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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. RmK57
    Joined: Dec 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,999


    This was taken in 1968 at Mission raceway. After hounding my dad for a couple months he finally took me out. I'm the one facing the camera, must have 11 years old.

    mission 68.jpg
    D type, Sky Six, 57 300 and 2 others like this.
  2. rd martin
    Joined: Nov 14, 2006
    Posts: 2,450

    rd martin
    from indiana

    lots of memories at our local track like everybody else! rode bike out when I was eleven years old about 15 miles to track, crawled under fence, about 1964, hooked! watching the tail end of the short rails, and the long! Beswick,nicolson, garlits ivo, arfons, when arfons ran,he burnt the paint off our timing shack,so they moved it over, then when he ran, they put gates out to the county road, they would open them up at nite, houses across the street of course, he would blow flames over the street on his launch. it was quite a site with the cops blocking the road so he wouldn't burn the locals up going down the road! then the funny car invation, stories about Raymond beadle I wont tell, great times! I raced there for a few years, hanging out with the buddies,and the girls. gear oil in my hair, and no money in my pocket! had to street race , to make money to track race! sure miss it! us 30 dragstrip gary indiana
    FinnishFireball likes this.
  3. putz
    Joined: Jan 22, 2007
    Posts: 583

    from wisc.

    Union Grove,wisc. , Green Monster, breaks 200 mph .........................;)
  4. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 5,814

    from Ks

    Wow, what memories we all have. We lived in Sunnyvale calif, I was young about 6 years old or so Dad wired missiles at Lockheed. He would take my brother Leon and I to Fremont . I remember seeing Ivo's four engine car, the untouchable jet dragster of Romeo Palimedes. The Dodge Chargers, blown and injected factory cars there. Got a ride in a glider on my brothers lap in the front cockpit at Les Arnolds glider port next door to the strip. I got to pull the red release knob to cut the glider loose from the super cub. :D It was five bucks for a glider ride. Jeez that was before Kennedy got shot so must have been 64 or so?
  5. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,539


    My first trip to the drag strip...I was racing that day.
  6. vinfab
    Joined: Apr 18, 2006
    Posts: 233


    1968. I was 13 and my younger brother,12. We had an older cousin who offered to take us to the local Dragstrip, Thunder Valley Raceways, Marion SD. It was their first year of operation (still owned and operated by Glenn Rapp) and my brother and I were, as car crazy kids, very excited to be going. It only got better. When my cousin came to pick us up, he was driving a 64 Impala SS, 409/425 4 speed, and he rowed thru the gears every chance he got on the 60 mile round trip.

    There were only local cars there, and I only remember one. A yellow 55 Chevy, straight axle Gasser ( and this car still exists). Between the ride there and back, and the day at the track it was sensory overload. It was definitely my high water mark for the year.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
    vetteguy402 likes this.
  7. BigDogSS
    Joined: Jan 8, 2009
    Posts: 915

    from SoCal

    1978 at the famed Orange County International Raceway (OCIR). Every Saturday, they ran brackets. I was 15 years old. No one in my immediate family was into cars like I was. My older cousin brought me there to watch his friend with a bad-ass 1970 Cuda w/440. It was cool to see the iconic octagon OCIR tower and the variety of race cars.
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 3,889


    This letter I wrote to the West Coast Willys Club pretty well summarizes why going to the drags in my teens became such an important part of my life. I went to Thompson Drag Raceway in the '60s specifically to see it run.

  9. Wow! Forgot all about this thread! Anybody else care to post?
  10. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 6,708


    Earliest memory from the pits. Looking into an FED and seeing the rear axle right in there with a butterfly wheel, like t[​IMG]his:
    Gary Reynolds likes this.
    Joined: Jun 23, 2006
    Posts: 1,484


    US Nationals - 1971 - drove my SL120 Honda to the tree across from the burn out lane - climbed the tree and watched the finals - best seat in the house!!
    57 300 likes this.
  12. slim tempo
    Joined: Sep 16, 2010
    Posts: 412

    slim tempo

    1966 Dover Drag Strip, Wingdale, NY. Afterwards, at 16 years old we went to the Tally-Ho Lounge in Amenia, NY and were served beer !
    The37Kid likes this.
  13. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,980

    from SW Wyoming

    The first one I went to, other than the Wednesday Grudge deal, was the '94 Springnationals at National Trail Raceway, at Kirkersville. Got to see Bernstein, Prudhomme and Force, and got their signatures on a copy of National Dragster. My late neighbor developed cancer a few years ago, and he being a huge John Force fan, he wound up with that copy. I had seen fuel cars at exhibition deals before, but this was the first time that I really noticed just how hard they pounded the ground. One pass without earplugs was all it took. Here in Wyoming, the strip at Douglas is gone, along with RMR, leaving the 1/8th mile in Evanston the only track around.
  14. Bob McGinley C A Minnesota Dragways Star Tribune August 12th.jpg

