The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Royalshifter, Dec 12, 2007.
Sure would like to know more about this one.
Ok folks here we have photos from the VERY FIRST Winternationals.
For the whole story:
The NHRA Winternationals, since its inception in 1961, has become one of the most significant events in the yearly drag racing calendar, coming in second only to the Nationals for its history, tradition, and significance, due in part to being the race where all of the new machinery debuts. It’s the first race of the year, and everyone starts with a perfect record and high hopes. To show its depth and tradition we have gone into the HOT ROD archives to dig up some shots of the first Winternationals in 1961, which took place in the parking lot of the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona, California. It’s the same track and location that the Winters have always been run.
Winner in A/Stock was Bill Patterson with his 1960 Impala, tuned by none other than Dyno Don Nicholson.
Mickey Thompson fielded five dragsters and several stock cars, going on to win Middle Eliminator with this injected half-a-V8 Pontiac banger, beating all comers with a 10.50 at 131 mph in the final to the B/altered of Hirshfield and Buky.
Top Eliminator honors went to Jack Chrisman and the Howard Cams Special with its plywood aerodynamics and twin-Olds power featuring new roller cams. Tuning was 16-year-old Jerry Johannson. This is Chrisman getting the trophy from NHRA President Wally Parks, with HOT ROD’s Tex Smith in the cowboy hat just to the left.
The man that would go on to start Street Rodder magazine 10 years later is Tom McMullen in the near lane in his pre-flamed Deuce roadster running in A Street Roadster against Jim Cassedy in his blown Chrysler T roadster. Cassedy would go on to win the class.
This is the Fred Stone and Leonard Woods B/Gas Willys driven by KS Pittman. This was pre-Stone Woods and Cook, but the Swindler II Gasser was a terror even back in 1961. It won B/Gas with a 126.93 mph at 11.22 seconds, which was a faster time than A/Gas!
In B/Competition, the Sorokin, Bacilek, and Pistone 1936 Willys beat out the competition, even though it broke in the final round coasting to the finish. All three principals would go on to race for years, with Mike Sorokin becoming the driver of the infamous Surfers Top Fuel team in the mid-1960s.
The Dragmaster “Two-Thing” was one of the most famous twin-engine dragsters of the age, setting an AA/Dragster speed record at the Winternationals of 174.92 mph.
Another famous name in drag racing, Joe Pisano, in his 1929 Model A coupe, getting an A/Gas class win in the Little Eliminator races.
Besides the racing action, the Winternationals Rod and Custom car show was held in the adjacent County Fair buildings at what is now called the Fairplex. Friday night kicked off the opening of the show.
NHRA racing couldn’t start the finals on Sunday without the “Canadian Indian” Bob Beazer and his “rain dance” which became a fixture at NHRA events for years.
Repeats schmeepeats! With this gigantic thread it's bound to happen. Couple of Ruth's gassers. That 38 Chevy survives and shows up at the Arlington dragstrip reunion, fellow that owns it is on the HAMB.I believe Ruth's Reality is still around. So nice to have you back Gary, great history lessons from you and the other folks who got to see this stuff. Nice tribute to your Dad. Maybe we'll run into one another at Bakersfield? I'll be the slightly overweight guy with graying hair. That should help!
Has what's left of my waning memory become even less reliable? Don't remember the twin-Olds power in this car.
LOL not sure Chuck but that article is right from Hot Rod mag
I'm sure that's what the magazine said and looks can be deceiving but I can read "C H E V R O L E T" on the valve cover and the rest of the motor looks suspiciously like a Stovebolt.
I was sorry to have missed the first Winternationals but I didn't arrive in California until June of '61. Haven't missed too many Pomona race events since then.
Before Jerry owned the 38 Chevy Coupe his brother John owned it. Before John owned it Earl Rue owned the car. If anybody has any info about any of the Rue brothers (Earl, Dean, or Quinton) it would be great.
You can see the cars history back to 1950 here:
Another Twin ID needed.
You still have good eyes Chuck I did blow it up bigger and it's says CHEVROLET bigger than life and those are SB exhaust ports too.
Thanks for posting and sharing that. Nice history.
It is amazing the good stuff you come across while getting altereds and Stocker photos. When I find good ones like this it makes the looking worthwhile.
And the Greek - at 85 years old - ran Top Fuel TODAY! He lost to Courtney Force, but what the hell, she's 57 years younger in the best car out there!
That doesn't look like it ended well
I guess you missed the caption - it says it was the track dryer!
Don't feel bad - at one of those round table type discussion with big name drag racers Force said "The only thing Snake ever taught me was how to be an Asshole" I think Don had mellowed a lot over the years, but more than a few old timers told me he could be "Difficult".
the fugitive vs the trash truck ended with the truck going through the bill boards breaking a arm. union grove wi.
Me neither, Gary, we will all be wrong some of the time...I've gotten good at it!...Keep the posts coming, great stuff!
"For Sale" - love it!
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