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History Ellensburg Drags c1960

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

  1. Quote = I like this shot of the yellow 56 Chevy Wagon and the Black/Dark Blue Ford as they're approaching the FINISH LINE. I don't see any photocells/lights however. The good old days. Butch/56sedandelivery.

    They were using GPS tracking. :)
  2. You nailed it, there it is, visible from the '54 photo.
  3. SSSCC runs out there every year. This is a pretty cool vid showing a good stretch of track that is both smooth and strait....

    <a href="<iframe width=" 853"="" height="480" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="">"><a href="<iframe width=" 853"="" height="480" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""><iframe src="//" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" width="853"></iframe>
  4. Lytles Garage
    Joined: May 6, 2011
    Posts: 620

    Lytles Garage

    Sure don't look like the place we used to race ? It was just a piece of asphalt in the middle of sage brush ! looks like now it would be a Great place to have Drag races!!! someone needs to find out what it would take to race there again!!! Chris
  5. I was thinking the same thing. I'll take a walk down and talk to the city managers this next week, just to see how it works with the sports car club.

    It could be a non starter with insurance etc, but might be worth the trouble if folks were interested in a little show/music/race event.

    Trick might be getting enough vintage drag cars/rails together to give it a go...think folks would load their trailers for something like this?
  6. TigerII
    Joined: Nov 12, 2007
    Posts: 23


    Well I and some friends would sure come over to watch and hang out! Maybe run depending on year cutoff.
  7. Lytles Garage
    Joined: May 6, 2011
    Posts: 620

    Lytles Garage

    A lot of people from Wenatchee would come to race down there again!! let me know if I can help in any way! Chris
  8. Thanks guys. Good to know.
    I'll see what I can find out and report back. I think it would be a kick, even with just a few cars.
  9. I walked down and had a talk with the County today. For some reason I was thinking the city managed the airport...

    Anyway, I kind of expected to be treated like a crazy, but they were very nice. I was told that yes, it would be possible to hold a nostalgia drag event at the airfield. The manager brought up a map, showed me where the sports car club usually ran their circuit,and told me that we'd need to coordinate with air traffic etc..and that it would be a difficult, but not impossible process.

    Apparently there's no formal application, I need to write up and submit a proposal, which I suppose would serve as a working document until all the kinks could be worked through. He suggested that I contact the sports car club for some experienced advice on how to proceed.

    So tell me, how damn cool would it be to have a full day of running/watching some grass roots racing like it was done in 50s!? :D
  10. tedster
    Joined: Mar 20, 2005
    Posts: 519


    Plenty damn cool!!!!
  11. Lytles Garage
    Joined: May 6, 2011
    Posts: 620

    Lytles Garage

    BITCHIN !!! Chris
  12. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 5,796

    from Oregon

    Hope you pull it off! It would be such a cool event, and might even help the airfield make a few improvements. I'm sure you'll get a good crowd to run and watch!
  13. 51farmtruck
    Joined: Jul 23, 2007
    Posts: 856


    I've heard stories of the ellensburg drags my whole life. Let's make it happen!
  14. Lytles Garage
    Joined: May 6, 2011
    Posts: 620

    Lytles Garage

  15. Yes actually.

    One of the members of the sports car club that runs out there invited me down to attend one of their meetings. They may be interested in a co-sponsered event of some sort.

    I also talked with a member of Muckrakers last night. A friend showed him the video and then brought him by the house to check out my coupe build. I understand he knew just about every car in that video, including one or two that are still with the original owners, or their family.

    He told me there are quite a number of folks still around that used to run out there on weekends. He thought there would be no shortage of folks willing to run and watch if it were organized.

    I still need information on insurance etc., not to mention timing equipment, lights, security, and so on. I'm sure it would take sponsorship...If it gets far enough along, I'll see if maybe one of the local car dealers would be interested.

    Cool stuff.

    If you're interested in helping to put the puzzle pieces together, let me know. I'm swimming alone at the moment.
  16. Lytles Garage
    Joined: May 6, 2011
    Posts: 620

    Lytles Garage

    When we raced at Ellensburg, We never really had any timing equip, just a start light and I was a "Judge" at one time at the end with a white piece of plywood nailed to a 2 x 4, wouldn't take much to get started. I would suggest 1/8 mile races. I'm in to build the starting light. Chris
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014
  17. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 5,796

    from Oregon

    You could also keep it really simple (and very traditional) and have a flagger start, and flagger at the finish to tell you which car won. That's the way they run Eagle Field Drags, and it's a lot of fun, besides keeping the cost lower.
  18. Good point. Simpler is better.
  19. resto-rodder
    Joined: Mar 20, 2009
    Posts: 56


    In the late 1950's there was a car club in Ellensburg called the "Windy Pipers". I think that they were involved in the early days of running the Ellensburg drag strip
  20. I think a rancher leases the area where the strip is for cattle. He and the local RC Flyers share access to the gate. There was 2 clowns flying there yest in 28* & fog !!!
  21. I've read that. They started the strip back in the mid 50's. I've met a member of the Chancellors and one of the Muckrakers...I don't know if any of the Windy Pipers are still around. I hope so, I'd really like to get some of the history from them.

    Can a guy just traipse out and look around? It looks like the sports cars run on the south side if the airfield. I need to go down and talk to the facility manager down there and see if there's even an area large enough, and smooth enough for what we're proposing.

