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History P.I.T.A. Dragstrip, Erie, Pa.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by T McG, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. Andamo
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 498

    Andamo
    Member

    Beachbound, do you remember Jack Bleil that was the photographer at Wattsburg ? I talked with Jack a few years ago at a swap meet in Canfield, OH. Jack sells his old pictures and diecasts. He lives down south of Pittsburgh now. Super nice fellow.
     
  2. Beachbound
    Joined: Feb 24, 2010
    Posts: 3

    Beachbound
    Member
    from Georgia

    No, can't say that i remember that name. I do remember a lot of the guys that use to race out there though. There was a guy by the name of George Bostick (sp), he worked for the Erie Times as a reporter or photographer. I remember that he would race his beat up station wagon in such a high class, like Q stock automatic and no one else was in his class so he won a trophy every week. When I was the starter and used the flags, before the christmas tree, I use to have to walk half the quarter mile to give him his "spot" in races against other cars in higher classes. Sorry this is so long, but I could talk "old school" drag racing for hours
     
  3. Frank K
    Joined: Dec 9, 2005
    Posts: 186

    Frank K
    Member

    Neat Story..Frank Kunkel
     
  4. DaCoupe
    Joined: Mar 25, 2010
    Posts: 15

    DaCoupe
    Member

    Here are a few pistures from about 1959 / 1960 taken at Presque Isle Timing Association.

    Any one from the Munhall/Homestead area on the board? Remeber the Homestead "Eat & Park" and the Rankin Bridge Timing Association?
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Andamo
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 498

    Andamo
    Member

    I'm not from the Homestead area, but remember going to the Eat & Park and getting classified so we could make passes across the High Level Bridge while listening to Porky Chedwick, who by the way is still alive and in his 90's. The Eat & Park on Eden Park Blvd. was another good place. Good times. Thanks.
     
  6. DaCoupe
    Joined: Mar 25, 2010
    Posts: 15

    DaCoupe
    Member

    Yes, yes, forgot about the High Level Bridge. We used the Rankin bridge (the one that went to Braddock) as there were less police. There was also a street car turnaround where we could take the caps off the lake pipes.

    Good old Porky, listened to him all the time and in fact have some Porky CDs.

    Does anyone remember an Oldsmobile powered blue Henry J called Zip Zap? Raced him once and he cleaned my clock.

    Those were the times, my friend.
     
  7. Andamo
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 498

    Andamo
    Member

    Can't say that I remember the Henry J. One of the cars that impressed me in that era was the 64-65 Corvair with the SBC in the back seat. I can't think of the fellows name right now, but he was from McKeesport and eventually went on to make the Formula V traction compound. I ran into him a few years back at a PID reunion race at Pittsburgh Raceway Park and he said about all the people that remembered that car. I guess with all the bridges in the Pittsburgh area they were the impromptu drag strips of the night. The McKees Rocks bridge was where Jim Boburka tested his cars quite often.
     
  8. Retsmsgt
    Joined: Feb 20, 2013
    Posts: 1

    Retsmsgt
    Member
    from Texas

    I lived in Ridgway, Pa during the 60's and raced at PITA numerous times. We had several cars from my hometown, Johnsenberg and St Marys. Great times. I have my trophies still in a box. I raced a 1959 Pontiac Catalina, grey/silver. We called it the "grey ghost". I raced in two classes, g-stock or f-gas, if I removed the front bumper. I had all Mickey Thompson stuff in the motor with cutout Hedman hedders, slicks. Never lost on the street. Best times, believe it or not, 13.01 at 106mph!.
     
  9. ardyboy
    Joined: Mar 5, 2008
    Posts: 667

    ardyboy

    two birds with one stone---cool addition to the thread and a good intro too.
     
  10. kfien5354
    Joined: Nov 19, 2013
    Posts: 67

    kfien5354
    Member

    It would be fun to set up some grudge racing at the track this spring/summer. Forget the pay outs and have fun.
     
  11. Roadagent2
    Joined: Apr 15, 2010
    Posts: 243

    Roadagent2
    Member

    I always thought P.I.T.A. meant Pain In the Ass…I am glad it means something actually worth wild and useful!
     
  12. 6-71
    Joined: Sep 15, 2005
    Posts: 530

    6-71
    Member

    You have the right idea,forget the payouts,because Lucky probably will. You can make lots of passes with little waiting,because there are usually only 15-20 cars racing anyway.
     
