Nostalgia Super Stock Inc. - Jim Brandon
By Bob Wilkiewicz
Nostalgia Super Stock Inc. Staff
‘Dedicated to Improvement’ is not just a slogan for Jim Brandon, who has been a racer since 1974. It’s a way of life.
His ‘Rebel Rouser’ ’64 Dodge Polara has been a tool in itself for that concept for not only Brandon, the automotive department chairman at Linn State Technical College, but for the school and every student in his programs.
“When I was hired as an instructor at the college in 1993, one of the things discussed in the interview was my racing activities and the possibility of using my background in drag racing for promoting the automotive program,” explained Brandon, a true pioneer in Nostalgia Super Stock. “So in 1994 I started the Tech Team, an after school club for students interested in performance and racing.”
Brandon was in the perfect time and place to get involved in Nostalgia Super Stock racing, mid-1980’s and mid-Missouri, and has been a NSS Inc. club member ten years.
photo by Peter Ores
“I had some friends who were into restoring cars and when the nostalgia racing thing got started in the 1980’s we went to one of the events at Mid-American Raceway in Wentzville, MO,” said Brandon. “We decided to build a ‘clone car,’ a 1963 Dodge Max Wedge car and paint it up like the old Ramchargers car.
“We ran some races that were called ‘Muscle From the Past’ where we’d race old-style cars against the new cars. We started getting paid to show up at these events and from that, Nostalgia Super Stock Racing started.”
The team started building the car and had it finished within a school year. The first major race Brandon took the car to was the Super Stock Reunion in Richmond Virginia in 1995.
Every year following, Brandon picked a project to upgrade the race car and the students helped, and they all also worked on many student projects over the years as well.
The admission staff at the College has used the car for events and tours as a focal point for recruiting for many years. Also because of its involvement with Caterpillar, the college became an associate sponsor for the Top Fuel car of Hot Rod Fuller in 2008.
“I got to go to the starting line with the dragster at St. Louis and Fuller won the event that year,” Brandon said. “It was quite an experience.”
photo by Peter Ores
Matco Tools helped the Tech Team by providing a sponsorship for the ‘Rebel Rouser,’ and arranged for Antron Brown's top fuel car to stop at the college for a day when it raced at St. Louis as well. The enrollment of the automotive program increased and the interest in performance areas increased enough that the college gave permission to create a performance option in 2011. The performance operation has replaced the tech team.
The automotive program has been full with a waiting list for the last 6 years. With a part of the Team ASE Grassroots Racing Program, Brandon has used the car to enhance the scope of the school’s Automotive Technology program.
“We teach an ASE Certified Master Program here and I am also an evaluation team leader for certifying other ASE programs here in Missouri,” Brandon stated. “Since we are an ASE Certified Program, we use the NATEF end of program test as the final for our classes. We encourage all of the students to earn their certifications. We have an Advisory Council that includes manufacturer’s reps and shop owners that want to the students to have ASE and NATEF certifications as well, so it’s a good fit for both us and the students.”
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