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History Greater Des Moines (Iowa) Drag Strip 1960's

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Tic, Mar 23, 2021.

  1. Tic
    Joined: Jan 9, 2009
    Posts: 42

    Tic
    Member

    -
    I don't know if we have any old drag racers on here or not. The pictures in this slideshow were taken at the Greater Des Moines (Iowa) Drag Strip in the early '60's. There are a few other old pictures thrown in too.



    I have some from Cordova, Illinois about the same time but I will have to dig them out. I am in the pictures of the Model A Roadster, leaning on the front of the radiator and leaning over on the the passengers side in the next picture. I am also in the group of guys with the names listed (in Buick's Forever sweatshirt) and the next picture sitting in the dragster.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2021
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  2. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 5,217

    catdad49
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Thanks for the photos!
     
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  3. Bugguts
    Joined: Aug 13, 2011
    Posts: 728

    Bugguts
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    Cool pics! Thanks for taking and sharing them.
     
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  4. Hutkikz
    Joined: Oct 15, 2011
    Posts: 95

    Hutkikz
    Member

    Very Cool, Thanks for sharing them with us.
     
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  5. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 21,163

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    @Tic what a trip back to a time I missed first time around...Fantastic Captures...and you were there...priceless...thanks for sharing those...we look forward to more or your adventures in Hotrod...
     
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  6. Cool pics - thanks for posting ! Spotted a 1956 Plymouth Fury in the back ground....not many made !
     
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  7. oldiron 440
    Joined: Dec 12, 2018
    Posts: 2,395

    oldiron 440
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    Surprisingly there isn't corn in the background of every picture. Every strip I can think of in Iowa is in the middle of a corn or been field.
     
  8. 61SuperMonza
    Joined: Nov 16, 2020
    Posts: 489

    61SuperMonza
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    Thanks for sharing the pics. Some cool hot rods. The fact that you were in the thick of it, so cool. It must have been a great time.
     
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  9. corncobcoupe
    Joined: May 26, 2001
    Posts: 5,669

    corncobcoupe
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    It was in the late 50's/ early 60's. I'm not sure when it closed ( 70's maybe ?) as I didn't get here to the Desmoines area until the early 80's. The asphalt was still there in the mid 90's. until it was plowed up for a housing development.

    I always heard folklore about the drag strip and the location. There were faint growth on weeds growing between the cracks that could be seen from the road drive by.

    My only story I will share is one of the enjoyable things in my life that brought joy to someone else.
    In the 90's I worked with a fella that was older than me that use to go there all the time and sometimes race his 57 Chevy. Ron was a soft spoken good guy that shared some cool memories with me.

    Well that farm land in the 90's with parts of it with no crop that had weeds growing between the cracks had a big for sale sign on it - with housing pictures etc. I know it was just a short time before crops of corn would become paved crops of houses.

    So one day, I stopped on the side of the road, got out and walked into that field, it must have been late spring or early fall because their were just disked stalks and I walked into the field until I got to the weed patches of asphalt..
    I found the asphalt in between all the weeds growing up. I believed I was at the starting line area as there was more run off going to the north end than to the south where I was at.

    Side note - another cool thing that happened - there was a large thicket of tall weeds about 10-12 feet high, with heavy thick stalks of growth that I was close to that as I was looking down at patches of asphalt, a crackling from that thicket of weeds startled me and made me stand still. Out very slowly walked a 14 point Buck about 10 yards away. I stood still, he snorted, turned back around and wedged his way back into that thicket of weeds.

    So - the continued with my looking down at the asphalt and amazingly, I found a hand size chunk of asphalt that had a faint line of white paint, Sooo I found the starting line !!!!.

    I picked up that chunk, walked around some more looking at chunks of asphalt / weeds mixed, then walked back through the plowed field to my car and left.

    One of my coworkers shared that Ron's birthday was that week.
    So I thought give him something that he might really like.
    I put the chunk of starting line asphalt into a box/ wrapped it and the next day went to the office to give to Ron.

    He opened it and asked what is this ?
    I said it's old just like you and proceeded to tell him it was a chunk of starting line from the Desmoines Drag Strip.
    He was speechless and quiet for a moment and appeared some tears came to his eyes.
    Not much for words, he said it was the neatest birthday gift / thought he ever received.

    I left that company a few years later - ran into Ron after he retired and said that asphalt chunk is right in front/ center of his mementos cabinet.

    Hope Ron is still around.
    I'd like to see him again.
    That's my Desmoines Drag Strip story.
     
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  10. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,232

    alchemy
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  11. Corn Fed
    Joined: May 16, 2002
    Posts: 3,008

    Corn Fed
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    Thanks for the fantastic photos Tic!. Did anyone else notice at 2:41 the pedal car in the background that appears to have bigger lawn mower tires on the back? Some little hot rodder's cool ride!
     
