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History Ellensburg Drags c1960

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Rehpotsirhcj, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. Ran across this on the tube. Early 60's drags in my (little) hometown...very traditional, and very cool. I wish we could do something like this today.

    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
    Ranchero59 and Ricco39ford like this.
  2. HOLEY NAILHEADS!!! BATMAN! Is that Ivo's four engine/future" wagonmaster"? at the 2 minute mark????????
  3. cool as hell, aint it?
    l love the narration too. A few of the names have been around the valley for some time.
  4. Papa Tom
    Joined: Jan 27, 2010
    Posts: 94

    Papa Tom

    very very cool enjoyed it

  5. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 5,884

    from Oregon

    Wow! Now that's a great piece of NW racing history! Very cool to see the video of the old airport drags!
  6. Lytles Garage
    Joined: May 6, 2011
    Posts: 620

    Lytles Garage

    I spent many weekends down at Ellensburg, I even was the "Judge" down at the big end, no timeing equipment, just my eyes!! sometimes you had to Guess who won ?? got some of the WORST cussing outs and DEATH threats ever!! learned a lot of new cuss words. some of them guys back then didn't like loosing. Chris
  7. Great video, thanks!
  8. That's really something Chris. I'll bet it was a blast..maybe not so much
    if you were making close calls. I'm sure no money was changing hands :rolleyes:

    I've driven out there, and eyeballed it from Google maps, but I cant seem to confirm which strip these took place on. Was it on what is the primary runway today, one of the old army strips, or?
    Lots of changes out there in the last 50 years.
    Joined: Mar 7, 2012
    Posts: 21


    Thanks for memories. Spent alot of time there running in the stock classes with Dick Stuber, Bob Neely. Khyle
  10. Used to go in the 60s, early 70s. Had to drive across a small creek to get in. The Blue Max FC ran one week-end. Leased out to cattle now and the local RC flyers.
  11. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 5,151

    Marty Strode

    Thanks for posting this, a real time capsule! Bob Beckner with the gold dragster was from Albany, Oregon, Bernie Wanacamper (sp) was mentioned, Bernie became the crew chief for Ed McCulloch's Revolution Dodge F/C in the 70's.
  12. earlymopar
    Joined: Feb 26, 2007
    Posts: 1,242


    Great video. Thanks for sharing this. Interestingly, the metal flake green 39' Ford Coupe early in the footage belonged to a friend of mine in Oregon about 6 years after this video was made.

    - EM
    Ricco39ford likes this.
  13. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,375


    There's a huge area of aircraft tie downs from when Bower's Field was an Army Air Corp Base. It would seem that area could still be developed into at least a 1/8 mile strip, like what's currently at Walla Walla. The "strip" in the film clip sure looks narrow, or maybe it's just the angle. Why did it cease to operate? Butch/56sedandelivery.
  14. Ah, the memories. I live about 2 miles from the strip. The place really hasn't changed much. Normal time wear and tear.
  15. GaryB
    Joined: Dec 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,529

    from Reno,nv

    awesome video,Jack cristman is priceless.Thank you
  16. I'm really surprised at the number of folks this strip apparently pulled in. I'd seen some film footage my dad shot, and thought it was a small local thing. Sounds like it had quite the following.

    I have to say also that I love the old bus at the starting line...seems very SCTA to me.

    If anyone has additional info, the number of years it ran, who organized the meets, any published events/times, etc. I'd be very interested.

    Nomobux and I will have to run out and take a look,
    Maybe we can chase away the RC enthusiasts and cattle long enough to make run.:D
  17. What an incredible piece of NW drag racing history. Thank you.
  18. Rick Sis
    Joined: Nov 2, 2007
    Posts: 710

    Rick Sis
    from Tulsa OK

    Hundreds of cable TV channels these days and I enjoyed this more than anything I've seen since I can remember. Very cool, thanks!
  19. Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  20. go-twichy
    Joined: Jul 22, 2010
    Posts: 1,650


    agreed. it's history, and it's real. modern shows offer nothing like this.