  13. bschwoeble
    Joined: Oct 20, 2008
    Posts: 153

    bschwoeble
    Member

    Presque Isle Timing Association (PITA). My first drag race. My brother-in-law took me and two of my buddies there in 1960. He was a member of the Dusters car club from the Monroeville area. On a previous post about Homestead Eat And Park. There were some serious cars from that area. I would like to know where the Dusters club car ended up. It was a chopped and channeled 34 Ford tudor sedan. Olds engine set back 25%. If anybody has info I sure would appreciate it.
     
  14. GraybeardZR1
    Joined: Jul 7, 2012
    Posts: 2

    GraybeardZR1
    Member

    I remember Presque Isle Timing Association from as early as 1957 when I was 13 and begged my Dad to take me to "The Drags". I've still got pictures of the old man looking at a Chopped and channeled Deuce Coupe on that day. I remember that car because it had a helicopter engine, and we thought "why not". Looking at all the crazy sh*t that guys built back then really began my love of cars that continues to this day.
    I remember Arfons "Green Monster" running an insane trap speed and going up the hill mowing down saplings in the woods.
    I remember the local hot shots in bubble top 409's, and 406 Fords doing battle. I remember lettering Don Weaver's 38 Chevy with a super stock Dodge drivetrain, the "Orange Monster". I remember buying a 53' Chevy hardtop lead sled, the "Golden Gaucho" and trying to turn it into a Gasser.
    I remember all that craziness, and would kind of like to do it again.
     
  15. 6-71
    Joined: Sep 15, 2005
    Posts: 530

    6-71
    Member

    Do you know any info about the 38 chevy coupe? I recently worked on a friends 38 coupe,and he said it was the"orange Crate",but he does have an orange hood that says 383 cu.in. on it. the car is now a street rod,with a b+m mega blower on a 355 small block. Was Don Weaver an Erie local? The car has been in the Meadville area for years.
     
  16. GraybeardZR1
    Joined: Jul 7, 2012
    Posts: 2

    GraybeardZR1
    Member

    All I remember about that 38' coupe was that it was a five window, painted bright orange. It had a gasser style straight axle. The running gear was a complete drivetrain from a Super Stock Dodge 413, with radiused wheel wells, and Firestone slicks.
    The pushbutton gear selector was strapped to the steering column with a radiator hose clamp. The deal was, I'd do some lettering on it, "The Orange Monster" with a crazed cartoon orange, then I'd get to drive it at PITA.
    It turned out cool, but that car had numerous problems, like the front end wasn't set up with much caster, and it wouldn't track worth a damn. A real Death Trap if there ever was one. I went off to art school before I could drive it.
    There was a great 38' Chevy coupe at PITA at the time, Jim Oddy's (now a well known engine builder in Cali.) light blue metallic gasser with a small block and six strombergs. That car ran like a bear, and looked like a show car.
    I don't know where Don Weaver is now, it's been 50 years. if you see this Don, give me a shout.
    At the time, I was the kid who painted Roth style "weirdo shirts" for my buddies, and tried to keep my 53' Chevy hardtop running on no money.
     
  17. Memories of Presque Isle brought back to life.
    I was living east of Cleveland, would go to Dragway 42, Thmpson Dragway and Presque Isle. Thanks for sharing, brings back loads of great memories.
     
  18. Quads Erie
    Joined: Mar 7, 2015
    Posts: 1

    Quads Erie

    In the Summer of 1959, Buck Ackerman hired our entire car club ( QUADS of ERIE) to work at the drag strip. We worked the quarter mile telling which lane won ( only one set of traps for timing), we worked the pits helping to inspect and classify, we worked the gate. And we also flagged (no Christmas tree lights). Buck paid our club a flat fee. None of us received individual compensation. What a great opportunity for a bunch of teen aged car enthusiasts. I remember EVERY time Art Arfons ran the green monster it got into the saplings at the top of the hill. I usually worked the quarter mile. Dave Snajder (Pimo) flagged alot. One member (Sonny Calkins) was inspecting the helicopter powered coupe and mistakenly put a hole in the oil pan...embarrassing. Us old guys (Quads) still get together every so often and talk about those days.
     
  19. Motormouse
    Joined: Sep 8, 2016
    Posts: 1

    Motormouse

     

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