also recall an Anglia that made a hard left or hard right out of the hole every single run I saw, I don't think they ever got it to run straight. Remember The "Blue Million" dominating all the time. Remember seeing whatever the Bashams brought kicking ass. Oh yes and the night the jet cars blew down the fence behind the burnout area. Finally I remember timing my run going from the spectator seats to the pit seats. Avoiding the rubber flying from the 2 cars in the bleach box. Ah that smell was so ----EXCITING!!!! Good times, damn good times. Oh and there was usually always a good fight in the pits before the night was over.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2015
  21. OldColt
    Joined: Apr 7, 2013
    Posts: 504

    OldColt
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    I remember all those cars, but my memory is getting fuzzy after all those years. I recall Blue Million winning a lot. Was it a small block powered Camaro driven by Larry Sexton in Modified Eliminator?

    --- Steve ---
     
  22. Mike Nichols
    Joined: Apr 25, 2015
    Posts: 2

    Mike Nichols

    I believe that is correct. My memory is also fuzzy, ah the 70's .
     
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  23. alkydigger
    Joined: Dec 21, 2007
    Posts: 16

    alkydigger
    Member
    from nashville

    Ronnie was one of my best and earliest friends. He and I started Tennessee Speed Sport ( Rayco Racing Division ) on West End, in 1966 for JD Eatherly. We won C/A then B/A then AA/FA at Indy Nationals. I did not own the car, but was chief helper. Later Bill Hamilton and I built a Top Alcohol Dragster ( Pro Comp ) , and low and behold, Ronnie Showed up with one exactly the same, even the next serial # that Wayne Farr Chassis built. We Qualified 8 at the Gators, and Ronnie failed to qualify. He wouldn't listen to me when I told him he needed a 3 speed Lenco instead of a 2 Speed. :>) Anyway, I was not with him when he sailed off the end of Union Hill, but later did help a little on the KS Pittman Firebird Funny Car that he bought from Tiger Pittman. Notice in my picture left to Right back row : Mike Mueller, Mike Chilando, Ronnie Hunter, Chris ?? and Dave ??? . My friend now has the largest Marine Transport Company in the South, and he never changed regardless of how much money he made. He is ill, but I pray for him daily. MIKE CHILANDO Alkydigger Fuel Injection ( Learned from Ronnie )
     

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  24. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 2,844

    southcross2631
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    used to run at Music City when I was stationed at Ft.Campbell along with Clarksville
    and Owensboro,Ky. Partnered up with a couple of guys on a G/Gas Firebird called Wildfire.
    That was in the mid 70's. Most of the tracks ran modified eliminator. Then they ran a stock and super stock combo. Music City had a big field of bracket cars every week. Hard to find a place to park your trailer.
    Nice track though, with plenty of bite.
     
  25. Tom S. in Tn.
    Joined: Jan 16, 2011
    Posts: 1,108

    Tom S. in Tn.
    Member

    Mike; Did you know The GodFathner Fantastic Freddie Clifford and Norman Sitz, Wing Foot Wade? Bet you also remember Billy Clark.
    It hurt to hear of Ronnies illness and passing recently. Don't know a lot about family, but Ronnie leaves behind a long list of marvelous stories!
    Tom S.
     
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  26. Tom S. in Tn.
    Joined: Jan 16, 2011
    Posts: 1,108

    Tom S. in Tn.
    Member

    The way I heard it Ronnie wasn't hurt in the crash but Fred Clifford ran down there & released the belts while Ronnie was hanging upside down & Ronnie nearly broke his neck falling out!

    Sounds right!
    Seriously though, He turned several full grown Georgia pines to toothpicks and wound up over at the campground.
    The property owners publicly stated a couple weeks after this incident, that in interest of public safety they were closing the race facility and returning the property to expand the campground.
    Long story short, it never occurred but there were a few token guardrail and cinderblock wall safety developments; but the big one of them being a ban on Blowers and Nitro, both of which lasted up into the Greenfield days and late 70's when I quit. Gone were the days of F/C and AA/FA bookings and if we wanted to sniff Nitro we had to go to Bowling Green........ at least for over 15 years I'm aware of.
     
  27. 66Vintage
    Joined: Feb 27, 2017
    Posts: 2

    66Vintage
    Member

    <<< does anybody know this car ? 65 Coronet ran by. Rych Hyde and Kenneth Walker ... does anybody have any pictures or stories?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2017
  28. Chuck Craig
    Joined: Jun 11, 2016
    Posts: 244

    Chuck Craig

    I remember going to the HILL when I was stationed at Stewart AF and seeing a 64 or 65 Chevy II running a 6 cyl and it was very fast, seems he worked at Capitol Chevrolet and had two different motors for the car. Both were 6's. I also did some running in the later years at the strip out I-40 west in the quick 16 but quite due to the guys not running to their full potential (putting on the brakes to prevent a break out). Good times for the family, as we usually stopped by HOUSTON'S on west end on the way back home.
     
    Mark ogletree likes this.
  29. Mark ogletree
    Joined: Mar 11, 2017
    Posts: 5

    Mark ogletree

    One of my favorite cars was the ole traders post vega, I remember it sounded funny cause they were running mufflers to slow it down... good ole days.
     
  30. Mark ogletree
    Joined: Mar 11, 2017
    Posts: 5

    Mark ogletree

    Hey tom do you know much history on funny car fred clifford ole vega funny, how long he had it or was it ever competitive?, my brother and I helped him with it in the early 80s, thanks...
     

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