Old Daze Drags - F/C Brawl
Island Dragway, Great Meadows New Jersey 9/16/18
Words and photos by Ted Pappacena
Well, it looks like the 4th time is the charm. This event has been postponed three times due to inclement weather. Uh, make that rain! Originally scheduled for August 6 and after 3 more postponements, the event finally went off without a hitch on Sunday the 16th of September. It started out as the 58th Annual Funny Car Throwdown and finally morphed into the Old Daze Drags/Funny Car Brawl. The original event was to have front engine dragsters as well as jet funny cars. But with all the postponements and racers commitments the fuelers and jets couldn’t come back. The support groups like the East Coast Gassers, N E T O, and MANDRA were light on entries as well.
One of the few East Coast Gassers on hand was Gregg Gruble’s 51 Chevy called “Class Reunion”.
However, undaunted, Melissa and Carl Milano (track owners) put out the call to multi funny car racer Chris Masserella and a new show was hastily put together. Chris was able to get hold of 10 blown alky and 3 injected alky funny cars as well as 1 AA/FA for the show.
Race coordinator/blown F/C competitor/ injected F/C crew chief Chris Masserella brings wife Krista into the beams. Krista would eventually runner up in the class.
So, in no special order, the cars that made the Chicago Style show were; Jon Wall’s Fireball Monza, Willie Johnson’s No Money No Funny Nova, Chris and Krista Masserella’s Total and Temporary Insanity Monzas, Rocky Roxlau’s Time Bomb Vega, the Sweetman Brothers’ (and Dad) Citation, Rocky Pirrone’s double threat team with the Super Camaro and Frantic Ford Mustang, Keith Davidson’s Bits N Pieces Firebird, Chuck Exton’s Nitro Mustang, Jack Armstrong’s Smokey Bonz Chevy II, George Reidnauer’s Excalibur Corvette, Frank Barnard’s Poison Arrow, and rounding out the field with Tony Mazzerella’s Hell Bound alky fuel altered driven by John Hadyniak. WHEW!
Time Bomb Vega and Total Insanity Monza doing side by side ¾ track burnouts.
The day started out hot and humid but I didn’t hear any complaints about the weather all day. A big thank you to all the teams that kept me hydrated! Anyway it seemed that most all of the blown cars were literally putting their best foot forward doing the most ferocious burnouts I’ve seen in a long time. I found out after the first round that there was a burnout contest and I was asked to be one of the judges. This was no easy task but when the smoke cleared , the winner was Jon Wall in the Fireball Monza. Joe Morrison driving the Super Camaro put together 6.69 and 6.49 second runs to win the blown alky portion of the show. The injected portion of the event was taken by Frank Barnard in the Poison Arrow putting together 2 runs of 7.89 and 7.93 sec @ 167mph both times. A big “Thank You” goes out to S&W Race Cars for sponsoring the awards too!
Rocky Pirrone (left holding sign) and driver Joe Morrison (holding awards) celebrate victory with the crew.
Frank Barnard (l) is your Injected F/C winner.
There were no incidents but a few hairy runs as the Time Bomb Vega with Bobby Toth at the helm decided he wanted the right lane instead of the left and drifted into it following Chris Masserells’s lead to the top end. The Sweetman Brothers Citation almost kissed the left lane guardrail. Then Brian Gawlik in the Frantic Ford Mustang sashayed all over the right lane on his 2nd round burnout and drifted to the right lane guardrail but masterfully keeping it at bay. A fairly large crowd was treated to some pretty intense bracket racing in between the funny car runs and a good time was had by all. Hopefully next years’ event will be moisture free and on time.
Sedate looking 57 Chevy lifted the front end on every pass
Nasty looking 66 Fairlane
A smattering of N E T O Nostalgia showed up including this clean 55.
It takes a lot of HP to lift the front end on this 57 wagon and send it into the 10s.
Don’t laugh this vintage GMC tractor tore up the track with blistering 70 mph top end charges.
Nothing says “Old Daze Drags” like this Caddy powered 31 Ford hot rod
- B U G Marissa Hornberger guides the Super Camaro back in its tracks.
Bobby Toth in the Time Bomb Vega decides Chris Masserella’s lane is better.
Jon Wall, the event’s burnout contest winner seems to have an urgent message for me.
Drew Sweetman addresses the guardrail during 2nd round competition. Missed it by “that much”!
What it took to win the burnout contest.
Brian Gawlik gets the Frantic Ford sideways during his round 2 burnout.
Chuck Exton’s “Nitro” Mustang had problems after this strong burnout and couldn’t return for round 2 competition.
The Super Camaro, handled by Joe Morrison launches to victory as Rocky Pirrone (l) and crew watch intently.
NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD - Words and photos by Ted Pappacena