Register now to get rid of these ads!

History Southern WV hot rodding 1950s-1980s pics and stories thread

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by niterunner71, Mar 31, 2013.

  1. niterunner71
    Joined: Nov 26, 2010
    Posts: 102

    niterunner71
    Member

    I have lived in Bluefield WV all my life and like many, have watched the area slowly die. But will always remember there car stories I heard from my dad and others about hot rodding in the area back in the day. I was in my teens in the late 80s and cruising was till big on Mercer Street in Princeton WV and the Bluefield City Park parking lot at Mitchell Stadium was a big hangout as well as "on top of the mountain" (East River Mountain Overlook.) Even in the late 80s there were some pretty nice cars running around. I think in the mid 90s the cities of bluefield and Princeton wv banned large gatherings and cruising. I remember Big Als Dragway in Richlands VA back around 1984-86 a lot of 1/8th mile bracket action on Saturday nights in the summer seems to me there were some tri five chevies, straight axle novas, and I will always remember Mike Phillips' "Two Ton Honey" 62 impala ragtop. I think 86 was the last year Big Als was open.
    Before my day my dad always talked about Bluefield Drive In (BDI) and Kollege Drive In (KDI) and the action at those spots as well as the street racing on the unopened section of I77 near the east river mountain tunnel in the early 70s. As well as street racing "out under the bridge" (bluefielders will know what I am talking about), on falls mills road and out at speedway. Dad ran his 63 falcon sprint ragtop at Big Als (known as Cedar Hills Dragway then). There was another drag strip at Beckley WV then I think and one in Roanoke Va. The reason I post this is I would like to hear from anyone who remembers these days. I know a lot of people left the area in the 80s and 90s when the area began to die. If you have any pics please post them and share any stories. Would love to hear anything.
     
  2. niterunner71
    Joined: Nov 26, 2010
    Posts: 102

    niterunner71
    Member

    just found this, thought I would post it, supposedly taken at Roanoke Va drag strip back in 1958. looks like an early hemi with crank driven blower in a primitive rail job
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Thanks for posting. The same thing happended in the Charleston / Huntington, WV area. Kanawha City was once "the strip" with cruising and parking on the many lots along McCorkle Avenue until the city banned it. The "old" Winfield Drag Strip was purchased by a wood company in the 1980's and is currently used to store logs.

    Fortunately, a DVD has been created from old 8mm movies of racing at Winfield, Beckley, Ona and Proctorville (Ohio) racetracks. "There will never be days like those again"!

    FWIW, plans are currently underway for the formation of a WV Drag Racer's Hall of Fame. The purpose will be the preservation of the rich racing heritage of our area. The inagural class of racers will be inducted at the Charleston Boulevard Rod Run & Doo Wop Car Show October 2-6, 2013. The first group of inductees will represent racing from the 1950's. The plan is for an additional group of racers to be included each year at Doo Wop. A permanent museum display of artifacts is being established to include photographs, mementos, trophies, etc. Currently, sponsors for the project are being sought and names collected for consideration for inclusion in this year's class.

    Jim
     
  4. thedrick
    Joined: Jun 29, 2012
    Posts: 10

    thedrick
    Member
    from latrobe pa

    also from the area now in pittsburgh.. my dad said they used to race on rt 20 all the time. and i remember as a kid going to princeton drag with my uncles car, the pageton rambler. that strip is now a trailer park. i cant wait to get my 49 done and then go to lynns drive in for a slaw dog
     
    Register now to get rid of these ads!

  5. niterunner71
    Joined: Nov 26, 2010
    Posts: 102

    niterunner71
    Member

    Hot Rod Grille, keep me posted about the DVD I want one for sure.

    thedrick I actually live on rt20 ask your Dad if he knew Raymond Fagg, Stan Taylor, the Mattox brothers Steve and Jim, Claude Atkins and Lee Severt. Princeton Dragway didn't last too long, a lot of guys complained about it said it was uneven, most would agree Big Al's in Richlands Va was much better. I think most racers kinda moved away from Princeton Dragway and started going to Elk Creek again. Lynns Drive in is till there and going strong. pass it everyday on the way to work. They had cruise ins there regularly but it changed hands in the last couple years and they no longer do that. The food is still as memorable as ever though. They do have cruise ins now at Sterling Drive in in Welch though, good place there too. I am trying to get my 40 coupe done this year too, at least driveable. if you wanna come down sometime when you have yours done and cruise a little feel free to give me a shout.
    And another note, there is talks of opening cruising up on Mercer Street in Princeton. I need to get more info on this from the Princeton-Bluefield hot rodders group on facebook.
     
  6. xracer40
    Joined: Jun 20, 2010
    Posts: 303

    xracer40
    Member

    I raced a lot in that area back in 84 and 85. I ran at Big Al's a couple of times,Elk Creek several times and also at Princeton. Mostly I ran at Raleigh County Dragway just outside of Beckly. I won the Pro class champion there in 1985. Lots of trips up and down the WV Turnpike.
    The picture below was taken at Elk Creek.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. niterunner71
    Joined: Nov 26, 2010
    Posts: 102

    niterunner71
    Member

    I really really miss Big Al's. Had a lot of fun there in the early and mid 80s. I was just a kid then but remember well the action every weekend.
     
  8. My father was Russell Phillips and we ran Big Als back in the 80s as well. No relation to Mike Phillips and 2 Ton Honey but dad ran a 62 impala black in color. Ill look for some pics of it and i know i have some of 2 ton.
     
  9. Chappy444
    Joined: Jan 27, 2012
    Posts: 865

    Chappy444
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Maryland HAMBers

    sorry i can't help with the anything about WV, but your story pretty much describes my town at that time.
    change the names and it is about identical
    instead of:...
    ...southern WV it was far Westeren NY
    ...Mercer Street it was 3rd st.
    ...on top of the mountain it was the reservoir
    ...Big Als Dragway it was Lancaster Dragway, Stateline speedway and Eirez speedway.
    Sorry, not trying to HiJack this thread. I started driving (legally) in 83 and left for the service in 87 and this post just brought back a flood of memories from that time in my life.
    Thanks!!!!
     

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2020 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.