RIP Gloria "Gordy"
Reporting on one of the largest
one day events in vintage drag racing history is a daunting task
at the least. Having to go through thousands of photos from 20+
photographers and then sorting them, insane.
With that fact in mind we
feel obliged to offer this extensive overview from Irwindale
Dragway not only for the fans who where there and couldn't possibly
see everything going on, many times simultaneously, but for those
who were unable to attend as well.
We'll present the event by
categories. We'll open with pit shots from Friday and Saturday.
Not any action, but a true lay of the land. Then people, special
events, fire-ups, exhibition runs, Lined of Fire.
We hope you enjoy our coverage
made possible by many members of the media from this year and
we want you to mark your calendars for next year when we will
be back at Irwindale presenting Nitro Revival 4.
Nitro Revival 3 weekend started
off on Thursday evening staging a promo with Ross Howard and
his gorgeous Custom Body Enterprises Dodge Challenger AA/FC.
Every week Irwindale hosts their Thursday Night Thunder, where
for just $20 anyone can bring their cars out for open Test and
Tune. On this night the smell of gas was briefly replaced with
Ex Top Fuel and Funny car driver
Larry "Okie Smoker" Brown travels with Ross and stays
on top of all things engine.
Boogie Cooper, Drag Dog,
oversaw the whole deal.
Ross got Jamie Shores
Fraijo ready to have her world rocked. It was her first fire-up.
The car was parked just
past the tree and it was let the noise begin.
Our thanks to Ross and Larry
for giving the locals a small taste of what Saturday would bring.
As for Alan and Don it was off to dinner,
Friday was move-in day. Steve
Gibbs and some of the volunteer crew were on hand bright and
early to turn an empty pit into a huge field of race cars and
Geno and Harley did a
fine job of parking people where they belonged.
At 7am only a few cars
were setting up, by 10 it was a mad house.
Could be heading to the
pits at old Irwindale in 1966.
Honoree Joe Smith's Nitro Harley
motorcycle was a very popular display. On this bike Joe won the
U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis in 1971, 1974 and 1975 and earning
runner-up honors in 1973.
By midday set-up was turning
into a show of its own. Those who came out to witness this procedure
and/or for the In-N-Out burgers got a great preview of Saturdays
show. Sonny Messner's Don Garlits Swamp Rat III was one of the
first to make camp.
Steve Andersen's Tom Hoover "fish
bowl"car was front and center and if we would have had a
best appearing car award, this would have been it.
Bringing both his cars, Don Prieto
set up early. Prime property and all that. Actually he was next
to Kol Johnson and Connie Braun who brought the Tommy Ivo Barnstormer.
Ivo was an honoree.
Coolest trailer award went to
this meticulously restored Chaparral. In the '70s and '80s the
Raymond Beadle owned Chaparral Trailer Co. out of Dallas, TX
was the hauler coveted by drag racers from coast to coast. Built
under the management of Sam Harris it employed the likes of Dale
Emery, John "Tarzan" Austin, John Dearmore, Earl the
Pearl Knight, Art the Dart Eslinger, Don "Mad
Dog" Cook and later on, Chip Woodall was General Manager.
Gary Travis was GM at the end. This got as much attention as
Although they were far less versatile
than the Chaps, the fiberglass Mr. Ed trailers were very popular
with the dragster teams. They were light and sleek. Mike Kuhl's
restored unit is a classic example of these now-in-demand trailers,
A staple at Lions in the 60's
was Ike Iacono and his Iacono's Tune Up - Brake Center GMC 6
cyl dragster. The car pretty much ran brackets. The car now is
owed by Pat Ganahl.
Speed Sport Special A/FMR
aka Ol Noisy.
This marked long awaited running
debut of the Skinner, Crosser & Jobe Surfers
AA/FD recreated by Bob Higginson with the help and blessings
of Tom Jobe.
