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History Iowa Dragstrips - New & Old

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Calkins, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. ardun1932
    Joined: Feb 23, 2013
    Posts: 9

    ardun1932
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Iowa

    The Sioux City drag strip was a runway at the S.C. airport/airbase. Nothing fancy, although it did have a timing tower as well as some bleacher seating on one side of the track. My memory of it goes back to the very early 1960s.
     
  2. eppster
    Joined: Jan 26, 2011
    Posts: 223

    eppster
    Member

    I read a article once showing the NHRA Safty Safari at the Sioux City dragstrip in the mid 50's so the strip would date back to at least that time. I always enjoyed watching Dick Dykes Max-Wedge run there.
     
  3. restorit
    Joined: Feb 12, 2003
    Posts: 967

    restorit
    Member

    I found this Des Moines Dragway program from April 31, 1957 at a swap meet several years ago. Has some pretty neat info in it and mentions some of the people talked about in previous posts.
    Im addition, I have a picture of the present day condition of a 32 Ford Sedan that ran at DM Dragway in the 60's. The car had a 56 Corvette motor and trans and was chopped. I think it was dark blue and had stock wheels and tires. The guy still owns it and is from my home town. I met up with him at Eddyville Raceway awhile back when he came for a nostalgia race. He was always one of my heros as a kid so it was fun getting to know him.
    Also have a picture of a 2008 meeting at Eddyville for former Des Moines Dragway drivers.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 24, 2013
  4. eppster
    Joined: Jan 26, 2011
    Posts: 223

    eppster
    Member

  5. 37willysgasser
    Joined: Jul 24, 2007
    Posts: 750

    37willysgasser
    Member

    still looking for any pics of this car at the strip.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. midnightrider78
    Joined: Oct 24, 2006
    Posts: 675

    midnightrider78
    Member

    Does anybody know if Merrill Frost's Willys is still around. I have seen a few 4dr Willys for sale recently and they seem to be quite reasonably priced. Seems like a good start to a clone to me, but I thought I should figure out if the original is still around before I decide what I'm doing.
     
  7. Calkins
    Joined: Jun 20, 2009
    Posts: 182

    Calkins
    Member

    Iowa Al (Alan Bootan) would be the first guy I would ask. He hasn't logged in here for two years, so email might be quicker. He is my go-to Iowa history guy.
     
  8. Jruttenburg
    Joined: May 16, 2011
    Posts: 3

    Jruttenburg
    Member

    I have known Merrill Frost for over 40 years, he now lives in Dunkirk, MD and is retired from the national office of the International Association of Machinist. He has a large shop and 7-8 very nice street rods. In the time I have known him, in chronology order, he had:
    1941 Willys B/G the old "Hangem High" car. If anyone knows where this car is, we are looking for it.
    Opal Cadet A/G
    Opal GT A/G
    A/G dragster
    TAD
    BB/FC Mustang
    BB/FC Firebird
    He never ran a Bantom
     
  9. Calkins
    Joined: Jun 20, 2009
    Posts: 182

    Calkins
    Member

    The BB/FC Mustang was actually a Pinto. It was bought from Ralph Rowe, who bought it from Bill Schifsky.

    I only know, because I tried to track this car down. I talked to Bill, Ralph, Ralph's son Kevin, and Merrill. Merrill sold the Pinto body, lengthened the chassis, and installed the Firebird body. The Pinto body went somewhere south with a truck puller. Not sure about the chassis.
     

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  10. nochop
    Joined: Nov 13, 2005
    Posts: 426

    nochop
    Member
    from norcal

    I'll try to post some pics later, my dad ran a Crosely bodied altered and a injected rail with the Sioux City Nobles in the late 50's to late 60's
     
  11. Jruttenburg
    Joined: May 16, 2011
    Posts: 3

    Jruttenburg
    Member

    Actually Gary Ostrich built Hemi drag racing engines under contract to Chrysler.
    Charlie Malyuke worked for him for a time.
     
  12. Jruttenburg
    Joined: May 16, 2011
    Posts: 3

    Jruttenburg
    Member

    You are correct about the Pinto. What is really dumb, I helped him build that car. Memory not what it used to be. What Merrill would really like is to find the Willys. Jim Adams and I purchased that car from Merrill and sold it to, I believe, a guy from Ottumwa.
     
  13. Jeff65SS
    Joined: Sep 20, 2013
    Posts: 5

    Jeff65SS
    Member
    from Iowa

    All, wanted to report the passing of Leon Evans (Oldtimer75) today. Leon was a regular at NEITA from opening day to around 1972. He will be missed..... RIP.
     

