Texas Thaw 2014
by Paul Caster
March 1st was a mostly sunny, dry and warm day here in North Central Texas, perfect conditions for the 7th Annual “Texas Thaw” at NorthStar Dragway in Denton, Texas. The Torques Car Club of Dallas and NorthStar are to be highly commended for hosting such a fantastic event. The place was packed wall-to-wall with great people enjoying a great spring-like day, with some of the most beautiful vintage early iron and (not vintage!) young ladies in Texas and surrounding states.
The next two paragraphs are from the “Texas Thaw” home page: Please visit and support this great group at http://texasthaw.vpweb.com/
“This is our 7th Year for the Thaw. It all started with a few of us sitting around talking about wanting to “get together” with more of the hot rod/car folks in the area. We were pressed to get a date that was open, and had only two months to make #1 happen. It was a success! Every year gets better too!
“We do this for a cause! We are a non-profit, and donate proceeds every year to the USO /Unite for Troops. We hope to match what we did last year and also contribute to ‘Operation Once in a Lifetime,’ this year. You can donate to the cause, and/or come out to the show! Please help us support our Men and Women in uniform!”
I honestly have not seen this many smiling, happy, fun loving, racing, hot rod, lugnut-twisting, gas, alcohol and nitro addicts who love this stuff as much as I do gathered in one place since my trip to Mo-Kan for the 50th anniversary of that great track nearly two years ago. The camaraderie of this group makes me retrace my footsteps back to my roots of early drag racing days, at numerous tracks throughout the South and Midwest.
Here are a few reasons that make this event so great. First and foremost, all cars are required to be pre-1973. It is also very much a run-what’cha-brung race. It’s the first gathering of the New Year for the majority of us here in the Lone Star State, a place that loves racing and old iron. This year was very special due to the temperatures being in the 70s with a slight breeze out of the southwest, resulting in everyone getting a head start on their suntan for the summer.
The diversity of cars present was astonishing to me, with everything from blown flathead dragsters, Ray Edwards beautiful 1961 Henry J named “Cheap Thrills,” Doug Morrison’s beautiful early-style hemi-powered ‘32 Bantam altered, competition coupes, roadsters, gas cars – with and without straight axles – to the early Chevys, Cadillacs, Olds, Pontiacs, Fords, Mercurys, Lincolns, Studebakers, Dodges, Plymouths and many others.
Just to see all these old hotrods, classics, and race cars in one location was certainly worth the price of admission! If you could remove the golf carts, new tow vehicles and such, you could easily be swept back to the mid-‘60s at any drag strip in the country on any given Saturday or Sunday afternoon. It’s not everyday you can attend a drag race and witness a ‘57 Chevy lined up against a ‘55 Ford or a flathead dragster against a competition coupe. The drag racing was almost non-stop, with just wave after wave of vintage iron on the starting line, revving their engines and looking over in the other lane, to say I’m the bad boy/girl here! There were no accidents or 45-minute oil downs, unlike many races I have attended over my 50+ years of hanging around race tracks. Kudos go out to NorthStar Dragway, starter and chief of the crew, Clint Dobbs, and the entire team.… they do a fantastic job keeping the racing flowing smoothly and everyone safe.
I would like to give a shout out to Don Ross for bringing out his beautiful recreation of Bobby Langley’s “Scorpion I” and Brian Perrenot and daughter Gretchen for cackling their competition coupe, the “Gizzle Hopper” (aka the “Stinkin’ Lincoln”) and giving us a good dose of nitro. Don Ross recently suffered a horrendous shop accident to his right hand, but that didn’t keep him away from what he loves. Get well soon Don!
Let’s indoctrinate the younger generation to the early days of hotrods and drag racing by keeping this Nostalgia movement alive and thriving. I hear it at least once a week from someone much younger than myself: “Oh, how I wish I could have witnessed what you old geezers had a chance to live on a daily basis!”
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Nostalgia Drag World - by Paul Caster; photos by Paul Caster and Clint Dobbs