Monday, August 5, 2013

"Sunday Sunday Sunday"

The cry from yesteryear….that blared out on every radio station within 50 miles of any drag strip in the Country.  And I think the radio volume was just a little louder during the commercial, the beckoning cry was not to be ignored.   The call was made to convince you to invade your local drag strip on Sunday.  For me it was Lions, Fontana, Irwindale, Riverside or OCIR.  I had to go every weekend!  Out on the left coast during the 60’s it was easy….there was at least four strips within 50 miles of our home.  We would either be racing or spectating….but you HAD to be by a 1/4 mile strip of asphalt on Sunday! 
Sunday we met Pat and his Hemi Cuda at the WAWA in N. Stafford and cruised the 50 miles to Colonial Beach, VA and the 60 Years of Cars and Stars event at Colonial Beach Dragway.  When we cruised through Fredericksburg we picked up 5 more cars and had a real mob heading to the strip.  Since I’m originally a left coast guy I really don’t know much about the right coast strips.  I have to admit that since we moved here in ’73 I had only attended two drag strips till this weekend; Once in Virginia Motorsports Park and twice at Summerduck.  And….we had driven by the Colonial Beach track many times on our way to or from Colonial Beach but never drove up the gravel road by the entrance sign to see what was there.  Honestly the gravel road was a turn off.  I thought that if this was the entrance to the strip it must be a real pit!  Recently I learned that Gary Gore was putting the deal together on Sunday and since we had been satisfied with our dealings with Gary in the past we decided to give it a whirl.   
Anyway….Sunday changed our opinion of the strip….The place is great!  Good bleachers with more than adequate restrooms.  Real drag strip food, I missed that!  Good sound systems and helpful track personnel.  There was easy access to the pits and the staging lanes.  A neat touch was running shuttle golf carts with covered people trailers from the outlying parking into near the pit area….they really wanted you there!  The parking staff was very helpful directing us through the maze of race cars in the pit area on the way to the show ground.  We set up the car and attached our three canopies to three other canopies already set up….it worked out just fine.  We could hear the announcements easily, the permanent restrooms were just a little walk away, the food concession was right by the entrance to the pits.  We could see everything going on and were treated to a whiff of tire smoke occasionally….unlocked some memories for me!  The only thing missing was the eye watering, sinus clearing burning nitro!  Although while I was trolling the pits I did get a nose full of it when the Lyndwood Welding Special FED fired up….love it when those 92’s are turning nitro/alky into noise and torque….nice!
While in the pits taking pictures I noticed an old friend, Al Loy.  He was competing in the nostalgia stock races.  His black ’62 Chevy is just too cool.  With 409 power and 4 spd changer the car just sits right….like a real super stock racer back in the day.  He was racing a Pontiac Catalina with 421 Tri power and I’m sure a bunch of Mopars….the Mopars always out number everything.  Robert was going to see how his black ’60 Ford would run with his tweaked 460 motor but since he was running his street tires most of the torque went up in tire smoke!  Next time bring some slicks Robert…..grin.  There were many other race cars in the staging lanes that I don’t know anything about….I’m familiar with Gassers, Altereds, Stockers and Diggers.  Frank’s Whooppee Car was there along with many other gnarly historic rides from the past.  A few old gassers including one of Stone Woods & Cook’s A/GS cars, three S&S Racing Team cars and a Big John Mazmanian Willys.  One of the coolest was the recreation of Joe Pirrone’s 33 Willys, Boss Hydro….done by his son Rocky.  And the Jolly Dolly….we have a friend that has a street rod that looks just like the Jolly Dolly.  He says he raced against Dolly back in the day.
There were about 200 show cars registered and most were over the top examples of our hobby and I think most were driven, not trailered which is always encouraging to me.  Trailers are for race cars or boats….hot rods need to be driven.  I liked the orange Anglia with the blown SBC, these little cars are bad enough to drive as a racer but on the street they are evil.  And the white ’32 Ford PU with the Boss 429 shoe horned in it.  But what is interesting is the engineering it took to put the cooling radiator in the bed of the truck!  The most unusual ride was the raw ’61 Caddy custom with, I’m told, a Cummins diesel engine….a diesel!  I think that’s off the rail strange.  The best of show was won, very deservedly, by Richard with his red ’60 Chevy PU.  I have been taking pictures of his truck for 8 years now.  In the beginning it had SBC power and a little chrome….now it has 409 power and enough chrome to plate a whole ’58 Buick!  You have to check the pictures and get a flavor for the quality of all the cars that motored to the strip on “Sunday Sunday Sunday”.
The Princess met DJ Ron’s very special friend while they were visiting in the little tent village we set up. She definitely adds a lot of class to that old Camaro Ron drives….grin The Princess told me she is a nice lady and we are glad Ron has found someone to share the adventures while they cruise in his land yacht.  The Princess brought home a shiny trophy she won for her truck….so she will be so happy for a while….you have no idea. 
Soon after the awards were presented we folded up camp.  After stumbling all over the grounds and taking pictures while chatting with fellow hot rodders all day, my legs were beginning to say to me ‘Ok big bald bearded one….enough abuse for today already’….I knew it was time to go.  So we didn’t stay for the racing….next time maybe?  So….where does the event manager go in the heat of the afternoon when the show is over?  A nice quiet room with A/C….talking with friends….eating a sammich sipping on a nice cool one….?  Well that guy Gary was out in the heat, at the exit thanking everyone for coming to the event and wishing them a safe trip home!  He was really glad we came….”Sunday Sunday Sunday"

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