What's new

Random Thoughts-From A Geezer (1 Viewer)

[email protected]

Nitro Member
Geezer thoughts again.

Modified Eliminator was such an awesome, high-revin' gear banging joy to watch.

Super Comp and Super Gas are a waste of nice machinery due to all the electronics.

Was Billy "the kid" Scott one of the purest dragster drivers of the 60s' ? Yes!

While there are many from days gone by and some still today, 2 strips are at the top of my most dangerous strips to race or spectate at. Yellow River in Georgia, the place where Houston Platt's Dixie Twister changed many things. Today, this mess in southeastern Alabama, Phenix City Dragway. You name it, just about everything about this death trap is wrong. Especially crowd control.

I thing the Tom Hanna style full-bodied fuelers were some of the most gorgeous race cars ever. Tom Hoover, the Assasin, Smirnoff, Jim Nichol, Atlas Oil Tool Special and many others.

The Fuel Altered Nationals at the old Tuscon Dragway were awesome.

Brownies Concessions at San Fernando had some good grub.


While Roger's history lesson of Lions was correct, at the time it was the place to be on Saturday nights, as I canvased every inch of the place, Lions had "character" and that is one of the many reasons it was the greatest weekly drag strip ever. That track wrote the book, set the script, and led to many innovations for the future.

Larry McFarland's fire at the Grand Premier at Lions was one of the worst ever.



[email protected]
Talladega Announcer
 

glofria

Nitro Member
DOES ANYONE HAVE A T SHIRT IN XL OR XXL FOR SALE FROM ANY OF THE PREVIOUS EVENTS ?......PREFER NEW AND STILL LOOKING FOR A PAT FOSTER TRIBUTE SHIRT........NO.......CONTRARY TO OTHERS......I'M NOT A RICH MAN.........
May I suggest contacting Cindy Gibbs via email (found on the website). If anyone has some left overs, she would.
 

Cliff

Nitro Member
I went to the last ever Fuel Altered Nats at the old Tucson track. They had alky altereds as well as nitro. I think this race still lives on at other tracks / formats. I moved to Arizona in 1981, so went to the old Tucson track until it closed. They ran the AHRA Winternats there after Beeline closed. Never got to go to Beeline. When they built the "new" Tucson track, it was night & day over the old track. Still a good track today. Kinda took over from Speedworld when it closed.
 

Nick Name

Nitro Member
I agree about Lions. There was never any question where we were going on Saturday night.

I might add, that with all the nitro being run in So Calif. myselfn and a bunch of the guys never went to the winternationals. Would see that it had a bunch of east coast stuff like super stock, stock classes, etc which we were just not interested in. San Fernando was my home track. People today would never believe that a small strip like that could have a weekly nitro show and pull it off in about 4 hours.
 

Rudos1

Nitro Member
Drag Racing is not going anywhere in my humble opinion. Every era has its appeal. I can enjoy today's racing as much as when I watch the old WWOS films from my childhood on NHRA.tv..
 

Sean D, shondoo

Nitro Member
I love reading these memories from some of you self-professed "geezers", although I'm not too many steps behind in that department... Lol

Drag racing was such a big part of my life growing up. From going to the track as a youngster watching my Dad and his partner run Modified Production, to going to work for longtime Division 3 Director Jay Hullinger's parents, Jim and Mary at the Iconic Bunker Hill Dragstrip as a teenager, hand-writing E.T. slips and running the christmas tree, to ultimately getting old enough to start racing with my own family in the late '80's and continuing for many years to come.

Like somebody already mentioned, "best eras" truly are in the eyes of the beholder. I loved drag racing in the '70's, '80's and '90's, being partial to Modified Eliminator, Comp and Pro Stock, but that's not to say I didn't like fuel racing. Who watches fuel racing of any kind and is NOT dazzled?? Grew to eventually love alcohol racing as well. But hearing these memories also makes me wish I was around a little earlier as well, because they sound so cool.

The sport isn't what it used to be, that's for sure, but I still enjoy it and hope it's able to make a nice comeback.

Sean D
 

Cliff

Nitro Member
I think we should change the name "geezer" to "slightly older". hahahaha I enjoy watching videos of the Nostalgia Gasser series. All 1/8 mile, but they have real 4 speed, use the clutch to shift trannys. Straight front axle, etc. Ford, GM, Mopar. these folks really put on a show & the racing is more like late 1950's, early '60's.
Sean, you mentioned hand written ET slips. There was a system at San Fernando (I think) where the ET / MPH was hand written in the tower and then sent to the ET Shack electronically. It printed out the slip & a person in the shack / booth would give out the ET slip. I wish I still had the time slips from Fernando & Lions & Irwindale, just for nostalgia, cuz I never went fast.
 

