Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 10, Page

Southern racing, and what’s happening with Goodguys?


Jeff Burk Photo

“Drag Racing southern style!” Whenever I think about racing in the south, that line from the, late, great, Steve Evans’s “Be There!” drag race commercial compilation always plays back in my nitro-addled brain. Now, we all know that there is indeed dragging in the south. Lots of it. For some reason, they like to keep it a secret. They do the nostalgia thing also, albeit different, but they do it.  Which is what we are concerned with here at “Getting Nostalgic.”

For those of you who are not from the south or have never traveled there, I’ll try to bring you up to speed on what the south is all about. First, they have a Southern States Lottery.  I believe the last winning payout was 3 million dollars. The winner got 3 bucks a year for a million years. Ever notice that in the south the high school drags only run on Wednesday and Friday nights? That’s because the schools need their cars on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for sex education classes. How else can you tell you are at a drag race in the south? Cinder blocks out number pro jacks in the hot car pits. Before they fire the first pair, they play The Star-Spangled Banner on banjo’s.

Thanks folks! I’m here, once a month. Try the veal.

Now that y’all are all fired up and lookin’ (‘nuther southern reference) to send blonde, California, surfer, drummer, funny car driver hate mail in, let’s re-group.

We were surfin’ the net the other day and found a little info on a race that’s going to be held in Bradenton, Florida. The Southern Nostalgia & Muscle Car Shootout. This show is being touted as the largest nostalgia and muscle car show in the east. Cool! The last I heard anything news-worthy about Bradenton was when they had those crazy big sink- holes swallowing up Stop 'n' Goes. This event is being held the weekend of November 4th and 5th and looks to be the place to be if you’re hanging in the south that weekend! This event will feature nostalgia dragsters, gassers and funny cars along with muscle cars and a swap meet and a rod, custom and Harley show. For more info check this, Bradenton flyer .

Getting Nostalgic sends out special thanks to Annette Mach for the hook-ups on this event. Look for Annette to finish up her license in Ernie Walker’s Jungle Jim tribute Funny Car in the near future.

I was going to delve deeper into the southern nostalgia racing scene for this column but, with me being so “on the bubble” deadline wise I want to talk about the very recent Goodguys decision about the 2007, racing season. Here is the announcement; http://www.good-guys.com/news/ggNewsDetail.aspx?ID=589

In the past I’ve been accused of neglecting the rest of the country and only writing about the West Coast and the Goodguys/VRA racing series. Guilty as charged. I hate to break it to some of you but for the last 19 years or so the Goodguys have been nostalgia drag racing. Their first event was staged in 1987.

The first March Meet under Goodguys sanction was in 1994. That event has since turned into the biggest race of the year for the nostalgia set and, for some, the only race of the year. Remember 1999? I do, I was crewing for the Hansen & Kuhns Top Fuel car and there were 32 Top Fuel cars on the lot. OK, only 28 made runs but still, it was the March Meet and we had 32 Top Fuel cars.

Since the 1990’s we have seen huge changes in the nostalgia scene regarding rules. I remember the Champion Speed Shop Top Fuel car being allowed to run a 2-speed because it ran an iron small block and ran the blower 25 over. Remember no reversers? Evolution happens, but why did it evolve into the “little big show? “

Now we have 50-ft. trailers, hospitality areas and “vacationing” big show crew members who work on these things. The dragsters got 44 amp mags and billet blocks. Gerry Steiner and Brad Berger ran tons of 5.90’s with, a points mag and a cast block. Do these guys need the “trick shit?” 

I think some of the manufacturers and some sponsorship dollars may have corrupted a decision here or there. Whatever, until recently things have not been perfect but running smoothly in my opinion. Unless you have been under a rock you know full well that the 2006 racing season has been a wash. As of now we have qualifying points from the March Meet and Pomona points. The latest rumor floating around has the Goodguys canceling the Finals, which, will be scheduled for Famoso in November. If this is true, I feel for whoever wins their series this year because it will only encompass possibly one event and qualifying points from another. But again, back in the day (or Spokane now) you could win a world championship in one day.   

This sucks. Yes, there is more to life than what happens on the West Coast but, again, the Goodguys have been the cornerstone of the nostalgia racing movement in my opinion. With their alignment with NHRA, the rules and staffing the tracks with qualified, tech and safety safari personnel, little details like that help me feel comfortable when I climb in someone's Funny Car. 

In my opinion, anytime lawyers get involved nothing good comes of it.

So, we have big doings going on here in the nostalgia world. Of course nostalgia drag racing will go on even if the Goodguys and Famoso Raceway find no common ground.

I’m sure we will visit this topic next time. Lot’s more to cover as things develop. Next stop on the calendar is the California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso. I’m sure everyone will be talking about the Goodguys, and DRO will be there to bring you the latest dirt on the future of nostalgia racing on the West Coast.

Oh, by the way, to follow up on the first part of this months’ column, you know, drag racing in the south…what’s the best thing to ever come out of the south? If you guessed Don Garlits you are wrong.

 Try Interstate 40. 



Getting Nostalgic [9/8/06]
Back on track, and talking NERA

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