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  14. Fonize
    Joined: Oct 10, 2013
    Posts: 1

    Fonize
    Member
    from iowa

    Hi, I'm a new member . I live in Iowa 9 miles from Eddyville,Ia I did notice some post from Connman, is he still around?? I have not been able to open the pictures of Dick Harrell car on this post ?/ Old Guy needs help!! I am looking for pictures of Dick's 1968 funny car.
     
  15. midnightrider78
    Joined: Oct 24, 2006
    Posts: 675

    midnightrider78
    Member

    I was looking at the site for DM Dragway a couple days ago and it says that Gary Ostrich passed away Feb. 3. RIP
     
  16. Any particular shots you need? I have A Bunch. The Funny Car Years site has some, http://www.dickharrell.com/, Classic Funny Cars board. A search here shows some threads like this one. Heck even a rudimentary Google or Bingle search will show a whole flock of photos!
     
  17. Corey "Waldo" E.
    Joined: Sep 17, 2012
    Posts: 29

    Corey "Waldo" E.
    Member

    Looking for pic's of a 59 Volvo that Jack Brewer ran at Eddyville & Kahoka in mid 60s. Believe it was last ran in B gas. Was bright red, set low, sb chevy power 283 dual carbs. I have the car now and Jack is my Uncle. My mom bought the new and Jack got it in 62 and set it up to play. Last plates on it are 1966. Just roll'n the dice that some one may have got some snapshots back in the day.
     
  18. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 9,741

    AHotRod
    Member

    Cory,
    Does the car today still look as it did in the '60's?
    Can you post some pictures of it?
    Glenn
     
  19. Corey "Waldo" E.
    Joined: Sep 17, 2012
    Posts: 29

    Corey "Waldo" E.
    Member

    The car has been setting since 66, and is in bad shape. He sold the engine to my dad for his 59 El camino. and was in the process of installing a 409. That's when the circle track racing got his attention in 66 or 67. I know it ran at Eddyville and believe it ran at Kahoka Mo. And may have made it out to Colorado to run. I will try to post a picture.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015
  20. Corey "Waldo" E.
    Joined: Sep 17, 2012
    Posts: 29

    Corey "Waldo" E.
    Member

  21. henryj1951
    Joined: Sep 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,211

    henryj1951
    Member
    from USA

     
  22. henryj1951
    Joined: Sep 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,211

    henryj1951
    Member
    from USA

    Nortons Speed World 5801 mitchel st sioux city iowa nortonSPEEDworld55.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2016
  23. henryj1951
    Joined: Sep 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,211

    henryj1951
    Member
    from USA

    https://www.facebook.com/DRAGRACEinONAWA
    UPDATE:

    We know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from us, but everything is moving forward (although not as fast as we had wanted. . .legal ‘stuff’). Our incorporation papers have been completed and filed with the State of Iowa and we are now in the process of completing our SCOR paperwork (over 30 pages) so we can proceed with our financing.

    The airport did officially close permanently to all aviation use and large yellow X’s have been painted on the runway (track) to inform pilots of the same.

    The Board of Directors has been working on our overhead scale drawing and now have most of our anticipated infrastructure somewhat to scale. As you can see, this is a very aggressive project that will provide racers and spectators alike with a quality facility. Contractors are finishing up drawings, proposals and cost estimates on structures that we plan to build, along with bleachers, fencing, slip-forming concrete barriers, return roads, camping/vendor areas and even a walk-over pedestrian bridge over the staging lanes to the pit area.

    We are currently reviewing the property lease with our attorney’s and once everyone is satisfied with the lease, we can sign it and proceed with improvements on the property.

    If anyone has additional questions, suggestions, ideas for future events or ???, we now have a post office box as a point of contact. You can write to us at Onawa Racing, Inc., P.O. Box 401, Onawa, Iowa 51040.

    Thanks for your patience and continued interest in the Onawa Racing & Entertainment Complex!!
     
  24. Circa 1963, my 1st drag race in my '55 Pontiac w '57 engine and best friend Mick in his 31 A, b/altered Cow pasture on one side corn field on the other. Great memories!
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
  25. henryj1951
    Joined: Sep 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,211

    henryj1951
    Member
    from USA

    bump for info and confabulation ... :cool:
     
  26. JOECOOL
    Joined: Jan 13, 2004
    Posts: 2,562

    JOECOOL
    Member

    Thanks for the info at Onawa, several people down this way are watching close.
     
  27. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,180

    Malcolm
    Member
    from Nebraska

    Same here --- A bunch of us from Omaha will definitely be up to Onawa for drag racing events in the future. Looking forward to it!
     