Sean D, shondoo

Nitro Member
At Bunker, I sat down in the shack with a set of headphones on and they relayed the numbers to me with a very antiquated intercom system. In hindsight, it was an absolute joke, but as a young kid I was just tickled to death to be working at the dragstrip! Lmao! The cars would pull up to the shack to get their respective slips, then I couldn't hear the next set of numbers and would have to go back and forth 3 times to get everything right. Good times! Lol!

It felt like a giant promotion the following year when I got moved to the tower to run the christmas tree. The late Brian Olson was just getting started with announcing, so we spent many a saturday night in that tower together. Some of my best memories at the track to this day.

Sean D
 

Bob K.

Nitro Member
Here are random and highly un-organized thoughts from a drag racing geezer.

* In my view drag racing was so much better during the golden age that it is today, why? The amount of historic venues, the number of cars. the choices we had and the talent level as compared to today. Think about it, when you had Lions, O.C.I.R. Irwindale Famoso, Fremont, US 30, Green Valley, US 131 and dozens of other tracks. it was epic.

*Funny Cars had the best of years in my view in 1967, 1969, and 1975. 1977 was pretty good too.

*Miss Meyer's 5.09 at Indy was very cool, but it took so long to get to Mr. Reichert's 5.10, yes I am aware of the different rules. Does it make you wonder if the gear and nitro percentage rules were more open what the times would be? maybe 4.90's?

*Pro Stocks best years were 1970, 1985 and 1992. Egg shaped cars and low downforce of todays cars has turned the races into "I need perfect track conditions to be able to race."

*The best weekly drag strip will always be Lions.

* The best announcers at the strip were Jon Lunberg, Steve Evans, Bernie Mathers, Dave McClelland, and Bernie Partridge.

*The Best independent shows were the March Meet, Popular Hot Rod Championships, World Series, Manufacturers Funny Car Championships, Irwindale's Grand Prix and 64 Funny Car Meets and the P.D.A. meets at Lions and O.C.I.R.

*The best "door" Funny Car was Doug Thorley's Doug's Head Corvair.
*The best front-engine dragster was the Greer-Black-Snake Dragster.
*The best rear-engine fuel dragster was "Big's rail of 1975.

*The biggest losses and what if's in my view were Denny Milani, Pete Robinson, John Mulligan, John Wenderski, Blaine Johnson, and Boyd Pennington.
*Bill Jenkins, Ronnie Sox, Butch Leal, Bob Glidden, Warren Johnson, Lee Shepherd, and Frank Iaconio will always be on top of the Pro Stock list.

*Best small time strips were San Fernando and Ohio Valley.

*Best run strips as far as car count, execution of the the program was Lions..................hand down.

*Most underrated Drag Strip, Fontana Drag City.

*Best AA/FA, Winged Express, best AA/GS, Big John. Best BB/FC, Dale Armstrong's Alcoholic.

*Best starters in the sport. Larry Sutton and of course Buster.

*Best AA/GD was the Freight Train.

*Best AA/FD independent 1-day show, best run, stoutest field was the 1967 P.D.A. at Lions. 64-car field, 32 races in the first round took less than 90 minutes.

*While some of his post's I don't agree with, Beserko Bob has been around the block and I highly respect his view.

*Cliff is hands down the grand imperial poo-bah of the re-post,LOL. How about some original post's Cliff with your thoughts?

*The 2020 season has been a epic headache for the NHRA, sure glad I am not in Glenn's boots.


*The best drag strip food ever was Irwindale's hamburgers, Lions Chili Tamales and Hot Dogs and O.C.I.R's strips.


Just some of many. Celebrating only 57 years of this addiction

[email protected]
Talladega Announcer
Being an old geezer myself, (I started racing in 1961) This is the best post I've seen here in years, maybe the best ever in my never be humble opinion. I was in Palo Alto, CA so my favorite strips were Fremont, Half Moon Bay,(My uncle's paving and grading company paved that strip, so that got me hooked!) Then there was Vacaville and we made lots of trips to OCIR, Pomona, Lions, etc. I worked every summer operating heavy equipment in the paving and grading company and our rock quarry which I ended up owning. I knew Jungle Jim long before he was well known and was the first car Goodies Speed Shop ever sponsored. Had a new '62 409 Chevy, then got a deal with a Dodge dealer for three years before the dealer went under. Even ran a front engine fuel dragster for a very short time in '63. Got wise after it blew up, so I figured door slammers were safer. After I retired and moved to Las Vegas, I ran a '64 Ford Thunderbolt for about 10 years before selling it after I turned 70. Sorry to ramble on but I could probably write a book about the great people I raced with and great and not great experiences! Anyway, thanks for a great posts.
 

