Ben Christ was the guy who booked the cars through his Chicago-based Gold Agency and veteran race management like Ira Lichey, Al Poyer, and the author of the above quote, Bill Freeman, made it all happen. No major name Top Fuel or Funny Car team ever failed to make U.S. 30 at least once during the months of May through early September when the track booked shows for Wednesday and Friday nights and Sunday afternoon.  Everything about these shows screamed a capital time and all of it for the measly price of $2 to $3.

U.S. 30 was also the first track to consistently conduct, appropriately enough, “Chicago-style” shows. That meant that every booked-in car ran the first round with the two low e.t.’s returning for the final, which when you think about it, is a really good deal. The racers got paid decently and didn’t (most of the time) stress their equipment, and the fans seemingly got out early enough to chase, sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll if they hadn’t burned themselves down earlier.

Carl Olson, the driver of the 1972 NHRA Winternationals Top Fuel-winning Kuhl & Olson dragster had a match race there one Wednesday night and described something that sounds more like a South Central L.A. Shotgun Crips bump and run than a drag race.

“Kuhl and I were racing there this one night,” Olson recalled, “and before the first round this guy pulls up in limo, looks our car over and says, ‘You are going to win this race.’ That wasn’t said as a question, but more as a statement of irrefutable fact. I said that we were running pretty good, and that we’d give it our best, and this guy just repeated what he had said before. By then, I realized that these weren’t overzealous fans.

“Well, we get to the line, stage, go and by half-track. I’m ahead when the rear end breaks. So, we’re over at the trailer packing up and that same limo pulls up right next to us, and the same guy says, 'What happened out there?’ I said we broke the rear end; there was nothing we could do. And he counters with, ‘I’ll need to see the part that broke.’ Well, I start to protest, and he just scratches under his sports jacket and there’s this big .44 magnum in the inner pocket.

“’Sure, no problem, be right back,' I say. I tell Kuhl I need to see the rear part and he says, ‘Who the hell wants to see that?’ And I point to the limo and say, 'They the hell want to see it.' He gives them a good look, and it’s 'Sure, be happy to get it for the guy.'"

Olson concludes the trip down memory lane with the understatement of the year, “There was always something happening at U.S. 30.”

Famed Top Fuel and Funny Car racer, Kenny Safford remembered a best of three match race between his Mr. Norm Charger and Dale Creasy’s “Tyrant” Mustang. “For some reason Ira Lichey wanted us to win that race, probably because he and (Mr. Norm) Kraus had some favor to work out, although Van Senus Auto Parts was an associate sponsor for the Creasys at that time and I think had signage on the chain-length fencing at that time.

“Anyway, Ira wanted us to win that race by hook or crook, saying 'We’ll give Creasy a red-light or do something, but you guys need to win this race.’ I said, ‘Geez, Ira, I’d prefer not doing that, why don’t we just race? After all, it’s just a two-out-of-three.’ Well, he wouldn’t hear it."

Stafford continued, “Dale and his driver Al Marshall and I go through the first two rounds and we’re one apiece. We stage for the last round, and I take off and I think I was a little ahead at that time. I’m approaching the lights and I see this kid run out from the grass on our side of the track, and he sticks his hand in the lights, triggering our win light and then disappears into the seats. Probably made himself $25.”

Reportedly Don Garlits ran 260.79-mph at U.S 30 Dragway and the AHRA Chi-Town Nationals. That pass predates Joe Amato’s 260.11 at the 1984 NHRA Gatornationals (generally regarded as the first 260) by about eight months,

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