Historic Nostalgia Drag Racing – Recorded On Film
Martin Libhart, Associate Publisher
Film? Did you say film?? Sharing photographs today, in our digital world, is easy. Sharing photographs from the past, originally captured on film…. a little more complicated.
We are fortunate to have Stephen Justice as one of our newest contributing photographers.
Stephen was just named the Division 7 - National Dragster Contributing Photographer of the Year for 2013. Stephen resides in the Sacramento, California area, and is the track photographer at Sacramento Raceway. In addition, he is responsible for media and publicity for the National A/F Racing Association. Stephen was born and raised in Long Beach, Ca. He started going to Lions Drag Strip in 1960, and actually worked at Lions Drag Strip for Taylor Concessions from 1962-1966, then left for college in San Diego. He attended most of the big West Coast races through early 1981, at which time family and business pursuits necessitated a change in priorities. He resumed attending NHRA events in 1988, but spent most of his discretionary time from 1986-2003 coaching advanced youth and high school soccer teams, including many that went on to become Div. 1 and Div. 2 recruits. Stephen formed Cutting Edge Athletics in 2000 to train and prepare athletes for college sports; he stopped coaching and training athletes in 2004. He began writing for George Crittenden in 2005, doing interviews and racer profiles, and ultimately served the racing community in the following way: west coast feature editor for Nitrogeezers 2005-2006; staff writer and photographer for Full Throttle News 2006-2007; staff writer and photographer for 1320 The Magazine 2008-2009, and contributing photographer for WDIFL 2006-2013. He also served at various times as official photographer for Pro Slammer Door Car Association, 7.0 Pro, and Nostalgia Pro Comp.
Last year, in December, Stephen acquired a collection of historic photographs that were a part of the Steven “Nitro Man” Wallace estate. Nitro Man passed away unexpectedly in 2013. Many racers and spectators – especially those on the west coast – knew Nitro Man. And if they didn’t know him personally, they soon learned to recognize him in his Nitro Man outfit along the wall or in the pits. To put it bluntly, he was a hoot! You could never be around him without a big smile on your face.
The Nitro Man collection that Stephen has acquired contains 244 positives (each 4x5 in size), and a few film negatives. These photographs are all from 1966 – mainly January to March. They have now been catalogued and put in protective acid-free sleeves. Stephen has been in the process of having these images scanned by a professional source, so that the resulting digital files can be used for publication or printing. This is a significant undertaking, and nothing is inexpensive these days. But the history that has been preserved, through these images, is worth more than money!
Don Garlits at Half Moon Bay Jan. 23, 1966 for the big match race against Don Prudhomme.
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