    Said to be 1961
  15. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 9,005


    Dad used to take me to the local drags at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast when I was a kid. It's south of my home and like a lot of old race tracks it's now been subdivided and a housing estate. Although he wasn't into cars dad took me to the local hot rod show probably under sufferance.;)
    I eventually grew up and got a car so I went to the drags with all my car friends for street meets to race our cars and other organised events including the Winternationals. Later I took my son when he was young and he loved it. Almost everyone else I knew eventually grew out of cars however I persevered as have a few similar age older guys that I know, we still go to the new drag strip now at Willowbank for nostalgia and other meets.
    It was closed in 1987 after opening in 1966. After visiting an interstate drag strip a local developer decided to build a motorsports complex with drag strip, circuit, and airstrip with speedway coming later. What he saw interstate was nil safety precautions, primitive and/or rudimentary spectator facilities however he looked past that and saw the crowds and the income it would generate. So it was born. Not bad for an old sugar cane cane field.
    Don't recall the names however US based drag racers would come out, I recall Wild Bill Shrewsberry for some reason?


    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  16. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 8,139


    1964 Union Grove Wisconsin, took my 57 Chevy and it was a learning experience, enjoyed it all, I was and am a dizzy track guy but have made some drag events through the years. IMO all car events are a "Happening"
    Joined: Oct 22, 2017
    Posts: 116


    i was 15 years old and went to conn drag way and i asked my friend why do they keep calling that a ...BIG ASS it is a b.gasser....
  18. 1974 at Dragway 42 in Ohio. We kept rooting for a 427 Chevy rail dragster VS the Hemi's. He didn't finish. :( also saw my first rocket car. We stood at a chain link fence at the mid point of the track. just a few car lengths from the track too. Crazy.
  19. Ziggster
    Joined: Aug 27, 2018
    Posts: 922


    First memory is going to the St. Thomas, Ontario drag way back in the eighties. There were still plenty of local drag ways back then, but most are now gone. Been to the Mopar nationals a few times, and will never forget the time a 383 Roadrunner with open headers passed by. I thought the engine pulses were going to dislodge my heart.
  20. 1964. Garden City Ks., the strip was a runway next to the airport leftover from WW2. The Gallahads car club ran it. I remember that the fence was so far back that you didn't have a sensation of speed as the cars went by. No top fuelers, a blown gas dragster and some Willy's gassers. Lots of street cars. One of my friends later in life had a 63 nova 2 door hardtop that got outrun by a 58 chevy. That hurt his feelings. :)
  21. Beautiful Iron
    Joined: Apr 4, 2018
    Posts: 107

    Beautiful Iron
    from Upstate NY

    My uncle brought me to Lebanon Valley here in NY to see John Force in 1998, I was 5. His crew started his car without moving a group of spectators away from the merchandise trailer next to their pit area and it was like being tear gassed. I remember having fun otherwise though.
  22. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 5,359


    In 1969 or 70 my friends and I went to the Nationals at Tulsa International. We paid the extra money for pit side. Walking around the pits, we came upon the Sox and Martin car. They were changing plugs after their last run. There where N-3G Champion spark plugs everywhere on the ground. I asked if I could have them as that’s what fit my 1968 Trimph Bonifield. They said sure, help yourself, we’re done with them. I pick up 16 plugs with 1/4 mile on them. Well both my Triumphs couldn’t use 16 plugs in their life time. Still have some of those plugs in my old tool box.

