WHEN TWO VINTAGE RACING
Vintage Car Race Victories Earned,
Nitro Burned, and Memories Rekindled at Spring Classic Showcasing
05.23.18: The 2nd Annual Nitro
Revival was dedicated to Ron Johnson who would have been very
proud of the results. Although much different than the inaugural
event in Barona, the new format worked incredibly well at Laguna
Seca. Also the event staff here was much smaller than Barona
and included Race Director Steve, Cindy Gibbs, Randy Gregg, Alan
"Mole" Miller, Don Ewald, Debby Gibbs, Stephanie Gibbs
Kinder and Gene Gastelum with Harley (race control).
Like the first Nitro Revival
this was more social than competitive. We attracted more than
30 premium Cackle Cars from as far away as Minnesota and Canada,
most with period-correct push vehicles from the 1950s and 1960s.
Cacklecars started rolling in
on Thursday and all were very pleased with the prime area allotted
to our program. We got a huge chunk of the paddock for the cars
and a large area a short distance away for the Ace's Hot Rod
Hangout and the huge Welcome Center tent supplied by the Jim
McLennan Foundation & Champion Speed Shop.
Friday was filled with bench
racing and static fire-ups. There was a lot of fan traffic including
many of the road course drivers who were in awe of the other
world. You guys were crazy was overheard more than once.
On Saturday Nitro Revival took
center stage with the high points of the day being the push starts
of pit row and the awesome Line of Fire in the paddock. Total
nitro overload. The fans went nuts as you will see in the photos
included in this coverage.
How about a big shout out to
all of the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame Members and
NHRA Champions who joined us: Don Garlits, Ed McCulloch, Kelly
Brown, Mike Dunn, Shirley Shahan Bridges, Tom Hoover, Ed "Isky"
Iskenderian, Rob Bruins, Jim Brissette, Jim Fox, Steve Gibbs,
Marvin "Who" Graham, Red Greth, Harry Hibler, Dennis
Holding, Tom Jobe, Delli Reath, Bob Muravez, "Wild Bill"
Shrewsberry, Joe Schubeck, Walt Stevens, Richard Tharp, Herm
Petersen, Jerry "The King" Ruth, Frank "The Beard"
Bradley, Don Hampton, John Peters, Rich Guasco, Dave Uyehara,
Ken Logan, Kenny Youngblood, Bob Brandt, Don Berry and Dwight
Those of us at Nitro Revival
give a Special thanks to Laguna Seca's Brad Littlefield who is
the Public Relations Manager, Melvyn Record who is SVP Marketing,
Kathleen Tran the Event Operations Coordinator and Gill Campbell
who worked tirelessly to make this happen at their venue. The
staff was great, the food was delicious, we were treated like
special guests instead of just a bunch of old racers. Kudos to
all the folks of Laguna Seca.
In summary, we were humbled by
the attendance of so many of the sport's stars and we are enthusiastically
looking forward to our 3rd event that will likely return to Laguna
Seca in 2019. We hope this extensive coverage delivers the flavor
and excitement of the weekend. Further, we hope it will entice
you to put the 2019 Laguna Seca Spring Classic on your must do
calendar, as we will be back!
TRACK PRESS RELEASE
In its second year, the Spring
Classic Showcasing Nitro Revival on May 18-20 grew into its realized
form as a vintage motorsports festival for racing of all types
from the 1960s forward. More cars filled the run groups in the
three-day vintage car race, the Historic Motorcycle exhibition
and display blossomed to give two-wheel enthusiasts a thrill,
and the added element of nitromethane on Saturday provided the
missing ingredient to morph the vintage car race into a full-blown
Over 30 members of the International
Drag Racing Hall of Fame including Big Daddy Don
Garlits signed autographs and mingled with fans while restored
Top Fuel dragsters, Funny Cars, altereds, and more cackled their
engines in the paddock. A highlight was push-start demonstrations
on Saturday afternoon that brought legendary dragsters to life
on an iconic race track not known for hosting machines designed
to accelerate down the quarter-mile. Three dozen dragsters closed
Saturday activities in a great spectacle by firing all in sequence
during the Line of Fire that rumbled through the "Monterey
Entering this massive racing
complex on Thursday was eye opening. This is the view of the
food court and Ace's Hot Rod Hangout (big tent) from the entrance
of the cacklecar arena of the paddock.
