Biggest Little Show"
Event Report by Bill Pitts
Hello Race Fans:
I know it happened,
because I was there--and so were a ton of other folks. The Escondido
Police department counts available parking places left in the
area, and came up with a figure that approaches "outdoor
concert" numbers for those in attendance.
30,000 folks, crammed into the old downtown business district,
to view a slice of what drew many of us to drag racing in the
first place--the sight, sound, feel, and smell, of a nitromethane
burning competition car. And these were no ordinary competition
These were competition
cars from drag racing's past. Cars that either ceased to compete,
many years ago, or are apparitions of cars that no longer exist.
Cars that made up some of "golden age" drag racing's
most astounding visions. Cars that were some of the quickest
and fastest, for their day.
Tommy Allen "Trick Car"
Tommy Ivo's Barnstormer AA/FD
Shubert & Herbert AA/FD
Wynn's Spoiler AA/FD
Woody Tribute Car AA/FD
Tocco, Harper, Garten AA/FA
Poison Ivy AA/FD
Iron Horse AA/FD
Swamp Rat II AA/FD
Goundshaker Jr. AA/FA
Steve Serot & Rick Bulluni
Thunder Chief AA/FD
Wilton & Doss AA/FD
"Normal" vintage drag
racing events usually take days. This was a "It was like
a magic act, now you see it, now you don't". With the streets
closing at 2:00 pm on a Friday afternoon, and opening again by
10:00 p.m. or so. Everyone hit the ground running, and before
you knew it (5 hours later) you were saying your goodbyes and
heading out into the night. That's unload, fuel up, fire up,
cool down, refuel, push to staging, fire and push, load up, and
go! It was astounding!
And with each car, came a variety
of young and old, hero and fan--all with the single purpose of
putting on the best show they could. This wasn't a drag strip
several miles from civilization. This was a city street and people
who never thought they would see it, saw a glimpse of drag racing's
Special thanks must be given
to Mr. Steve Waldron, head of Escondido's "Cruisin' Grand",
for presenting "Nitro Night" at the Grand Finale cruise
of their season. And for jumping through all the hoops necessary
to get the proper approval for this really unique street event,
and acquiring the necessary sponsors to hopefully cover expenses.
And to Ron Johnson for coordinating a line up of cackle cars
for the event that made such an impression on those in attendance.
Also Connie Braun of the Cacklecar Owner's Alliance for handling
waivers and wristbands. Also Steve Gibbs and the scores of assistants
and volunteers that took up positions of responsibility that
were vital to the safe operation of this very special show.
It was hard on everybody...but
the end result was achieved--a lasting impression of astonishment
and appreciation for "the good old days" of drag racing,
that was carried home by all those in attendance.
And that is why we came.
My thanks to
all those teams who brought a portion of golden age night time
drag racing back to life, for all those present to enjoy.
Although the streets would not
be blocked off until 2 PM, many cars were on hand much earlier.
The Wilton & Doss big block
Chevy fueler. Reproduced by Bubby Wilton, one of the original
One of the many repeat
performers was the Tocco-Harper-Garten AA/FA.
A welcome and popular addition
to this years field was the beautiful Smirnoff AA/FD restored
and owned by Joe Passalaqua.
Steve Serot & Rick
Bulluni had the Climax AA/FA back for its third year.
The car that started
it all - Bill Pitts "Magicar".
Terry Mastrejuan's Thunder
Chief AA/FD made its first appearance in Escondido.
Sonny Messner's Swamp
Rat III AA/FD has become a staple of the event.
Another regular the The ChiZler,
one of three cars out of the Ron Johnson stable.
Another Johnson car is
the Tommy Ivo Barnstormer AA/FD.
Johnson's third car is
the Chevy powered Shubert & Herbert AA/FD.
Tommy Allen brought out
his Woody Trick car for its forth appearance.
The Iron Horse AA/FD
owned by Sam Chastain.
Bobby Hansen's Wynn's
Spoiler AA/FD was back for more.
One of the local cars
and repeat performer, Ken Blackmore's Poison Ivy AA/FD.
Glenn Way's Groundshakers
Jr AA/FA made its Nitro Night debut.
Steve Gibbs was brought in to
run the show.
There were several other
race cars on display including Randy Walls funny car.
Afternoon Warm Ups
Looking up the "drag
strip" before the streets were packed with spectators.
Drag racing vet Jimmy
Scott was in Poison Ivy.
Drew Mraz and Ron Johnson. Mraz
uses his truck and tows a trailer for Ron when he needs help.
Deyon Young got the seat
in the Wilson & Doss car.
Your hero and mine....
Bill Schilling was in the Wynns
Spoiler for the afternoon fire-up, and Bobby Hansen was in for
the night rolling start.
Original driver Roger
Original owner/driver Daryl Greenamyer
in the Smirnoff car for the first time in 45 years.
Iron Horse had John Koppinger
in the seat.
Rick MacDonald was in
the Climax altered for the night time fire up.
Tommy Allen in the seat
of his Trick Car.
Original driver Jeep
Hampshire back home in the Magicar.
Drew Mraz in Shoobie
Terry Mastrejuan in his
The ChiZler found Kol
Johnson in the seat.
"TV Tom" Ivo
Ray Lake, Kol Johnson,
Ron Johnson and Ivo
Light up the Night
2013 EVENT SPONSORS
Ivo and Sonny Messner were the
last cars, both cars ran for an extended period of time, neither
driver wanting to shut off first. Finally, Sonny felt his engine
was getting hot and he shut it off. The Barnstormer ran for about
30 seconds more and then Ivo shut it down. The roar from the
crowd was just amazing. All those people pressed into the small
area and they really
let the participant know how they felt about the show. Smiles
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