Maple Grove Raceway 8/18/18
By Ted Pappacena
I think we should start a movement to ban extended weather forecasts. You know the ones; 5 days or 10 days out. They cause undue stress and anxiety. About a week before this event which was on a Friday (night) and Saturday, the extended forecasts said the weather would be sunny with 0% of rain. As each day got us closer to Saturday the percentages went up and down like a rollercoaster until Friday’s forecast put the percentage at 80% in the following afternoon! Well at least there’s some breathing room.
With this in mind we left Long Island at 6 AM and arrived to mainly sunny skies at Maple Grove Raceway. It was also hot and humid and there was the threat of rain after 2 PM but the weather gods smiled and no rain showed up. This was too bad for the event, as the constant threat of rain kept the attendance way down. But the show must go on and go on it did. This event I’m told was a former Geezers at the Grove event that has morphed into Glory Daze. I have to say that this event is as close to the national events I attended in the late '60s and '70s as you can get and if this statement fires all your cylinders, it’s a must attend for next year.
Race promoter (with Steve Musser) Chris Massarella helps wife Krista
pack the chutes on her Temporary Insanity injected Monza.
The event was promoted by Chris Massarella (who had two funny cars in attendance) and Steve Musser (crewman for the Time Bomb F/C) and run by the very capable Bill Bader, Jr. Bill’s father is the owner of Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio and Bill’s experience with that track came with him to Maple grove. He had the event running as smooth as silk. Also, a special “Thank You” goes to the entire staff of Maple Grove Raceway. Their help during the day was greatly appreciated. One couldn’t ask for a better variety of cars and one group surprised even me. In attendance in no particular order were the East Coast Gassers,
N E T O, M A N D R A, the East Coast Fuelers (surprise to me) and Funny Cars! The funny cars were handpicked for this event by Steve and Chris. Two of the advertised cars didn’t make the show due to parts breakage but the spaces were quickly filled.
Rattletrap Willys lifts em with the East Coast Gassers.
Funny cars in attendance were the injected entries of Krista Masserella’s Temporary Insanity Monza, Willie Johnson’s No Money No Funny Chevy Nova, Bob Daly’s Warhorse Mustang, and the blown entries of Chris Masserella’s Total Insanity Monza, the Time Bomb Vega, the Sweetman Brothers Citation, John Cerchio’s War Path Buick, Robin Stambaugh-Shoeman’s Generation-X Vette, Kevin Johnson’s Quarter Pounder Firebird, Steve George’s Nightmare Arrow, and Rocky Pirrone’s resurrected Screamin’ Eagle Firebird. There was also a two car nitro funny car matchup between Bruce Larson’s USA-1 Camaro and Keith Davidson’s beautiful Bits N Pieces Firebird. Two other cars on the grounds but not running were the Smokey Bonze Chevy II and the Steel City Charger.
Blown alky winner Brian Gawlik wheels Rocky Pirrone’s Screamin Eagle to two 6.47s
with one at Top Speed of the Meet 221 mph.
Funny cars ran Chicago Style with the two low E Ts from the two rounds of racing squaring off in the final. That honor went to Brian Gawlik wheeling Rocky Pirrone’s Screamin Eagle Firebird over Bobby Toth in the Time Bomb Vega. Brian recorded two 6.47 second E Ts with a Top Speed of the Meet 221 mph in the first round. Willie Johnson took the injected portion of the event over Krista Masserella. Krista didn’t go home empty handed though as she took the S&W Quick Reaction Time Award! Keith Davidson took both rounds of his match with Bruce Larson as Larson had a motor let go in the traps in the first round and could not get USA-1 fixed for the 2nd round matchup. There was also a judged burnout contest for both rounds. The criteria was volume of smoke over distance. It seemed to me that everyone really stepped up for it. The prize would be $1000 put up by Steve Musser. It turned out that there were 2 winners; Robin Stambaugh-Shoeman in the Generation -X Corvette in round one and Kevin Johnson in the Quarter Pounder Firebird in round two. So naturally I thought they would split the prize. However that was not the case as they both went home with $1000 each! Quite an incentive for next year’s event! Maybe there should be an award for best dry hops too. Brian and Bobby gave me goose bumps each time they raced.
Round 2 burnout contest winner Kevin Johnson won it with a burnout like this,
but at a cost as the tranny went south afterwards.
The Gassers, NETO, MANDRA and the Fuelers put on quite a show with round after round of intense racing. Aside from Larson’s blown engine there were no out of shape runs that I saw and I was out there pretty much all day. This event will only get better in the future with more funny cars for next year, so mark your calendars for next year’s event.
Time Bomb Vega F/C pilot Bobby Toth preps the motor.
Keith Davidson concentrates on getting the setup just right on Bits N Pieces.
Alky F/C winner Rocky Pirrone took the Screamin Eagle Firebird out of mothballs for Brian Gawlik.
M A N D R A digger launches hard.
Rick Osburn took the 38 Special Chevy pickup to new heights on every pass.
This knockout C O E ramp truck with killer Willys pickup gasser not only didn’t win any award
in the car show but the mean looking Willys didn’t touch the track. Go figure!
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