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Folks Of Interest When did you first go to the drags, who do you remember from "the day"??

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Gary Reynolds, Jun 29, 2017.

  1. My first was the spring of 65 at Woodburn, conned my Dad into taking me to see the Hawaiian! I just realized that was FIFTY YEARS AGO,ALMOST EXACTLY!!
    VERY COOL! I WAS 12!!!!! Don't recall who they raced.Saw Leong at Famosa a while back, he got a kick out of this, gave me some "Hawaiian" t shirts.A Nice guy!
    Impressed by Ruth, Goodell, McCulloch, Gary Coe's Gunfighter, Garlits and Ivo. Rhonda, Bovan, Sneaky Pete, The Groundshakers, Ringer & SAunders .Pete Kost, Bill Ireland, Colletti, Cal Method! A whole bunch of 60 racers ! WONDERFUL TIMES!!
    How about you??
    Did a search, did not find a similar thread though I swear there was one.So F'n what? When was your first time??
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2017
  2. My first trip to the drags was at Fremont drag way near Pleasanton California, here I was 14 years old and I was in awe of all those racers. Good times.

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
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  3. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 3,969


    Wasn't really the first time at the drags, but it was in the first Summer that we used to go to US 30. It was in 1966 when Dick La Haie pulled in with a station wagon pulling an open two axle trailer carrying his fuel dragster. By himself, no crew, he just picked up help in the pits. I was the wide eyed 17 year old that helped him pack the chute.
  4. WZ JUNK
    Joined: Apr 20, 2001
    Posts: 1,751

    from Neosho, MO

    1966 Ozark, Missouri. A man died in a front engine rail. I have never forgot watching that run. His chute failed and he went off the track in the shut down area. A sad day.

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  5. GeezersP15
    Joined: Dec 4, 2011
    Posts: 555

    from N.E. PA

    Probably around 1964. Numidia Dragways in PA. A guy was at the line, the christmas tree lit, he nailed it, and to his embarassment...he was in reverse. Damn near ran over a staff member, and his car had to be towed off the track.:eek:
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  6. robracer1
    Joined: Aug 3, 2015
    Posts: 488


    It was not my first time but one I remember the most, a little drag strip in Dallas GA. around 1967 had the Hurst hairy Oldsmobile perform, what a showman and show all 4 tires smoking all the way down the 1/4 mile.
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  7. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 15,616

    from oregon

    What Gary said.
    Not till about 1970 though, started helping a friend with his 66 Hemi Belvedere 2 door sedan, factory 2x4, 4 speed, Dana 60, etc, ran SS/D mostly. That Hemi wanted to eat itself and the rest of the car alive at will so always wrenching on something.
    Woodburn, PIR, Balboa and Madras were the usual tracks.
    Saw all the NW heavy hitters just as Gary did, but always had Kenney Goodell as a hometown favorite in Funny Car.
    Another big treat for me was seeing Bill Jenkins race one of his first Pro/Stock Vegas at PIR.
    els likes this.
  8. cs39ford
    Joined: May 1, 2012
    Posts: 864


    It was around 1967. Union grove Wisconsin track. My school Buddy and his older brother were racing that night They had a nova called Deuces Wild. My first trip to the strip. I was hooked.
    els and Montana1 like this.
  9. 26hotrod
    Joined: Nov 28, 2009
    Posts: 964

    from landis n c

    My first time was at Concord drag strip(not Zmax)with Frankie Poston. Ronnie Sox was there with Mr.409. This was in early 1960s. Sox won the race by beating a long list of Fords. I am 72yo now and it seams like yesterday............
    els and CornfieldPerformance like this.
  10. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 6,320

    Marty Strode

    The first race that I attended was at the McMinnville, Oregon Airport, August 1960, just short of my 12th birthday. The car that sticks in my mind was a robins egg blue 36 Ford Roadster, with a Pontiac engine. The rear tires were still hazing at the finish line ! Years later I found out that it was Tip Angel of the Slo-Poks, who would go on to team up with Mike Grimm to race a Kent Fuller AA/D, with a blown Pontiac.
    els and 32Rules like this.
  11. buffaloracer
    Joined: Aug 22, 2004
    Posts: 806

    from kansas

    The first drag race that I attended was at the airport in Coffeyville , Kansas. Probably 1961. I remember a 1960 Chevrolet convert. being the fastest stocker there. Turned out to be future world champion Norwin Palmer.
    els likes this.
  12. fyrffytr1
    Joined: Dec 20, 2016
    Posts: 405


