ROUTE 66 CLASSIC
By Mike Sopko Jr.
The NHRA boasts some of the most state of the art drag racing facilities in the country. Route 66, built 20 years ago is one of those facilities. Named after the historic Route 66 roadway that crossed our nation, Route 66 Raceway has a very modern-day stadium feel and some of the nicest amenities. Despite its modern feel and creature comforts, one day a year Route 66 turns back the clocks to its more historical roots and pays tribute to the many legendary tracks of the Chicago area such as US 30 Dragstrip and Oswego.
Each August the grounds of the Joliet, Illinois facility are filled with street rods, muscle cars, nostalgia super stocks, gassers, nostalgia pro stocks, front engine-dragsters, nostalgia alcohol funny cars, and this year a match race between John Lawson’s nostalgia fuel funny car and Tom Motry’s fuel altered.
Dennis Holas leaves hard as part of the Midwest Super Stock Mafia
Fans were treated to a variety of nostalgic racing vehicles. The Midwest Super Stock Mafia brought a group of wheelstanding 8 second muscle cars that were not afraid to test the durability of their wheelie bars or bumpers. The Midwest Nostalgia Pro Stock Association also thrilled the Chicagoland fans with smokey burnouts, wheels-up launches, and 7 to 8 second passes that were reminiscent of the factory hot rods of old. For those missing the days of the straight axle gassers, a group of those were on hand as well punishing their tires while dueling with on another down the quartermile.
Mike Ruth takes on Scott Hoffman in a Nostalgia Pro Stock battle
The Great Lakes Nostalgia Funny Car Circuit, brought 4 floppers out to the track. The first round match ups saw Rocky Ausec and his “Solid Rock” Mustang take on Bill Anderson’s “Afternoon Rush Hour Roadshow” Camaro. The race looked to be over at the start as Anderson red lighted and Ausec coasted down the track for the win. However, upon further inspection Ausec’s car had mechanical breakage in the transmission and was unable to return thus re-entering Anderson into the race. Mark Horvath’s “Damn Yankee” Vega defeated John Troxel’s “Mopar Crazy” Challenger 7.07 at 176 mph to a 7.88 at 171 mph. The final paired Anderson versus Horvath. Anderson had the holeshot off of the line and carried it to the finish with a slower 7.06 at 193 mph win to a quicker but losing 7.04 at 193 mph for Horvath.
Bill Anderson wins the GLNFCC final with a hole shot win over Mark Horvath
John Lawson’s “Runaway” 70 ½ Camaro competed against Tom Motry’s “Drastic Plastic” Anglia with Tim Cullinan at the wheel. The first race saw Lawson get out on Cullinan and pull away for the victory with a 5.50 at 272 mph to Cullinan’s 6.09 at 223 mph. The final saw side by side pedal jobs by both drivers as they were in and out of the throttle trying to get to the 1320 ft. stripe first. Again Lawson claimed victory, this time with a 5.65 at 261 mph to Cullinan’s 6.03 at 219 mph.
John Lawson defeats Tim Cullinan in the nitro showdown at the Route 66 Classic
Though the track may be more modern than classic, this event continues to grow bringing more and more spectators, vendors, hot rodders, and drag racing enthusiasts out each year. If you are in the area next year, come on out and relive the some of Chicago’s historic drag racing scene.
See you at the drags,
Mike Sopko Jr.
Side by side slingshot burnouts
Larry Quinn points the nose to the sky in his "Blast from the Past"
No nostalgia event is complete without Gassers!
Two straight axes launch down the 1320
A nostalgia super stock is brought into the beams
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