  28. henryj1951
    Joined: Sep 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,211

    henryj1951
    Member
    from USA

    yer welcome and they have a facebook page i think (i don't have one) .
    :cool:
     
  29. henryj1951
    Joined: Sep 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,211

    henryj1951
    Member
    from USA

    up date https://www.facebook.com/DRAGRACEinONAWA/?fref=nf
    The second in a series of Mayor’s Afternoon Transparency Talks (“MATT”) was held last Wednesday afternoon in the meeting room of the Onawa Public Library. Over 20 residents attended Wednesday’s meeting.
    The topic of this month’s meeting was how TIF funding works and the OREC project by Onawa Racing, Inc. on the former airport property. The meeting gave residents the opportunity to ask “the unanswered questions” that many have been talking about, while receiving concise and accurate information about the new Racing & Events Complex coming to Onawa.
    City Administrator Brad Hanson welcomed everyone and began this month’s discussion with information about tax incremental financing (TIF) and how it works in a community.
    TIF, is a public financing method that is used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community-improvement projects.
    Through the use of TIF, municipalities can dedicate future tax revenues of a “particular business or group of businesses toward an economic development project. These funds are paid for by new business until such funds are paid back. When the bond obligation is completed, these tax funds go to the school, city and county.
    Communities that utilize TIF funding help to generate new business growth, not to mention employment and tourism dollars, which bring “outside dollars” into a community.
    Past TIF projects here in Onawa, included PAMIDA (now Shopko), Dave’s World/Petro Mart, and McDonalds. . .all of which would probably never have come to Onawa without TIF funding.
    Mr. Hanson said the waste water expansion on West Cameo Street is currently going to benefit only two businesses, but opens the area to future development thanks to the TIF.
    Hanson stressed that regardless of what you’ve heard, TIF dollars DO NOT increase property taxes.
    Mr. Hanson then began discussion about the Onawa Racing & Events Complex (OREC) being developed right here in Onawa. Because there has been so much inaccurate information being disseminated around the community about this project, Talking Point hand-outs were given out to assist in accurately answering questions about the project.
    After the appropriate publications and public hearings, the old airport property will be leased to Onawa Racing, Inc., a group of local businessmen/investors who have researched and developed a business plan to construct a complete Racing & Events Complex right here in Onawa. Their plans are to make Onawa an “Entertainment Destination”.
    Hanson said one of the group’s first steps will be to grind out the old asphalt runway/taxi-way. This material will be used to build-up spectator parking areas on the south end of the property.
    According to Onawa Racing, Inc., that area may eventually be used for additional events on the property including Truck and Tractor Pulls, Mud Drags, Moto-Cross or BMX Races and other more “dirt-related” events.
    They continued by saying their plans are to base this project around the Drag Racing, a popular form of Motor Sports that has been going strong for over 60 years in America. Drag Racing will be the main business for the complex because the old runway lends itself perfectly to that particular type of racing and the infrastructure is already there.
    Planned to be a complete entertainment complex, OREC says that they envision a large number of other events and activities at the Complex. Things like Festivals of all kinds, Farm & Ag Shows, Boat, Sports & Travel Shows, Ballooning Events, Model Airplane Shows, Swap Meets and Flea Markets, Car Shows, outdoor Concerts, festivals and almost anything the property can be adopted to.
    As far as the lease to the City was concerned, Brad said the Business Agreement states that OREC will pay a minimum of $5k per year for the property, or 10 percent of net (whichever is greater).
    Administrator Hanson stated the old airport was costing the City $5,000 to $6,000 per year and no property taxes were generated from it. Onawa Racing, Inc. will be paying taxes on the property and the improvements they make on that property.
    Brad said that OREC is a privately-owned group of businessmen that have put their own money into this project with no City or Public Funds invested.
    It was mentioned that two of the largest drag racing sanctioning bodies have already contacted the corporation and expressed interest in the project.
    One of the improvements to the property will be a 150’ x 60’ building which will provide a huge area for events all year long. It will include a modern concessions stand and very nice restrooms to accommodate patrons with a quality facility.
    People interested in being vendors and hosting or booking events at the Complex have already been calling.
    Board President Brett Ewing also stated that the group has $50k budgeted for a nice, fenced-in playground for children where they can go during events.
    All-in-all, this one business could well change the future of Onawa by attracting people, tourism dollars and even other business and industry to Onawa.
    Mr. Ewing said “We’ve all been waiting for the next big thing to come to Onawa. We need to do this to stimulate other growth. Everything this property can be used for will ultimately draw other businesses to Onawa in the process.”
    Mr. Hanson, in fact, said that based on the people from outside this community talking favorably about this project, he has already received calls from other businesses interested in Onawa.
    OREC is looking at this from the standpoint of what they can do to make Onawa grow. If we don’t, everything will continue to suffer including our schools, the hospital and City as a whole.
    The meeting concluded with some in attendance agreeing that they haven’t seen this much excitement about something in Onawa . . .ever!!

    i'm goina race :cool:
     
    Chucky likes this.
  30. Calkins
    Joined: Jun 20, 2009
    Posts: 182

    Calkins
    Member

    Awesome! Thank You for sharing!!
     

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