VOLUME XX, NUMBER 10 - OCTOBER, 2018
DRAGRACINGOnline will be published on or around the 8th of each month and will be updated throughout the month.
DRAGRACINGOnline owes allegiance to no sanctioning body and will call 'em as we see 'em. We strive for truth,integrity, irreverence and the betterment of drag racing. We have no agenda other than providing the drag racing public with unbiased information and view points they can't get in any other drag racing publication.
Editor & Publisher, CEO Jeff Burk
Managing Editor, COO Kay Burk
Editor at Large, Bret Kepner
Editor at Large, Emeritus Chris Martin
Bracket Racing Editor, Jok Nicholson
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Australian Correspondent, Jon Van Daal
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Poet Laureate, Bob Fisher
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Editor & Publisher
CEO Jeff Burk
COO Kay Burk
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Director: Casey Araiza
Director: Dave Ferrato
Contact: Casey Araiza
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ET DRAG RACING
Without question, the most famous run by Chris Karamesines at 204 mph, is a highlight of action at Alton Dragway! This photo by Don Elliot captures not only the start, but also the flagman (it was in 1960) high in the air with the green flag. It is Dave Smith of nearby Jerseyville, IL, who as a high school student worked weekends for John Storey. He was part of the linesmen crew governed by manager Garland Tyler. Dave went forward with a lifetime career in drag racing. His kudos are countless, but the highlight was the 1983 AHRA Pro Stock World Championship! Today Dave still builds winning motors and cars at his shop near Exeter, CA, Dave Smith Engineering.
Prior to the historic run, this group conferred near the starting line: L/R Bob Sullivan, Rod Stucky, John Kranenberg, Chris Karamesines, Don Maynard, and Dave Smith (the starter in all white).
A few short years later, when Corvairs were the rage in the rapidly developing Funny Car category, this is Dave Smith’s Corvair F/C advertising his Precisioned Speed Shop.
California Hot Rod ReunionKaren SmithJim BakerDave SmithAlton Dragway‘204’ RunJohn StoreyHal FosdickCordovaAlton Dragway
Without question, the biggest star during the early days at Alton Dragway, was “Stan The Man” Lomelino from Virden, IL. Stan’s accomplishments were so enormous that the State of Illinois erected this billboard on a State Route near Stan’s home. You can find more information about dual engine flat head Ford dragsters etc. on pages 14, 53, 54, 63, 69, and 232 in Mike Storey’s informative book!
I have in my files this photo from a Whitehall Reunion featuring Art Badgely, Paul Fensler, Stan “The Man”, and Joe Hendricks, all of whom were an important part of Alton Dragway and are featured in SUNDAY – SUNDAY – SUNDAY!
While I believe that Dave Smith has the longest winning success story starting at Alton Dragway, that would have been challenged IF Curt Wasson had not met an untimely demise riding a motorcycle on the highway in 1972. Somehow I met Curt in 1959 at Alton and he introduced me to the high lights of St. Louie, Louie. Curt developed a Corvette with a Bill Thomas dual air meter modified fuel injection. Curt raced the car all over the U.S. and when it finally was not the fastest, installed a 6-71 GM blower and just kept on winning. As Funny Cars developed, Curt became famous for his ‘Super Stitious’ series of Chevrolet-powered floppers.
One of Curt’s floppers was this big block Chevy-powered Vega shown here in the pits at Alton. Curt, with his hand on the trailer, is featured on pages; 95, 125, 275, and 277 in the Alton Dragway book.
This poster at Tulsa in 2016 depicts Kurt and his Super Stitious Camaro F/C shortly prior to his death in 1972. Kurt’s nephew Jim Sanders aided Mike Storey in the writing and preparation of his book. Jim also has helped me over the last ten years. An Alton Dragway Reunion is planned for Nov. 3 at Gordon Moore Park, just south on Hwy. 140.
Another mainline star who appears regularly in Mike’s book is Bill Curtis from Canton, IL. During the early years, Bill did battle with track owner John Storey in nearly identical ’34 Ford Roadsters. Then later in the ‘60s, Bill teamed with Neil Swartzbaugh to run a Top Fuel Dragster with considerable success. As shown by the old ad from Drag News below, the team match raced a lot at Alton Dragway. More on Curtis is on page 277.
Finally, I just had to throw this in. There are many routes to get from Quincy, IL, to Alton Dragway. The shortest, but probably not the quickest, was to take Illinois Route 100 south along the Illinois River to Kampsville. Then it was, “Houston, we have a problem”. How do we cross the river and go straight into Jerseyville then south right to Alton Dragway? Solution: Use the exciting Kampsville Ferry. It only held three or four cars and took several trips when we went to Alton with a large group. But it was a break and full of adventure for us 20-year olds back then. It still operates today.
In closing, I could not have been more impressed with Mike Storey’s book. Living on site as a young man made the project authentic and informative. The price of this hard bound slick paper 400 page classic is only $30.00 plus about $10 shipping. Mike will try to hand deliver your edition in the Greater St. Louis Metro area, and you may order by mail at Sunday – Sunday – Sunday, P.O. Box 112, Cottage Hills, IL 62018.
Finally, there are numerous defunct drag strips across the country. Most you cannot drive down or even locate. Not so with Alton Dragway! If you turn into the same place where a lot of us did in 1958, go a short distance and the scene below will present its self. It is a portion of the development John Storey created out of his drag strip. You may drive down the right side and return on the left. When you do, you’ll be on Wonderland Drive, on the same track used by thousands of drag racers from 1958 through 1972!
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