    I'd like to see this happen, even on a really small scale, if its at all possible.
    Besides, I have nothing better to do with my weekends.

    Will you bring your coupe down and take a pass if we get approval? :D
  22. The rancher guy got a bit testy with a friend that went out to look at the old strip a few yrs ago. The RC guys are nice and if you catch them there ( which is often ), I'm sure they let you take a look. Come to think of it, I haven't seen any cattle recently.
  23. HotRod Jones
    Joined: Jan 30, 2014
    Posts: 22

    HotRod Jones
    from Spokane

    I had an experience with the Ellensburg track I'll relate. In the spring of 1964, a buddy and I, both 17, were in high school in LaGrande, Oregon and were preparing his 1952 Chev/327 to race at Madras. He and I along with several other guys who knew we were going racing drove the 250 miles to madras on a Saturday,spent the night, and raced on Sunday. I think our group had a total of four cars, three of which raced. This was the first time any of us had seen real sanctioned drag racing. For my buddy and I,our day was sweet and memorable but short--we broke the rear end on the 3rd or 4th run. After all the racing was done, we installed another 3rd member to make the trip home. If any of you guys happened to be there that weekend you would have remembered it because of the snow storm that blew in after the racing when we were all headed home.It got extremely slick. I remember one racer also heading north on highway 97 towing his race car with both cars in the ditch--sad!! Then to top everything off, sometime after midnight about 4 miles from town we ran the 52 out of gas when we were too dead tired to think straight. I stayed with the car and my buddy got a ride to town and back with one of our friends and he grabbed a can of gas out of his dads Jeep. Turned out to be chainsaw gas---so we smoked her into town too tired to care. Then somehow we learned of an upcoming race at Ellensburg so we began to prep the car for that date. He bought a new posi and gear set and I pulled the 4-speed and aluminum flywheel out of my car to put in the 52. This time we decided to flat tow the 52 behind my 58 Delray. Did we two 17 year olds ever learn some things about towing a heavy car behind a marginally lighter car---like you better slow down a lot before you get to the downgrade leading to the tight corners; that first corner going down Cabbage Hill almost got us. We had left really early Sunday morning, felt fortunate to survive Cabbage Hill, took forever to get to Yakima, then through the old canyon Rd. to Ellensburg and out to the track. There on the entrance gate was a sign saying "RACE CANCELLED BECAUSE OF FIRST DAY OF FISHING SEASON". Boy, were we disappointed and ticked!!!!! We unhooked the car and with open headers, went to terrorize parts of Ellensburg---and then Yakima!! We drove both cars home and put his car back into street trim and never had the chance to race together again. We worked really well together. One weekend us two" hicks from the sticks" took off for Portland, placed second in the Plymouth Troubleshooting Contest then raced home in the 52@100 mph to attend our school prom-----what memories!!!! If you guys manage to organize a race , I think you owe me entry fee----I'll be there.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  24. Welcome to the Hamb HotRod, that's a fantastic story!

    Send me a pm with your contact info and I'll keep you posted.

    If you know of anyone over your way that might be interested in running, let me know. If this goes down I'd like a few cars with history to run first.

    Thanks again for the story!

    p.s. I'm a fish guy, and even I wouldn't cancel a race to go fishing. ;)
  25. JT Apperson
    Joined: Jul 12, 2010
    Posts: 215

    JT Apperson
    from va

    Very Kool....Those were the days...Thanks for sharing....JT
  26. Lytles Garage
    Joined: May 6, 2011
    Posts: 620

    Lytles Garage

    Spent a lot of my wasted youth there, Those INDEED, were the days !! Chris
  27. mel430
    Joined: Jan 14, 2010
    Posts: 2


    Thanks for the memories Rehpotsirhcj, I used to go to the Ellensburg drags around 1960 from Wapato. Then work in Seattle and Nam took up my time. Were you ever at Puyallup raceway in 1959-1960?

    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  28. Just went by. I was wrong. Cattle everywhere. When it gets better, I'll walk out there. I'm sure the track will be a cluster after all this time and cattle.
  29. Hi Mel, Very cool to hear that you raced here.
    A bunch of my family actually comes from Wapato. They had an orchard up on Konnowac Pass (Ray. Walker and son Mike). I wasn't around in 60, but I heard a lot of the stories, and my granddad used to take me out to Wofford's occasionally. Lots of automotive history out there.

    You're probably right. It looks like the sports car club is using the south side of the airfield, closest to the parking area. The possibility of running cars seemed doable in my brief talk with the county manager. I haven't had a chance to put together a good proposal, or to talk with the sand and sage CC guys. That said, I'm pretty sure if there's a length of concrete, and enough dough to cover the insurance, we could make it happen.
  30. magooz
    Joined: Jul 25, 2011
    Posts: 100


    Hey Chris,
    I just found this forum on the H.A.M.B. Great info, photos, You Tubes, etc.. Although I grew up in Seattle, I was very much in tune with you guys over there in the 60's and 70's. Great comments from you all. Chris, these are a few of yours and my friends cars in the 60's - 70's & 80's. We're all still kicking with exception of our good friend. The late Tom Willford (top row center)... Magoo

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
    chryslerfan55 likes this.

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