Media building behind
the Steward Room.
One of the first cars on the
property was the Swamp Rat III-B owned by Sonny Messner. The
SR III-B car was built from the wreckage of the original Swamp
Rat III. This B car re-creaton was done in 2005 by Don himself
so there is a lot of attention to original details.
For example, a salvaged component
would be the fuel pump driven off the back of the blower.
The engine was built by Garlits
to the exact specs and parts as the original including a very
rare set of JOCKO heads. Stock stroke, high compression, low
blower boost and lots of nitro.
Sonny had added his touches
with event stickers that the car has appeared in.
Friday was a kicked back, do
what you want day. Set up, visit, burn nitro, renew friendships,
wander the pits, kiss babies or well, you get the picture. It
would be cut short for many due to the Cannery Row event that
Roger Riggsby's "California
Past" Pontiac powered faithfully represented the mid 50's
If you were into drag racing
in 1959 you know this car. Don Prieto recreated the car that
got TV Tommy Ivo on the map. His injected Buick dragster was
just a preview to come from one of the sport's enduring racers.
Joe Schubeck and GiGi
were on hand with his 1965 fueler.
Roger Lee brought his
Masters & Richter re-creaton to the dance.
Jerry "The King" Ruth
was the first to burn money and that got the fans into the loud
Also anxious to burn
the good stuff was the Connie Kalitta "Bounty Hunter"
of Allen Bridges.
Nitro Revival photog Dan Kaplan
was at the right place at the right time to add the Tommy Ivo
Barnstormer to his fire-up list.
Herm Petersen unloaded his badass
392 blown one-off '32 Willis push car. If you want a real one
off hot rod, this guy is for sale.
Sam Chastain's "Iron
Horse" is always a fan favorite.
Don Love brought the
John Wiebe "Violin Car" down from Washington.
Glenn Way got the AA/FA
contingency into the act with his Groundshaker JR.
Firing up the Tocco,
Harper & Garten AA/FA
Ross Howard has been a supporter
of Nitro Revival from day one, literally. He was the first racer
to commit to the Barona event and his Custom Body Enterprises
AA/FC is for sure a fan favorite. Along with Larry Brown, an
ex-Top Fuel and Funny Car racer of name, they brought this beauty
out from Oklahoma and trust me, they have a blast. Oh, yea, he
was also the first to commit to this year and already, 2019.
This is without a doubt one of
the most spot on re-creatons of any funny car in the country,
including a period correct Keith Black aluminum hemi.
Dealers AA/FC restored and owned by John Lipori.
The all star dragster
line-up was loaded with A+ restorations.
the lone flathead but damn, its a nice one.
Jill Guasco comfirmed that the
Nitro Revival fans were treated to history. "Yes, we own
both. The other one has always been in a museum or on loan. That
was the first time the altereds have been side to side."
Steve Gibbs held his mandatory
drivers meeting spelling out who would push start and how the
Line of Fire would play out.
One of the three very diverse
funny cars on hand was the rear engine Lil Ol Whine Maker AA/FC
raced by Eddie Pauling and restored by
Ed Philipp from Arizona.
Friday was pretty much closed
out by the roar of the huge Allison engine in the Green Monster
A/D owned by Jon Rowley (Arizona).
As the road course racers did
for us, many of the nitro crowd visited their vintage neighbors
just around the corner. There was a wide variety of really cool
race cars that left us asking the same questions they asked us.
Like we said, when two vintage race car worlds collide.
See the road race
cars in action on Page 8
We then moved the show to Cannery
Row in downtown Monterey