Ramjet

Nitro Member
At Bunker, I sat down in the shack with a set of headphones on and they relayed the numbers to me with a very antiquated intercom system. In hindsight, it was an absolute joke, but as a young kid I was just tickled to death to be working at the dragstrip! Lmao! The cars would pull up to the shack to get their respective slips, then I couldn't hear the next set of numbers and would have to go back and forth 3 times to get everything right. Good times! Lol!

It felt like a giant promotion the following year when I got moved to the tower to run the christmas tree. The late Brian Olson was just getting started with announcing, so we spent many a saturday night in that tower together. Some of my best memories at the track to this day.

Sean D
Time slips -Starts & timing when I first started were a LITTLE different. In 1957 at Double Eagle Drag Strip in San Antonio Texas they had a very advanced system. First there were two rubber hoses across the track in a little groove with one at the Starting line and one at the finish line that just gave a time no speed or winner. Some times the one on the Start line got pulled up and then no time. It was Flag Start (No Jump) and the winner was determined by one of two kids who had their T shirts off and the winning side would wave the T shirt for the starting line to see. If it was close sometimes you re-ran. Being 14 years old I had to have a minors release to run. In 1955 I saw Garlits run Vance Hunt there and no one could believe this guy from Florida could run like that much less beat Vance. I guess it wasn’t a fluke because he did pretty well for the next 50 years😎.
 

Sean D, shondoo

Nitro Member
Time slips -Starts & timing when I first started were a LITTLE different. In 1957 at Double Eagle Drag Strip in San Antonio Texas they had a very advanced system. First there were two rubber hoses across the track in a little groove with one at the Starting line and one at the finish line that just gave a time no speed or winner. Some times the one on the Start line got pulled up and then no time. It was Flag Start (No Jump) and the winner was determined by one of two kids who had their T shirts off and the winning side would wave the T shirt for the starting line to see. If it was close sometimes you re-ran. Being 14 years old I had to have a minors release to run. In 1955 I saw Garlits run Vance Hunt there and no one could believe this guy from Florida could run like that much less beat Vance. I guess it wasn’t a fluke because he did pretty well for the next 50 years😎.
Love that story, Roger! At 1957, you were nearly 30 years ahead of my experience (1985), so it sounds like the "technology" had taken quite a jump from rubber hoses! LMAO!!

Sean D
 

n/a

Nitro Member
I think we should change the name "geezer" to "slightly older". hahahaha I enjoy watching videos of the Nostalgia Gasser series. All 1/8 mile, but they have real 4 speed, use the clutch to shift trannys. Straight front axle, etc. Ford, GM, Mopar. these folks really put on a show & the racing is more like late 1950's, early '60's.
Sean, you mentioned hand written ET slips. There was a system at San Fernando (I think) where the ET / MPH was hand written in the tower and then sent to the ET Shack electronically. It printed out the slip & a person in the shack / booth would give out the ET slip. I wish I still had the time slips from Fernando & Lions & Irwindale, just for nostalgia, cuz I never went fast.
Southeast Gasser Association !!!
 

SundayNiagara

Nitro Member
Time slips -Starts & timing when I first started were a LITTLE different. In 1957 at Double Eagle Drag Strip in San Antonio Texas they had a very advanced system. First there were two rubber hoses across the track in a little groove with one at the Starting line and one at the finish line that just gave a time no speed or winner. Some times the one on the Start line got pulled up and then no time. It was Flag Start (No Jump) and the winner was determined by one of two kids who had their T shirts off and the winning side would wave the T shirt for the starting line to see. If it was close sometimes you re-ran. Being 14 years old I had to have a minors release to run. In 1955 I saw Garlits run Vance Hunt there and no one could believe this guy from Florida could run like that much less beat Vance. I guess it wasn’t a fluke because he did pretty well for the next 50 years😎.
Dunkirk NY was similar.
 

[email protected]

Nitro Member
More thoughts.

Junior Fuel, another great class created at Lions, had the largest car counts at Lions, 67 PDA, best weekly fields of any track in the country, period.

The AA/GS wars of the 60's drew so much interest.

The amount of beer consumed at any March meet would have resulted in a full billfold for a recycler. I contributed!

