The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by frank spittle, Nov 19, 2012.
Kenneth Kincaid of Shelby N.C. was a class winner at Chester with his new '57 Dodge Royal.
This ad is from 1960, the last year the track was open. This was a year after Don Garlits was seriously injured in a nitro explosion at Chester and Art Malone was now driving for him. It was only one year later that Malone set the World's Closed Course record at Daytona in Bob Osiecki's Indy roadster.
Osiecki said he hired Art because of his fearlessness behind the wheel of a AA/FD at Chester.
This was part of the pit area at Chester. These three cars were typical of what you saw at a drag strip in the '50s. One appears to be a super rare '32 Ford cabriolet.
An unidentified Altered at Chester in 1957.
Don wasn't the only Garlits that raced a slingshot dragster at Chester. Here is his brother Ed Garlits' dragster there in the '50s.
This '57 Pontiac belonging to Carwell Stone was new when he won this trophy at Chester.
Here are a group of motorcyclist who came to the Chester Drag Strip.
A new Corvette at Chester
I had a chance to talk to Bret Kepner yesterday at the Southeast Gasser race at Greer Dragway. He has made it a goal to learn the history of every drag strip in America. He says the ITA was the sanctioning body at Greer when it opened in 1958. The Greer JCs, who originally managed the track, didn't have any experience at that and brought Bob Osiecki in to help them manage it. Bret said Osiecki made a lot of changes and things improved to the point it would become one of the best known drag strips in the south.
Frank just found this site while trying to find out what ever happened to Van Hatley, sadly he had passed last year. I really enjoyed the articles on the Chester drag strip even though it was a little before my time. Some of my older friends had raced there in the late 50's. I actually remember you from the old shuffle town days and would go there most Sundays. Used to go to Shelby drag strip on Friday nights and saw Van Hatley run there. That was one bad ass 55 chevy. Sunday afternoon shuffle town Saturday night Concord if my memory serves me. Just wandering if you remember when they had the drag races at Charlotte motor speedway on the back straightaway in 1964? That was when Chrysler had the hemi cars and Ford had the Thunderbolt. I don't think they had it but one time on the back straightaway (1/8) mile. I was there and I remember a guy in a Sportster going around the barriers and taking it for a high speed run around the track. Rumor was that it was you is that true?
That was probably me. I ran this bike there back in '68 on the back stretch. I remember it being slightly slanted and sliding sideways when the tire was spinning. It was the last time the back stretch was used. They used pit road until it closed. This picture was taken at Shuffletown in '69. By then I was running high gear only with 70% nitro.
I went to Van Hatley's funeral last year or maybe 2013. Saw a lot of old friends. He was the most dominate racer in that almost unbeatible '55 Chevy. He ran it at Chester too.
Frank: I went to Henderson NC last Oct. hoping to see your Harley but if it was there I never found it or you. Now I spent three days there and still did not see it all so if I missed you I am sorry.
I was there with the twin engine Harley but down close to the end of the street where the T/F dragsters/tow rigs were. Sorry I missed you.
I will pass this on to Dick, He resides at Oak Island, NC where I get to see and talk to him. I'll ask him if he'd like to get involved on here...Tim
I had an old farts get-together today with two former Chester Drag Strip employees. I will start posting more info I hope you find interesting. The first is Bob Osiecki manufactured his own timing equipment and offered to rent or sell it to the hundreds of new drag strips springing up across the country in the late '50s at a lesser cost than Crondek or Fosdick. Osiecki employee Jerry Hall installed it and said it was almost indestructible moving it from track to track for those who rented it.
thanksfor all the good info never realized charlotte area had that many dragstrips,its a shame they all went away.
Hope this breathes new life in this thread.
Some were I have a pic of a pair of afx cars running at Charlotte. There is a flat bed truck in the background with two guys sitting at a table on the bed. I was told that was the the portable announcers booth or starter's area. Any truth to this?
It was most likely on the backstretch at Charlotte Motor Speedway and they did have portable announcer's booth. Later in the '60s they moved the drag races to pit road which was flat, not like the slight elevation of the backstretch. Both were 1/8th mile races. Chester had been closed for years by then.
I just logged in a read all 169 post on this thread. Im only 24 and im not from chester or surrounding, but g*****nit i want to hear as much as i can Frank!
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