    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
  23. My story is reminiscent of Greg Koesel's above. In '64 my sister just got her driver's license and I turned 14 and had discovered Rod & Custom and Hot Rod magazines. I saw that there was a drag race at Famoso drag strip and begged my sister to take me that Sunday afternoon. The strip was about a half hour drive from our home and when we got there the race was about over. To top it all off, I couldn't afford to pay my way in let alone my sister's so we stood outside the barbed wire fence on the east side of the track and got glimpses of the cars as they staged and launched. It was magical. Then two Willys coupe came to the line, did giant wheelies and took off like scorched rabbits. I vowed then and there to own a Willys gasser. Found one the next year in a classmate's car port, tracked down a hemi from another classmate, bought a wrecked '56 Olds for rear end and tranny (realized I needed a '54 -'55 tranny so traded the dual fluid coupling '56 to another classmate for a '54 Dual Range), saved up all summer and bought the car for $75. Took me 30 years to get it finished. Have had it ever since.
    Me at the March Meet, 2008.jpg
    Finn Jensen likes this.
  24. Ziggster
    Joined: Aug 27, 2018
    Posts: 922


    As a young engineer straight out of university working at General Motors Diesel Division (now General Dynamics Land Systems) I was thrown into designing an air-conditioning system for the Light Armoured Vehicle. Not knowing a thing about a/c we enlisted the services of Kydd Radiator not far away. I recall working and listening very intently as Bill Kydd explained the inner workings of automotive a/c systems. Without his service and support we were lost. He was always patient, kind, and willing to answer all sorts of questions, and would come by at a moments notice when us "engineers" had a "problem". It was only now after reading this thread that my memory was jogged about his racing past. He never talked much about it, and now I feel even more honoured to have known and worked with him.
  25. In early sixties went frequently to Half Moon Bay Drags. TV Tommy Ivo with both his 4 engine dragster and his single engine Hemi which was faster. Stone Woods Cook always fun to watch. On a few occasions made it North to Cotatti. Was amazed by Big Al with Allison 16 cylinder aircraft engine with driver (pilot? Lol) in back seat. Back then they were close to 200 mph in the quarter but no one had broke it yet.
    2 years ago made it to TV Tommy Ivo birthday party at NHRA Museum.
    Last drag strip visit was 10 years ago on Maui when we did an exhibition cruise down the 1/4 in my wife's 1937 Chev pickup with 327. Big Al lives on Maui now.
    Sure wish Lubbock had a drag strip!
    Rex Winter wishing you well
  26. Bearing Burner
    Joined: Mar 2, 2009
    Posts: 946

    Bearing Burner
    from W. MA

    My first drag race was in 1959 at Orange Mass airport I was15. Wally Market had a C/Dragster and held the National Record for several years.
  27. Offset
    Joined: Nov 9, 2010
    Posts: 1,706

    from Canada

    Went to St. Thomas Dragway for the first time in 1963 (maybe 1964). The one car I recall and have never seen a picture of was an FX Thunderbolt I think called the Flying Farmer out of Michigan. It just caught my attention and never forgot it
  28. Well, was I the only one at the Gooding, Idaho abandon airport track about 1966 that saw the ~1959 primer grey Vet lose the front U-joint at the traps and do a really long reverse wheelie out the back while the rear axle piroqeted, M-60's and all, out into the hay field next door? There have to be pictures somewhere!
  29. 6sally6
    Joined: Feb 16, 2014
    Posts: 1,795


    1964.......Spartanburg Dragstrip My Mom and Dad took me (because I was too young to drive at night) The big attraction was E J Potter the Michigan Madman!
    First time I ever saw a dragster smoke the tires the whole quarter!
    Big 427 Galaxys and MoPars galore. Hated to see the night end. My folks thought it was pretty cool to see me so ecxited.
    I was hooked
  30. HotRod Jones
    Joined: Jan 30, 2014
    Posts: 22

    HotRod Jones
    from Spokane

    As a junior in high school at age 17 while returning from an early spring basketball game, we stopped in to view what must have been the first race of the year at Madras, Oregon in 1964. I had already been involved building hot rods for three years with the related street racing, but being at my first sanctioned drag race was very impactful in my life. Three weeks later my buddy and I were back to race our car at Madras which was a 4 hour drive. I was most impressed with a 413 powered T Bucket owned by the track operator (who later managed Woodburn for many years and maybe still does for all I know.) I was so impressed that I built my own 426 Max T-bucket .jpg Wedge powered T Bucket over the course of two summers and raced it once in Boise in 1966 at the Boise Police Association race at Gowen Field. Then life happened and even though I continued to build hot rods I was never on a drag strip again until 2010 or 11 and I continue to race 4-5 times per year at Spokane and also participate in the Billetproof nostalgia race in Toutle, Wa. JUST HAVING FUN !!!
    Finn Jensen likes this.

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