The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by J.Ukrop, May 10, 2019.
J.Ukrop submitted a new blog post:
Richmond Dragway Reveries
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Joey @J.Ukrop - Cool vintage drag racing footage ... thanks for sharing!
Here's a few "semi-HAMB-friendly" Richmond Dragway images:
Track founder Dan Weis and Walt Mentzer setting up equipment before a national meet
Track Founder, Dan Weis launching his dragster at the then, brand new, Richmond Dragway - May 1964
Drag News - December 23, 1965
Bill Simpson hauled his dragster from Los Angeles to Richmond Dragway
Richmond Times Dispatch - May 15, 1967
Some circa December 1965 Richmond Dragway photos (from the Richard Gouldman Collection):
Not vintage footage, but here is little video of Dave Russell @D-Russ in his Vicky and myself in in my roadster running down Richmond Dragway a few years ago. It may not be old footage, but its real hot rods running down the track!
I used to go to Richmond Dragway regularly when I was a kid in the 1970s. Those Sunday afternoons left a lasting impression on me, and are likely a part of why I'm so obsessed with hot rods and drag racing today. And as an adult, I've had the opportunity to run my hot rod on that same historic asphalt on several occasions.
As I come across them, I've been collecting vintage photos from Richmond Dragway during its heyday along with central Virginia hot rodding culture pictures. When I get a moment, I'll post some up.
To start, here's a favorite – I saw these two cars run multiple times at Richmond – I may have even been in the stands when this photo was taken. I actually have pics of The Whooppee Car I took back in the day with my trusty Kodak Instamatic.
Note the Cline Automotive sponsorship on the nose of the Orange Crate. Cline Automotive and Mallory's Speed Shop at different times were both THE place in Richmond to buy go-fast goodies.
Did not the Asphalt Angels put on a annual car show ? I remember seeing Dyno Don Nicholson match race there. I think he got like $2000.00 show money . Pulled the car out of the trailer , took the front end off. Checked engine over , put front end back on. Staged, red lighted and loaded back up. There use to be a yellow bug done up like pacman with a wind up key out the back like wind up toys use to have. A big hit with the kids.
Yes, they do – good eye! They've been doing an annual car show here in Richmond since 1962.
That chopped Anglia looked a little like Gene Altizer's A/Gasser, but that was painted by late-'64 or '65 I believe. @0ldracer might be able to identify it (and others in this video). I have a hunch this was more like '66 or so because that's the Tasca Mystery 8 (9) Mustang around the 3:30 mark, and I don't think those cars were out in '65, though not 100% sure. Kinda convenient that Richmond Dragway is only about 20 minutes from the new HQ, eh Joey?
Think Joey is starting to like the new digs! More to come, I'm sure.
Great vintage photos, thanks for posting them.
Some friends and I went to see The Ramchargers there in 1965 or 1966? long time ago, it seems
Actually, Joey is still living in San Francisco (i.e., he’s a tele-commuting TRJ employee).
May be....................but he wishes he were Here!
Joey was reportedly seen several times around Richmond this past month. But he has now disappeared, allegedly heading back to the Left Coast. More like a fox laying down a false trail, if you ask me.... Last spotted headed West, toting a big stack of Southern Gothic novels under his arm.
Dragway founder Joe Weis with, well, you-know-who.
Here is the link to the thread Joey wrote about the shop the family continues to operate here in the city, Lakeside Auto:
And here is Joe in his '55:
Difficult to overestimate what influence these guys had on speed around Richmond:
This Richmond native, Dickey Flippin, worked in California for Mickey Thompson before returning to town. Pictured here at Emporia, a now-defunct drag strip with a rich history, too, RIP.
Local Bonneville legend Willie Glass, who lived practically in the back yard of the Dragway, owned several dragsters.
Here is Jive-Bomber's thread on one of his cars:
And Pee Wee Wallace in The Virginian (pictured in an earlier post), always garaged his race cars locally, but campaigned everywhere against everybody:
And guys like Slick Patterson with his custom, cruised the dragstrip and the streets, pictured here on Brook Road (aka US 1), not all that far from the Dragway:
And other innovators like the Tyson Brothers, who ran a garage off of Lafayette Street in the city, the first guys around town to master the AV8 swap. Their arch rivals were a bunch of hooligans who favored '40 coupes, and ran a garage up the street on the now-fashionable Grove Avenue. There was a body shop at the head of Carytown in the city- where now stands Panera Bread- who were chopping coupes in the early '60s (they did my buddy's '34 right before he went into the Navy).
Most famous of these "little guys" in Richmond was young rodder
Bill Kane, Sr., whose '32 five-window was un-earthed after being sealed in a garage for decades by local fabricator and builder, Doug Walker, at Walker-Smith Speed Shop. Blown Y-Block up front and a Hallibrand quick change in the rear :
Richmond Dragway was a hotspot for sure. Lots of action back in the day.
Wow, you just woke up some great memories. In 1972 I was still living in Hampton Va. and I drove my 1972 Pontiac Gran Prix to Richmond with the trunk full of my 1969 302 Z/28 engine pieces for Hoehns & Eanes to do all the machine work. My car at that time was a 1955 Chevy Belair 2dr. Hardtop. I bought the car from a local Hampton drag racer Billy Tisdale. The Car was painted British Racing Green and named “Yosimite Sam”. Thanks for the memories!!
Thanks for sharing. That was so cool
Very familiar name.
Okay what years was Louisa Dragway in business ?
I looked it up. 1959 to 1965. 1/5 mile and a 10th of a mile run off. Now that's two thrills in one run.
8mm home movies of Louisa:
And what Louisa looks like today:
Sonny Mallory, owner of the legendary Mallory Speed Shop in Richmond on the Boulevard, at Louisa Dragstrip:
^^^Interesting mounting of fuel canister^^^^
I love the history lesson on Louisa Dragway . I for one really appreciate you posting the videos. Thanks
Originally posted by HEMI32, I though these would be perfect to clean up and
present as a collection. By the way, this is done as an 8x10.
That early Corvette in that movie from Louisa was a local fellow from here in the Valley, Wayne Hussey. The car had a 409 for power. It was a bit of a legend "back in the day".
He must have been quite a racer. Here is an ad from the Harrisonburg newspaper from July, 1971 announcing a weekly card for yet another legendary racetrack in Central Virginia, Eastside Speedway in nearby Waynesboro, VA. Wayne Hussey is in the lineup.
It isn't difficult to imagine racing at Richmond, Louisa and Eastside on a regular basis- with maybe Manasas and New London near Bedford, VA just for a change of pace. Way-back-when there were quite a few dragstrips operating in Virginia and the Carolinas (Person County Drag Strip near Roxboro, NC comes to mind) Racers willing to travel just a little had plenty of venues, each one unique, overflowing with local flavor.
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