  21. The Muckrakers have been having a reunion get together here the last 10 yrs or so. Fun bunch of guys to bs with. Long time ago but picking my brain, the strip ran kinda south to north.
  22. Lytles Garage
    Joined: May 6, 2011
    Posts: 620

    Lytles Garage

    The Bus was used to hold all the timeing equipment and everything else to run the Dragstrip, Tim Cameron, the guy who ran the track for a while,had a Jeep wagoneer with a big winch on the front,when we brought the bus from Wenatchee to Ellensburg,he would push the way underpowerd bus up the hills! they passed me in my 39 chevy at about 75 MPH with Tim laughing his ass off, Crazy Bastard had no idea what was in front of that bus, then they would put the bus in neutral, and coast down the hills with little or no brakes!! when the bus was unloaded, we would sleep in it. Those were the days!! Chris
  23. dubcee
    Joined: Jan 24, 2008
    Posts: 486


    Any one ever hear of a guy from the east side named Taunno Hill back in the day? A buddy of mine has a hilborn injected 430 lincoln motor from his old racing collection.
  24. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,375


    Looking at MapsGoogle.Com, of Bower's Field, to run due south to north, it would have had to be on the west side of the airport, in the WW II plane tie down area. It's a plenty long area, looking to be about 3500 feet. The actual runways themselves are E/W or W/E, and N/E or E/N, if that makes sense (I'm no pilot, but each runway consists of TWO runways, depending on which direction a plane lands/takes off). The bus idea parallels the trailer used by the Inyokern Dust Devils former track. A lot of early tracks were probably very similar. I'm guessing the "board walls" on either side of the start line lanes were for protection from clutch explosions and the like? I've seen many old photos showing them at different tracks from back in the day. I envy you guys that grew up/lived in that time, and experienced the birth of drag racing. Butch/56sedandelivery.
  25. I actually have a DVD of what's on You Tube that we all got a few yrs ago. Most of the defining landmarks as far as trees, etc are still there. Having trouble orienting myself as to where we drove into after the creek, but now I'm thinking it ran a bit more southeast to NW. I'm gonna have to take a look. It's been so damn long ago. I coulda sworn it was more south to north. The WWII hangers I know of from the 60s were all on the south border of the airport. A local had a P-51 parked there for years and flew it.
    Here's a plaque I restored bookoo yrs ago.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  26. BadgeZ28
    Joined: Oct 28, 2009
    Posts: 1,065

    from Oregon

    The Ellensburg footage reminds me of Madras during that same time period.
  27. I ran across this video that Brigrat posted a couple of years ago. Looks to be Ellensburg at the beginning, and possibly at the end (see the last post in the thread. Looks like they even had a timing light at one point!

    A buddy of mine directed me to an aerial photo of the field taken in 1953. Its huge, so I'll post it as soon as I figure out how to crop everything but the airfield. May help narrow down the location. In looking at Brigrat's vid, I'm thinking an east to west run, as it looks like the Stewart range off to the right....

    Looks like the track shut down in 72. Damn, that's nearly a 20yr run. Not bad for an airfield strip.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
  28. 1954:


    That's all I got.
    If anyone has any more info, I'm all ears.
  29. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,375


    I think you were probably right, that it was the runway running "SE to NW". That's runway 29/11-11/29, and in your 1954 aerial photo, you'll see 2 or 3 "lines" across the runway; there's no reason for those "lines" from an aviation standpoint. They are probably start, 1/8, and 1/4-finish line markers. That runway is now the better maintained runway, has been resurfaced in concrete, is listed as 4301 feet long, and 150 feet wide. The other runway, 7/25-25/7, is actually longer at 5590 feet, 150 feet wide, but is still asphalt, and listed as in poor condition; it is also only maintained for half the year, probably related to snow removal. Elevation is listed at 1764 feet above sea level. The film clip you credited to Brigrat has at least 3 tracks, Ellensburg, Arlington (about the 11 minute mark and a very short segment), and Kent-Pacific. You said Ellensburg had a 20 year run; Bremerton Raceway is set to begin it's 55th year of operations on that condemned runway! I was a member of the Handler's for 4 years, 88-92; that's partly why I'm so interested in drag strips that are/were on airports. I wish there were more guys able to jump in on this thread and provide some insight. Thanks for yours, Butch/56sedandelivery.
  30. Lytles Garage
    Joined: May 6, 2011
    Posts: 620

    Lytles Garage

    The runway with the white stripes, has the return road on the right. Chris

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