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Event Photos





Long Beach, CA Jul 12, 2008 – The third annual “Bixby Knolls Dragster Expo and Car Show” once again graced the streets of the Bixby Knolls Business District in Long Beach , CA . The show was free to the public and kicked off at 3:00 pm and came to a close at 9:00 pm later that night.

This year’s high-energy show featured more than 150 classic cars, street rods and specialty vehicles from all over Southern California . They were proudly displayed up and down Atlantic Avenue between San Antonio Drive and Roosevelt Road by their enthusiastic owners. Each competed against the other for the coveted trophies in seventeen various categories.

In addition there were raffles; live music (provided by “Party Jones”), a rock wall for the kids to test their climbing skills, a food court and beer garden. Many of the shops that lined the streets had special demonstrations like the “Reptiles Unlimited” gang. Their employees entertained the crowd with several of their exotic reptiles.

The shows most prominent display however was at the intersection of Atlantic and Carson where the Professional Dragster Association (PDA) paid their due respect to the city of Long Beach ’s historic past. Lined up in a perfect row were fourteen vintage Top Fuel dragsters, one rear-engine Alcohol dragster and one AA/FA to honor one of the greatest racing facilities ever… Lions Drag Strip!

PDA members and supporters put on a fantastic show at 4:00pm, 6:30pm, and 8:30pm by dazzling the 10,000 curious on-lookers by bringing these mechanical masterpieces to life. During the first two sessions each car was fired one at a time, one after another… it was an awesome sight to behold! For the grand finale they all fired together simultaneously… the sights, sounds, smells and taste of Nitromethane saturated the senses of everyone within close proximity. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

Throughout the show Doug Kruse, Joel Gruzen and John Ewald handled the announcer chores for the dragster portion of the expo. The PDA cars in attendance were as follows:

Mike Cook’s “Groundshaker” AA/FD

Bob Hirsch’s “Anaconda” AA/FD

Trevor Larson’s SBC AA/FD

Jake & Marilyn McCloud’s “Dean Engineering” AA/FD

Wayne Cartmell’s “Cartmell & Wright” TAD

Gabe Gutierrez’s “Ernie’s Camera Shop” AA/FD

Joe Passalaqua’s “Smirnoff” AA/FD

Baney, Rossi & Goebel families “Yeakel Chrysler Plymouth” AA/FD

Don Prieto’s “Hustler VI” AA/FD

John Ewald’s “Bankamericar” AA/FD

John Ewald’s “Mastercar” AA/FD

Ken Blackmore’s “Poison Ivy” AA/FD

Glenn Necessary’s “B&L Auto Parts” A/FD (static display only)

Ron Stern’s “Reath Automotive” AA/FA

Joel Gruzen’s “Mighty Mouse” AA/FA

Long Beach, 8th district Councilwoman Rae Gabelich ( Gary ’s wife) organized the event for the third year in a row and felt it was the best yet. She called it “exhilarating”.

The car show coordinator Steve Beatty was very pleased with the turnout of cars and spectators. The event successfully raised $4000 raised for the Special Olympics of Southern California.

Blair Cohn, executive director of the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association described the event as a huge success once again.

It was a perfect summer day filled with lots of scorching heat and later that night a cool ocean breeze. Great times were had by all! Congratulations to everyone that made the magic happen!

Photos by: Warren Merriman Doug Kruse, Darrell Conrad, Pam Schavrien and John Ewald.





Event promoter, Doug Kruse was all over the place and as always, his organizational skills were evident.



New singing duo? Nope! MC John Ewald turned over the mic to councilwoman Rae Gablich who welcomed all the fans to the third PDA event. John is proudly wearing a hat that was given to him by a Marine while he was recently in Hawaii for the Firestone Complete Auto Care "Thank You to Our Troops" tour.

This is the third year the event has been staged, through the efforts of Rea, a Long Beach city councilwoman and whirlwind of energy.



