One week before our trip to North Myrtle Beach Drag Strip, Hurricane Matthew rocked the coastline of South Carolina. Our first time in North Myrtle would become a weekend that we would never forget.
Founder of the Southeast Gassers, Quain Stott, arrived at the track on Wednesday and monitored the flooding situation day and night until our Saturday event. Friday morning, Quain would awaken to the Waccama River rising to cover the entrance to the pit area and the return road. There would be no official decision made until Saturday morning for the noon start time. Many members even waited alongside the highways for word of whether the show would go on. If it were not for the extensive efforts of Aces High Tattoo Shop in Myrtle Beach and the Assorted Nuts Car Club of the Grand Strand area, the success of this event may have never happened.
Tattoo shop owner, artist, and hot rodder with a passion for period correct gasser drag racing.
A true friend of the Southeast Gassers Association, Boot Leonard.
Owner of Aces High Tattoo, Boot Leonard, would be a blessing from above to our gasser association. Months of preparation and spreading the word to the Grand Strand, along with working with the track to insure that the red carpet would be rolled out for us, insured a strong bond with Boot and his friends from the tattoo shop and his car club. I could write an entire month's article on the efforts of Boot Leonard and company.
Making the best of a bad situation! Good times had by all! Thank you NMB Drag Strip!
Though it was wet, the red carpet was indeed rolled out for the Southeast Gassers as we gathered at the North Myrtle Beach Drag Strip.
Stephen Smith making his way to the pits
With a flooded return road and no power for the lights, we would put on a show like no other since 1967. Our good friend, Joseph Ross, would be our official flag man. The 23 gassers that made the show out of the 32 entered would race a non-points event and return back down the track after each run.
Fans would be shuttled to the pit area via trucks, flatbeds, 4 wheelers or anything else that could make the trek through 75 feet of water that was up to 14 inches deep.
Although it felt like we threw together a last ditch effort to put on a show we knew we had to do something because of the hundreds of fans that had come from all over the southeast and as far as Utah, Delaware and Florida to see our version of a 1967 gasser event. Our long distance racers such as Rusty Sampsel from Michigan and the majority of our group from four to six hours away were also eager to do some wheels up drag racing. We were also glad to welcome for his first SGA event, Troy Lightner in his "Shakin' Bacon" '51 Henry J.
The water creeped through the track walls but never reached the racing surface. Quain expressed extreme caution to the drivers not to push the issue if they found themselves out of the groove. Of course, racers always listen and use caution! Well, let's just say that at the end of an accident free day, we experienced more slipping, sliding and lane swapping action than we have ever witnessed in a five hour event.
An event that just wasn't supposed to take place, it would be one that would never be forgotten. Many drivers and crews, as well as fans, mentioned the race as being one of the most memorable events that they have ever been a part of.
Todd Naiper near lane - Tim Greer far lane
As for first time C/Gas winner, Jared Bailey, I'm sure he and his Dad, Tim Bailey, would agree. Jared, in his beautiful '41 Studebaker defeated Todd Napier in a fender to fender battle to the finish line.
Jared Bailey - C/Gas winner