Photo by Tim Marshall
many of you have read the results of a drag
race and thought, "Damn, how I wish I coulda
been there?" Kenny Bernstein running the first
300 at the '92 Gatornationals, Eddie Hill's
first four at the 1988 IHRA Texas Nationals,
the 1965 Super Stock Nationals ... you know
what I mean. The above sentiment has been felt
by all of us numerous times. Even serious race
junkies like Bret Kepner, Tim Marshall, all
the 1,000-Foot Club members, the Wallaces, you
name 'em, have put the heel of their hand to
their head on this subject and I am no different.
This year marks my 41st as a spectator and I
dare say there are hundreds of races in which
I wish I could say I was there.
That's what this series deals with. Each month this year I will torture
myself (if not the reader) with a piece on this subject. In a few cases, it
won't be just one race, but maybe an annual event that I missed in total, like
any of Bob Metzler's "Olympics of Drag Racing Shows at Great Lakes in Union
Grove, Wisconsin". Anyhow, here's the first, and it involves a show that was the
first of its kind, a feature event that was truly a glimpse of the future in
THE 1966 NATIONAL SUPERCHARGED
KING OF KINGS AT CAPITOL RACEWAY IN CROFTON,
the summer months of 1966, the sport's leading
weekly, Drag News, had been running an ad featuring
an all-blown, Nitro Funny Car show called the
"King of Kings" Invitational at Julio Marra's
Capitol Raceway. As soon as I saw it, I was
licking my chops, plottin' and strategizin'
on how to get there. Where could I find a ski
mask, a cold .38 and a getaway car? Maybe I
could donate a kidney for plane fare. I really
wanted to be at Capitol Raceway on Saturday
night, August 13, 1966.
Funny Cars did not develop or come to their maturation on the West Coast.
We had everything else, but our East Coast brethren beat us to the punch on
what obviously was the wildest class since the fuel altereds, the crazed
It was kind of like being a music fan in mid-1964. You were into Elvis, Eddie
Cochran, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, and Little
Richard, and you did not take to the long-hair
sounds of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
Even though you resisted in your guts, you felt
the inevitable. Things WERE going to change,
like it or not. The momentum was there. It was
like the emotions expressed in poet W.H. Auden's
"Marginalia," ... "Thoughts of his own death,
like the distant roll of a thunder at a picnic."