Teams like the Over The Hill
Gang AA/FA used Friday to make sure their exhibition cars were
ready for action on Saturday.
The Howard Cams Twin Bear got
a lot of fan appreciation for its its uniqueness compared to
any of the other cars. Donnie
Johansen did a great job restoring this beast to its "we
don't do pretty" beginnings.
Dragster Row was starting
to take shape.
The exhibition cars had
their own area across from the Champion tent.
This is Merek Chertkow's street
legal flip top altered. It's rough but does it get the looks.
From the horse's mouth, "Street legal, licensed, registered,
& insured. Utah has very liberal hotrod laws. I put about
1,500 miles a year on it. I built everything myself five years
ago, including tube bending & narrowing rear ended. Billet
383ci SBC with H beam rods. Isky cam and rockers. 4 port Hilborn
injectors, cam driven Hilborn 150a fuel pump. Can adjust fuel
mixture when driving from dial a jet. Can go from sea level to
7,000 ft. Density altitude. No electronics. Driven all over Southern
Cal. Has 4 wheel disc brakes, Strange rear end & axles, front
& rear lights & turn signals. Everything, radiator, fan,
trans cooler, in rear deck under louvers. 40 gallons a minute
electric water pump, alternator runs off third member. Built
my own headers, aluminum heads w/ off set plugs. Two speed power
glide w/ trans button, Two passenger. N.H.R.A. Cert. to 7.50.
Ran one time in 1/8 mil. Ran 4.92 @ 139 mph." BTW, Merek
drove Top Fuel in the day including the Ramchargers dragster.
Think about it....
The showcase Hot Rods
were able to set up on Friday.
By late afternoon most
of the vendors were ready for the masses on Saturday.
At 7 PM bench racing
turned into hunger and it was all things In N' Out.
The folks on these trucks have
really got their act together. You had two associates taking
orders which were electronically sent to the preparers in the
truck. It wasn't a one size fits all. You wanted a double-double
animal style, you got it.
The line seemed endless.
Waiting for your order
offered some premium visiting time.
And on that note it
was get some rest and brace for Saturday.
Saturday morning the lone occupant
of what would be wall to wall hot rods was the "Mortician"
dual injected Chevy's on nitro that ran in 1967,
At 8 am the Hot Rods
started to roll in and filled the spots in a hurry.
Blake Crosby brought
the Bobby Langley Scorpion V AA/FD out from Dallas, Texas.
The AA/FA class was well
represented with the likes of Burkholder Bros. and Groundshaker
Jason Rupert getting
the Eagle Electric AA/FD ready to push start.
"Wake me up when
somebody brings food."
There were several really cool
exhibits throughout but this remarkable 1/4 scale build of the
'34 Ford Mooneyham & Sharp 554 Fuel Coupe was the best. The
detail is awesome and the early hemi engine actually runs. A
quintessential example of craftsmanship and machining. More info
Sonny Messner adjusting
the rockers on his Swamp Rat hemi,
The four Nostalgia Top
Fuel cars were pitted to the left of the Champion tent.
For Tom Shelar's High Speed Motorsports
car it was a chance to get the car ready to head back to Cordova,
IL. and then Bowling Green, KY.
Brendan Murry experienced
ignition issues and was unable to run.
The Neal & White
entry came up from San Diego to enjoy a day in the sun.
Bob McLennan's Champion
Speed Shop SBC was the fourth invited car.
Both cars are red, both have
a nitro hemi engine in front of the driver. One weighs 2400 pounds,
the other around 1300. Today one runs in the 5.6 range at over
250 mph. In 1965 the other ran in the high 7 second zone at 190.
What a difference 50 years have made.
Nostalgia Nitro Funny Car was
represented by the Littlefield & Rupert Vega with Jason Rupert
The AA/FA cars were represented
in part by Troy Glenn's "Over The Hill Gang"
The first cars for the
Hot Rod Hangout started rolling in before the sun was starting
RIP Ron "Big