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  12. jeepster
    Joined: Nov 17, 2005
    Posts: 596

    jeepster
    Member
    from wisconsin

    Thanks for posting your photos. Great to see real events from back in the day!
     
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  13. Fantastic pics! Thanks
     
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  14. DosCoupe
    Joined: Mar 11, 2011
    Posts: 39

    DosCoupe
    Member

    I scored a 5 window deuce coupe similar to the one at 2:16 of the video. Mine has a two inch chop and a filled roof. I traced its history back to 1984 where it ended up in west end of Davenport. It was channeled to medium boy style- half frame. The front frame perch was T bucket style. With 46-48 Ford front axle. I will post some photos.


    Sent from my SM-J727U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  15. DosCoupe
    Joined: Mar 11, 2011
    Posts: 39

    DosCoupe
    Member

    Here is the photo of my old drag car. Does anyone recognize it? 1616605692959.jpeg

    Sent from my SM-J727U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  16. 19323window
    Joined: Nov 30, 2010
    Posts: 14

    19323window
    Member
    from wisconsin

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  17. corncobcoupe
    Joined: May 26, 2001
    Posts: 5,669

    corncobcoupe
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    No......

    Smith
     
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  18. corncobcoupe
    Joined: May 26, 2001
    Posts: 5,669

    corncobcoupe
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    The name that ruled Top Eliminator quite a few years was a local, Lou Bredeski in his 302 CU 6 cylinder Jimmy with 5 pot carbs in a 22 or 23 T roadster. I remember Lou telling me that old 302 6 Cyl- Jimmy with the 5 pot on it - when he revved it up off the line sounded like a hive of angry bees.

    He launched it in 2nd gear and said it really hooked up.

    Sadly Lou is no longer with us but Lou ruled in the late 50's early 60's at the Des Moines Dragstrip.

    Man, guys like that contributed so much is what us HAMB’rs love today.
     
  19. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 11,478

    AHotRod
    Member

    Thanks Ron .... I was born and raised in Iowa and truly enjoyed the video and music. I lived in Muscatine back then, never saw the DesMoines Dragstrip.
    If you have seen any other Iowa Drag Strip history let me know, I'd love to see it.
    Glenn
     
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  20. Silverplate
    Joined: Mar 4, 2011
    Posts: 216

    Silverplate
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  21. speedshifter
    Joined: Mar 3, 2008
    Posts: 278

    speedshifter
    Member

    Was this strip also known as the Ames Drag Strip? A friend said he attended an early drag race there & said the first maybe 50 ft was asphalt, the rest was dirt. Greg
     
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  22. Bugguts
    Joined: Aug 13, 2011
    Posts: 728

    Bugguts
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    This is not the Ames Drag Strip. That one was on the south side of Ames and is now also covered with houses.
    I was told it was asphalt and dirt as you stated.
     
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  23. oldiron 440
    Joined: Dec 12, 2018
    Posts: 2,395

    oldiron 440
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    Read the ads for the location...
     
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  24. Latigo
    Joined: Mar 24, 2014
    Posts: 665

    Latigo
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    Great pictures from the DesMoines drag strip. I was never there but made it to Eddyville and Waterloo drag strips in the
    mid-60’s. Unfortunately, no camera at the time.
     
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  25. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,194

    Russco
    Member
    from Central IL

    My dad ran AFuel cars in the late 50’s and through the 60’s said they ran on several tracks that were dirt. Alton early on was dirt too I believe as was White Hall Illinois. My dad ran Kahoka (?) and I think Keokuk fairly often I would imagine he ran here too. He told a great story about them all leaving the races late one night after a big fuel meet (I think it was Kahoka) and a bunch of them heading down to run at Alton I think the next day, when several of them traveling together came across someone’s FED sitting in the middle of the road. It had fallen off the trailer and was just sitting facing the wrong way in the road at like 1am.
     
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  26. Tic
    Joined: Jan 9, 2009
    Posts: 42

    Tic
    Member

    Thanks for the kind words guys.

    I have a picture somewhere of my friend Bills son sitting in that pedal car. It also had a Rat Fink shift lever in it. Cool stuff.

    We also went to Kahoka, Eddyville, and Cordova. I'm sure I have some pictures of Cordova. I will have to dig them out.

    Tic
     
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  27. My grandpa Don Hay raced a 37 Chevy coupe there, I saw a 37 coupe in the background and I wonder if that was his..

    @haychrishay check out this thread..
     
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  28. Awesome video you put together.
     
  29. 296ardun
    Joined: Feb 11, 2009
    Posts: 4,410

    296ardun
    Member

    ames iowa 1957.jpg
    Ames, Iowa, 1957
     
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