Southeast Gassers Association
Montgomery Raceway Park June 11, 2016
Text by Stephen Smith; Photos by Doug Trenholm
Rain, rain, rain was the name of the game in Montgomery, Alabama, for the fourth stop on the Southeast Gassers' 2016 tour. The first time ever at Montgomery Raceway Park would prove to be a battle of rain showers. The showers started a couple hours before our official start time and would delay the event another couple hours.
Many gassers were caught out in the rain before provisions could be made. A few of the water logged cars would start to qualify only to realize the doors and rocker panels were holding water. Quain Stott actually had a couple close calls as water dripped from the rocker panels onto the tires while under acceleration. When all the water issues were cleared from the track and from each gasser affected, we would eventually make it to the semifinals before the big storm came that would conclude our night.
Quian Stott reeling it in
25 cars made the long haul south and we truly appreciated all their efforts. Even our legendary 83 year old Gene Cromer would make the six hour trip from Anderson, South Carolina. He wouldn't win the long haul award though! Rusty Sampsel and the "Bad Banana" '55 Chevy traveled from Michigan and made the most of it by making the semifinals.
Rusty has resurrected the '55 Chevy that he used to ride in as a kid, the same car his Dad raced in the late 1960’s. Rusty remembers hanging on to the roll bars as his Dad would shake down the car on the neighborhood streets. Rusty's Dad passed away in 2013 and his ashes are contained within the frame rails of the "Bad Banana."
Rusty Sampsel in the "Bad Banana"
Rusty has built the car back to fully resemble the way he remembered it when his Dad terrorized the drag strips in the 60's. Stories and memories such as Rusty Sampsel's help form the foundation of what the Southeast Gassers Association are founded on.
Of all the problems that the rain brought our way, there would be many positives taken from Montgomery. Our new friend from Alabama, Robert Simpson, would surely help make our rain soaked trip one to remember. Robert would join us with the "Chicken Pickers" 1940 Willys sedan, which last competed in 1974. The owner, Ray Herring, Jr., told Robert to take the Willys to Montgomery and have fun with it and we are so glad he did! From the high wheel stands to the 1965 original paint and five national records from its days in D/gas it was a pleasure for everyone there to witness. Be sure to look for Robert Simpson and the "Chicken Pickers" Willys in future 2016 Southeast Gassers' events.
Robert Simpson in the "Chicken Pickers" Willys
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