2024 Nitro Revival Honorees

 

 

EVANS, ANDERSON, DENSHAM AMONG
NITRO REVIVAL HONOREES
November Event Also Celebrates the 'Groundshakers,' 'Ridge Route Terrors,' Chertkow

IRWINDALE, Calif. - An alliance of Top Fuel heavyweights, a media legend, "Terrors" from the other side of the mountain, a triple threat driver-tuner-manufacturer, a teacher with an intense need for speed, and the man in the "Moonshot" are the individuals whose contributions to drag racing's Golden Age will be celebrated Nov. 8-9 when Nitro Revival returns to Irwindale Dragstrip on the grounds of the Irwindale Speedway and Event Center.

Honoring a bygone era and those who made it memorable, Nitro Revival 2024, like its predecessors, will provide race fans of all ages a nitro-powered trip back in time with a program that features the largest gathering of cackle cars in the world, drag racing's biggest autograph session and hours of world class bench racing.

Those in the spotlight at this year's event will be the late Steve Evans, "Bad Brad" Anderson, Gary Densham, the "Groundshakers," the team of Warren, Coburn and Miller and early international star Merek Chertkow.

 

 

The Groundshakers San Gabriel Drag Strip, and the old Irwindale Raceway, now the site of a brewing facility, was the '60s home of the "Groundshakers," who campaigned both Top Fuel dragsters and Fuel altereds ("Groundshaker Jr."), most often driven by Gary Read. Although all of their cars raced competitively with earth-moving power, the name derived from something other than nitromethane. Since every one of the principals in the "Groundshakers" consortium was large and in charge, the team literally shook the ground long before it ever cackled the car. The team members included Glenn Way, brothers Bill and Mike Demarest and Everett "Hippo" Brammer, he of the Brammer, Burns and Burkhart fuel roadster, all topped out at taller than six feet and each weighed in on the north side of 300 pounds. All except Read, of course...who came in at 110 on a good day.

 

 

 

 


The "Ridge Route Terrors," In the mid 60s Bakersfield residents James Warren and Roger Coburn, got their nickname from Highway 99 (the Ridge Route), the roadway that carried them over the San Gabriel Mountains and into Southern California where they regularly wreaked havoc on some of the most famous dragstrips on the planet. Warren was the driver, Coburn the tuner and in the late 60's Miller the sponsor through "Rain For Rent," the Bakersfield irrigation company he owned. Warren, considered to be one of the finest dragster drivers to ever compete, was No. 38 on the list of NHRA's Top 50 racers in the sanctioning body's first 50 years thanks to a victory in the 1968 Winternationals, five consecutive Division 7 Top Fuel championships at a time when pros ran for points at those races, a 1976 triumph at the NHRA Gatornationals, consecutive wins in the Bak-ersfield March Meet (1975, 1976 and 1977) and a countless number of local events.

 

 

 

 

 

Most remember Steve Evans as one-half of the television announcing team that took NHRA drag racing mainstream in the 1980s, but his career was much more than finish line interviews and playing host to more than 500 episodes of the newsmagazine, NHRA Today, on The Nashville Network. After working in his dad's drag strip concession stand, and briefly racing an carbureted fuel dragster, he began announcing drag races at San Gabriel and Fontana as a 19-year-old, later graduating to track manager status at the Big Three of Southern California drag racing - Lions Drag Strip, Irwindale Raceway and Orange County International Raceway, where he developed a host of un-forgettable and award-winning radio commercials. He joined the NHRA national an-nouncing team in 1966, did a stint as Editor of National DRAGSTER and another as NHRA's Public Relations Director before easing into his role as Starsky to Dave McClel-land's Hutch. Oh, he did have a very short stint as a dragster driver.

 

 

 

 


Gary Densham drove Funny Cars for more than 50 years, largely as an under-funded independent. An auto shop teacher who relied on students to help crew his "Teacher's Pet" entries, he raced in six NHRA Funny Car finals as a privateer but didn't win for the first time until John Force gave him a ride in one of his state-of-the-art ma-chines in 2001, partly as payback for Densham's help during what would have been a disastrous 1974 Australian tour. The teacher responded by winning eight races includ-ing the 2004 U.S. Nationals. Hooked on drag racing from age 13, when he attended his first race at Lions, he initially built his own cars, the first a '40 Ford coupe. He began racing Funny Cars with a 1971 Dodge Challenger and drove competitively into the 2022 season before turning over the keys to the family car to son Steven

 

 

 

 


Brad Anderson has been a fixture in Southern California drag racing since the 1960s, first as a driver (he was No. 33 among NHRA's Top 50) and later as developer of racing cylinder heads through Brad Anderson Enterprises (BAE). He first made a blip on the competitive radar as runner-up at the 1973 Winternationals in a supercharged Opel he raced in Comp Eliminator. After moving up to Top Alcohol Funny Car, he swept the NHRA's California races in 1981, winning the Winternationals at Pomona, the Gold-en Gate Nationals at Fremont and the Winston Finals at OCIR. Three years later, he won the first of his two World Championships. Although he retired from driving after winning at Phoenix in 1990, he remained hands on with the Funny Car driven by son Randy and the Top Fueler of daughter Shelley Anderson Payne

 

 

 


Merek Chertkow's name may not be as widely recognized as Brad Anderson's, but the Michigan native was a teenage sensation in 1965 when, after moving to California to work at Dean Moon's shop, he was tabbed to drive the Mooneyes-yellow "Moonshot" Top Fuel dragster as a member of the U.S. Drag Team during the second International Dragfest in England. He so impressed with his performance, which included a quarter mile run of 10.44 seconds at 128 miles per hour in the rain at Blackbushe Airport with water flying off the rear slicks, that he subsequently was tabbed to drive the fabled "Ramchargers" dragster during the 1966 season. Afterward, he began building racing engines in California, contributed to the making of the movie "Bikini Beach" and briefly drove an SOHC Ford-powered Pinto Funny Car.

 

 

 

 

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