    In the early 60s I went to the Mason Dixon Dragway outside of Hagerstown, Md. to see TV Tommy Ivo run his 4 Buick engine powered Dragster.
    els likes this.
  13. Larry Anderson
    Joined: Jul 15, 2013
    Posts: 175

    Larry Anderson

    My dad gave me a baptism by nitro when I was about 2 or 3 years old. We were living in Boise Idaho at the time and we went to one of the "Night of Fire" races in I'm guessing 1973. I can close my eyes and still see the "Green Elephant" Vega Funny Car. Scared the crap out of me but didn't deter me. Bracket raced my truck last night at PIR and had to turn down a chance to get my super comp license today and tomorrow through the Frank Hawley school. Had a couple of fun chats with fuel pilot Jeff Arend this past week.

    Sent from my XT1585 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    els likes this.
  14. 1961 Osceola Dragway, Indiana, a guy named Whitey had an Allison powered rail, big, heavy and made a lot of noise, cool!!!
    els likes this.
  15. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,215

    seb fontana
    from ct

    Yes, like it was yesterday..While going for a ride with my older sister I talked her in to stopping at Connecticut Dragway..Had to have been in the first or second year of operation in the fall and it was pretty cool..Only one rail and he couldn't make it off the line; maybe Bud Pinto..The other cars that ran were mostly stockers or low gas class, must have been pre lights too but don't remember a flag man..Didn't stay long, sis was irritated with me..
    els likes this.
  16. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 1,866

    from kansas

    Don't remember the first time but I remember the most memorable.

    Long time ago gene snow vs. Don prudomme grudge match, best 2 out of 3.

    Snow got to the line, did his burn out and staged, Don just seat there refusing to stage. Finally he did and the ran. Don won, gene said his motor got to hot and he let off on the big end. 2nd up, same thing again but gene won. 3rd round same thing except don took alittle longer. But this time when he staged gene killed his engine, jumped out, threw his helmet and started running at prudhomme, Don got out and the crews kept them apart.

    Now that's a grudge match !!
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  17. Terry Buffum
    Joined: Mar 20, 2008
    Posts: 293

    Terry Buffum
    from Oregon

    1952 at Santa Ana. I remember the Bean Bandits, both Chrismans, "Ike", Ollie Morris' "White Owl". I've sent 8mm film from that era to Jimmy B, so perhaps some of it will be savable and he can share it.
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  18. Madras, Oregon in 64 or 65. Bill Ireland was running a Ford Thunderbolt. Came off the line and immediately sheared off all the studs on the left rear axle....I remember seeing the Blue Max..a 57 ford custom 300 all blue candy with gold leaf lettering. It seems like it was an altered wheelbase car but I could be wrong. I was supposed to be helping a buddy from high school run his white/black 55 ford tudor with a junkyard 390/4 speed. When we got to the track he tried to start the engine to find some asshole had put nuts and bolts down the carb while the car was parked at the junkyard shop, where he worked...
    One of the guys from my home town [Redmond] drove his almost new yellow 64 impala, 327/4 speed, to Madras and he broke the rear end on the line...locked up and they had to remove his car with a floor jack under the pumpkin.
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  19. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    Member Emeritus

    I've said this before; Puyallup Dragway, 1968. Went with a high school friend, and when we were walking through the pits/staging lanes, he pulls me out of the way of a speeding Ford pickup truck that would have run me over for sure. Truck was being driven by a guy named Jerry Ruth, who thought he was royalty or something. I have never liked that guy since that day, and when he got busted for drug trafficking, it was payback time for me. I still see him at swap meets and shows; the guy still has't been circumcised, there's no end to that pr*ck! JMO.
    I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
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  20. Frank Carey
    Joined: Oct 15, 2009
    Posts: 539

    Frank Carey

    1956 Allentown, PA. 18 years old. Most memorable car was a club entered hi-boy fuel roadster. Much theatrics - members with brooms sweeping in front of car before each run. Turned around 109 mph. No ET in those day. And lots of new stick shift Olds and Pontiacs.
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  21. jseery
    Joined: Sep 4, 2013
    Posts: 743

    from Wichita KS

    Around 64 at Wichita KS. Being in the center of the lower states almost all of the big names would stop at the Wichita track on their way back and forth across the U.S. Started racing a B/A in 65, my avatar is the early building stages of that car.
    els likes this.
  22. Fedcospeed
    Joined: Aug 17, 2008
    Posts: 2,011