I visited Beeline Dragway only once, my parents and I went to Phoenix for a family deal in 67, my dad needed some nitro, it was a booked in S/XS show consisting Don Sappinton's Candid Camaro, Fast Eddie's Air Lift Rattler, Dyno Don's Comet, Gary Dyer in Mr. Norms Supercharger, Doug Thorley's Doug's Headers Corvair, Al Vanderwoode's Dart, Terry Hedrick driving Pete Seaton's Seatons Shaker and Butch Leal. At that time Beeline was wayyyyyyyy out in the dessert.

I really liked Stardust and the Las Vegas Speedrome in Vegas. Some of the Division 7 races at the Speedrome were like mini national events sans nitro.


Whatever happened to Brian Raymer?



[email protected]
Talladega Announcer
 

DanTheFan

Nitro Member
This is a great post and even though I still enjoy the racing today, it does bring back fond memories of simpler times and the start of my interest in the sport.
My brother got me started when I was 13 or 14 years old. He’d take me to the track with his buddies. They formed a team and ran a C/MP 56 Chev. It was a simple affair but Jan Cen did the motor. Indulge me for a couple memories.

They kept getting beat by a 55 named ‘aggravation’ it was nicely painted and lettered. So they decided to name theirs ‘irritation’ and letter it up. Got the four guys and girlfriends ready to paint it on. Had to get a dictionary. No one could spell it!
I got to ride in the race car being towed.
Best part was starting up the car, open headers and pushing the tow car to about 80mph.
Brother walks in the house with a hurst comp plus shifter for the car. Speed shop let him pay $5 a week to pay it off.
When my brother couldn’t go, I hitched a ride to the track and begged for a ride home. Not good practice today.
One a year, the t/f and fc bunch would come, mostly from California. Saw them all in the 60s.
The only tv coverage then was ABCs wide world of sports. 10 minute segments of the winternats and Indy.
We got busy with marriage and kids but eventually traveled around to national meets all over the country.

Thx for the therapy. Hope NHRA hangs tough. And don’t forget to bring your kids or brother to the track.
 

vegasnitro

Nitro Member
I really liked Stardust and the Las Vegas Speedrome in Vegas. Some of the Division 7 races at the Speedrome were like mini national events sans nitro.
I lived in Vegas for 25 years (I am now back in Kentucky). My understanding is that Durango High School now sits on the land that was once the Stardust Drag Strip. Kurt and Kyle Busch graduated from Durango.

When I moved to Vegas, the Speedrome was still open. I got to go to the "Gambler Nats", the name of the D7 event there, a few times, and was there the night Mike Bell unfortunately lost his life in TAD. I was there with my cousin and when he went over the wall, I told my cousin "let's go, there will be no more racing tonight". I don't know how I knew, but I just did. I got to see Shirley Muldowney match race Rance McDaniel there, and I believe that Muldowney set the track record that night that will stand forever for the Speedrome. CIFCA used to race there and get a pretty healthy car count and there was always a good Fuel Altereds show there. The Speedrome was on the property of what is now the sprawling Las Vegas Motor Speedway property, and if you go in the gate off of Las Vegas Boulevard for the Bullring, that is the old Speedrome gate.
 

Ramjet

Nitro Member
I always liked the Stardust. Thaught the track belonged to the Casino. They always gave us rooms at the Stardust for the race. Qualifying started at 9PM and first round was at Midnight. You didn't really care all that much if you got beat so you could get back to the Casino. Remember it being 112 at first round once.
 

vegasnitro

Nitro Member
Remember it being 112 at first round once.
The Stardust drag strip was long gone by the time I got to Vegas (1994) but I have had a few of those nights at The Strip at LVMS. My first pass down the track in my 04 GTO the track temp was 135 ... it was 11pm.
 

[email protected]

Nitro Member
Mr. Cliff, I am mildly surprised that you did not know of Don Sappington's "Candid Camaro." I thought it would jog your memory.

If you have stats, numbers, facts, is it really impossible to come to a conclusion of the viewpoint of one track being the greatest of all time?

Remember the California Pro Fuel Circuit and it's races in Ventura?

Carlsbad sure did have close viewing for the fans, especially behind the line.

Ever go to Inyokern for a show? Went a few times to see the Dust Devils run a meet.

L.A.C.R was such a fun little desert track to go to.

Stan Rosen's Fuel Altered was fast and scary.

I really liked Jack Ditmar's "Mini Brute."

The Imperial Customs Charger was such a great looking ride.

Irwindale's Grand Prix's 32-car show was always a don't miss event, it better have been to miss a meet at Lions.

Remember Jimmy Ige's "sons of the rising sun" rides?

I got to meet Dan Gurney and Graham Hill at Lions.



[email protected] possible to say that this track was the greatest of all time for weekly tracks.
 
Ways To Support Nitromater

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)


Top