Dale Pulde distributed over $3,000 worth of nitro, paid for by PDA for the Dragster Expo teams, with able assistance by Val Harrell.














The beautiful “Smirnoff” car restored by Joe Passalaqua (above with engine builder, Rick McDonald) was a crowd favorite.











This marked the debut of Bob Hirsch's restored (yet unpainted) Marvin Schwartz "Anaconda". The body work on this car is super.












Glenn Necessary’s “B&L Auto Parts” A/FD (static display only)




The Groundshakers car. Very pretty but everyone is trying to figure out why they put an updated 6-point cage one it.





The McCloud brothers were on hand with their Dean Engineering Goodyear "Blue Streak Special"







Not a cacklecar for sure, but this contemporary Top Alcohol Dragster of Cartmell & Wright got the fans attention as well.



Bill Alexander and his son, Rod brought the Ernie's Camera "Shudder Bug" to the dance.






The biggest cacklecar crew around, the Baney, Rossi & Goebel with their Yeakle Plymouth Special.






Don Prieto's Hustler VI.








John Ewald's Mastercar and BankAmericar were ready to wow the fans.


All fuel ups were supervised by PDA Fire Safety Officer Kurt Kohler kept a watchful eye on refueling and fire-up operations to meet the strict requirement of the Long Beach Fire Department.




The Mastercar gets a load of 85%.



Ewald kept the crowd entertained with facts such as the history of Nitromethane, how the cars used to be pushed started and how the staring procedure at the event worked so the fans would better understand what was going on.


Pam Schavrien and her dad, Don in John Ewald's Mastercar prior to the first cackle of the day.


Valerie prepped herself with Jamba Juice for her cackle.


Don Atkinson in the Mastercar and Valerie Harrell in the BankAmericar.


The "Maxed Out" crew of Bob Danly, John Ewald and Mario Garcia
bring the "Mastercar" to life.



Garcia wacks Val's throttle.


"Mastercar" and "BankAmericar" crew chief Bob Danly brings up the RPM's to a thunder, much to the delight of the crowd. Firestone Complete Auto Care was one of the sponsors of the event.


Birds eye view of Don Atkinson in the "Mastercar".











Jeff McDonald fine tunes the nitro hemi in the Smirnoff car with John Weidler in the seat.






Yeakel Plymouth lit with Randy Fish (editor Drag Racer Magazine) in the cockpit.









Engine primed just before the mag switch is turned on. Great shot by Darrell Conrad.


Bluestreak Special on all 8.





Trevor Larkin looking period correct.





John Ewald took on the chores of MC and introduced the cars with his colorful flare on their history which Wild Bill Alexander seemed to enjoy.


"Wild Bill" Alexander in his Ernie's Camera "Shudder Bug".







Kruse and Alexander address the crowd.



Ken Blackmore's Poison Ivy crewed by Jay Carpenter with Jimmy Scott in the seat.








Roland Leong, Dale Pulde and Valerie Harrell take it all in.


Note the elaborate tail piece on the Anaconda.





The Groundshakers ready to light.





Ron Stearns brought the Ratican, Jackson & Stearns altered with a rather attractive "driver" in the seat.





Team Gruzen was out with their Mighty Mouse roadster.


Joel Gruzen fires up their Might Mouse for the crowd.







The event drew a huge crowed that never seems to dwindle.



Smirnoff waiting to fire for the second session.


Frank Baney and driver Chris Young in wait.


Don Prieto prepares to fire his Hustler V with Manny Maldonado in the seat.



We have ignition.



Waiting for the order to fire up for the second session was Orah Mae Millar in the BankAmericar and Robin Millar in the Mastercar. This was Orah Mae's first cackle and she loved it.



















In the Mastercar for the night fire up was Marcial Escobar while Jeniece Ewald (John's daughter) was in the BankAmericar.











A beautiful shot of the Smirnoff car hitting on all eight.


We apologize for the lack of night time shots but these are all we got.


Event Program













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