NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD
presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports
Route 66 Classic
Route 66 Raceway - Joliet, IL August 15, 2015
Text and photos by Mike Sopko Jr
Additional photos by Mike Sopko Sr - Dan Ricks
Nostalgia drag racing continues to thrive in the Midwest. It may not boast the large car counts that the West coast races do, but none the less nostalgia drag racing in the Midwest is quite healthy. Currently the Midwest boasts of such races as the National Hot Rod Reunion, the World Fuel Altered Nationals, and the World Series of Drag Racing. A popular event that also continues to build in excitement is Byron Dragway's Meltdown Drags. Another event that is quickly gaining a reputation for great nostalgia racing is the Route 66 Classic.
The Route 66 Classic included a wide spectrum of vintage drag racing vehicles ranging from Nostalgia Super Stocks, Nostalgia Pro Stocks, injected and blown slingshots, supercharged altereds and funny cars, as well Tom Motry's famed "Drastic Plastic."
Route 66 may be one of the most modern tracks on the circuit making it an odd choice to host a nostalgia event. But its tower creates cool effects such as this. As all the raw fuel and smoke in the air is highlighted by the sunset and the powerful "Drastic Plastic" emerges from it.
The forecasts called for 90 plus degree temps and high humidity, but unfortunately that high humidity led to scattered showers that put racing action on hold for a couple hours. Still undeterred, the sun came out a little while later and the Route 66 crew got the strip back in racing condition.
Some of the match racing action on display included Buddy Hull's "Outta Control" blown '23 T vs. Pete Dove's long wheel based altered (reminiscent of Ron Boggs’ TAD). Both drivers put on a show with great burnouts, wheels up launches and low to mid 7 second passes at more than 180 mph.
Pete Dove with his patented wheelstanding launch - Buddy Hull trying to keep it under control
Dennis Salzwimmer’s Great Lakes Nostalgia Funny Car Circuit also had four cars on the grounds to please the fans with long smokey burnouts and great side by side racing action. Bill Anderson’s “Roadshow” Camaro bested Rocky Ausec’s “Solid Rock” Mustang in both passes while Mark Horvath’s “Gold Coast Charger” Cordoba out ran John Troxel’s “Mopar Crazy” Challenger.
Another feature was the continued match race between John Lawson's "Runaway" Firebird funny car and Tom Motry's "Drastic Plastic" driven by Joe Haas. Joe took the victory in the first match up with a 5.43 at 270 mph to Lawson's 5.67 at 245 mph. The penultimate run of the evening was to again pair Lawson and Haas. Unfortunately, after both cars made their burnouts the throttle cable on "Drastic Plastic" broke giving Lawson a solo. Lawson stabbed the throttle only to smoke the tires about 100 ft. out. Lawson quickly pedaled the car and kept the candles lit through the rest of the 1320 recording a 5.82 at 256 mph.
No awards were given for the following, but I think these could have been added to the event:
Best Burnout: Rocky Ausec in the "Solid Rock" Mustang funny car. Rocky lit the hides and kept them smoking all the way to the 660 ft. mark on both of his passes.
The King of the Burnouts at the Classic, Rocky Ausec
Best Wheelstand: The "We Haul" Nostalgia Super Stock. Unfortunately on his first pass none of the NDW photographers had their cameras focused on him. We were all very disappointed as he passed us with the front wheels hanging high in the air well past the 60' mark. As the car came back out of orbit and returned to the surface sparks actually flew out from underneath it. Later he came back in the evening to again carry the wheels even further this time.
Bill White carried this wheel stand a long way down track (photo by Mike Sopko Sr.)
Best Appearing Car: At a nostalgia event such as this it is extremely difficult to narrow this down to one car. However, the "Rock 'N Roll Express" of Bob Buckley is a beautifully built new car that maintains the essence of the slingshots from the past. The car was built by Keith Burgan (Rooman Motorsports) and boasts a gorgeous candy apple red paint job with painted lettering and stripes. Not only is the car a looker, but it also performs with long smokey burnouts and mid 7 second ET's.
Bob Buckley and the Rock N Roll Express (photo by Mike Sopko Sr.)
All in all the event was a success and didn't let Mother Nature spoil the fun. If you are in the Midwest make sure to catch next year's Route 66 Classic and the other Midwestern nostalgia events.
See you at the drags,
Mike Sopko Jr.
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