USA-1 Nostalgia Dragfest 2017
Words & photos by Ted Papacenna
Unseasonably cold is what the newscaster said, and he was right. Leaving Long Island (N Y) at 5 AM Saturday November 11, it was more than “unseasonably cold”. It was freakin’ cold! In the 20s cold. When we arrived at the Stoney Creek barn a little under 4 hours later, it was still “unseasonably cold” but somewhat more tolerable. That is if you were outside where the action was equal to the action inside.
This would be the 20th annual edition of the Dragfest and there were rumors before, after, and during the event that it would be the last. Although I have a sneaky suspicion that it won’t be (the last). What began as a basement bench racing session between friends has morphed over the years to a full blown event. One that takes place right in the middle of suburban Dauphin, Pa. The barn is at the end of the development and has a lot of space for all of the different kinds of cars that show up. They drive up, park, and display and leave as quietly (as possible) as they arrived.
Early morning milling around
The late funny car driver for JFR, Eric Medlin has been quoted saying something like “You can never be unhappy eating ice cream”. I concur and if I may, I’ll add the fact that you cannot be unhappy either inside or outside of the Stoney Creek barn on this day. First of all, you never quite know what’s going to show up (or who). A little birdie told me in advance that the recently restored Chevoom 66 Chevelle funny car would be in attendance. And it was! We (my wife and I) got there just as it was being unloaded. I guess I should backtrack a bit. Bruce has a few vendors inside the barn and I’m one of them. So we get there about ½ hour before it starts and set up. My wife stays in while I go out and get as many photos as I can before she leaves to visit a friend who lives in nearby Mechanicsburg. She gets back a little before it’s over and we leave.
Chevoom showed up for the festivities
So, I went out and got as many clear shots of Chevoom as I could before the crowd hovered around it. And all the other cool rides that were on display. Everything from front engine dragsters, hot rods, rat rods, muscle cars and a few pro rides like Chevoom, Da Grump’s Vega and Roy Harris’ Budman Arrow funny car. This year’s featured guest was Bob Frey the ex-announcer for the NHRA. Bob ran this years’ auction and had the place roaring. A lot of money was raised this year for Ronald McDonald House. Also seen meandering about was Jungle Pam and funny car shoe George Johnson who drove the Jim Wemmet funny cars. The place was packed to the rafters with close to 700 in attendance. A great time was had by all. We eagerly await news of next years’ edition. Will this be the last? WE shall see.
Jim & Alison Lee AA/FD alongside Roy Harris’ mostly original sans motor Budman Arrow F/C
Grumpy’s Vega on the trailer and yours for a paltry 65k
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