    Its funny how this subject came up this morning. last night I spent some time with Dean Johnson,former owner of Niagara Drag Strip,been called by a couple names also..Niagara Airport Drag Strip etc. The track was right across a field from my grandfathers sheet metal shop . And close enough to my house that we could hear the roar every Sunday. SUNDAY...NIAGARA can still hear that radio commercial.

    Anyway, after looking at some of his collection and hearing some stories,it refreshed my memory of all the greats that were there.You name em,they ran at that track.As a kid the wheel standers were a big deal.I can still see Little Red Wagon, Back up Pickup, LA Dart and on and on. I have a clear memory of standing next to Hemi Under glass in the Pits. Sometimes if one of the family grownups couldnt take us over,we would sit on the roof of the shop and watch. We had easy parking too at the shop.
    I am going to try and purchase some items from Mr Johnson and will be sharing some gems in a future thread.This stuff is so cool!! Metal fabrication and racing,either strip or dirt track,it all started by doing what the grown ups were into. My dad is one of the original Ransomville Slowpokes Car Club Members ( still has his jacket) that actually built Ransomville Speedway at its present location. 60 years strong this summer. Thanks Gramps and Pops!!!
    els likes this.
  23. Chaz
    Joined: Feb 24, 2004
    Posts: 5,016

    Member Emeritus

    I thought it was pretty boring. Ten seconds of racing, one car usually broke, a half hour of disorganized track cleanup, someone stumbling at the lights and re-positioning, ten more seconds of mismatched racing etc. Not a spectator sport in my opinion.
    els likes this.
  24. RidgeRunner
    Joined: Feb 9, 2007
    Posts: 906

    from Western MA

    Cousin took me to Orange MA Aug '59. On the way back parked in a pull off along Rt 202 south we went by dragster being flat towed with a rope! IIRC Maroon B/D, Buick power, home built chassis. I've been blessed to have since met and got to know many who were running that day but so far no one remembers anything about that particular car. Anybody have any info?

    els likes this.
  25. bowie
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 2,807


    1968 as an 11 year old tagging along with my sisters boyfriend , who was pitting for local Bill McGee with his '65 Chevelle 327/300 post coupe. First of many times spent at Maple Grove, York US 30, Atco, Cecil county Md. and Englishtown. Saw a lot of heavy hitters , and a boatload of good times , mostly in the pre bracket racing days.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017
    els likes this.
  26. Chavezk21
    Joined: Jan 3, 2013
    Posts: 677


    Around 1980ish in Medford Oregon, with my dad, cousin and uncle. Don't remember which cars as much as the smell of nitro and the loudness of it all. Makes me chuckle just thinking about it.
    els likes this.
  27. First was probably at Aquasco or 75/80 in Maryland in early 60's. Most memorable was US-30 in York on a cool [literally] night meet with Don Garlits running the field. We had packed a cooler and the ice had melted making for some soggy [pre-Ziploc] sandwiches.
    els likes this.
  28. ken bogren
    Joined: Jul 6, 2010
    Posts: 939

    ken bogren

    1962, my older brother Tom took me with him to Minnesota Dragways. That went on until the early 1970s if I recall the later years right.
    els likes this.
    Joined: May 13, 2013
    Posts: 35


    My birthday is early in May and so was the opening weekend of Eddyville Dragway. My brother took me to the races for the first time in 1971 when I was 14. It was way better than Car Craft, Hot Rod and even SSDi! Even then I was drawn to the Stockers and Super Stocks. Beautiful paint, noise, and smoke.
    I think my ears rang for a couple of days afterwards. One cool thing was all the cars seemed to have names, Nurotic, Led Zeppelin, Mouse House and the James Gang come to mind. Still go there after all these years, a bunch of them after racing there and elsewhere.
    els likes this.
  30. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,295


    now that a couple of guys have chimed in that they first went in the 70s/80s, I can too....

    My folks never took me when I was a kid, so I had to wait until I got my driver license. 1978, AHRA Winternationals, the big names were was pretty wild.
    els likes this.

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