Nitro Night at Cruisin Grand
September 27, 2013 - Escondido, CA
by Darrell and Pam Conrad
Hot fun in the SoCal summertime can be defined in countless ways, however for the Hot Rod enthusiast Cruise Nights in Escondido pretty much says it all. For the past several years the northern San Diego county town of Escondido has established an ongoing cruising tradition that has matured into one of the best in the country. Simply known as “Cruisin Grand”, it literally has something for everyone. This most spectacular show is host to hundreds of 1973 and earlier American-made Classics, Customs, Vintage, Muscle and Hot Rods. Cruise Nights run from April through September and easily attract upwards to 20,000 visitors and automotive enthusiasts’ at each Friday night event.
As they have done in the past, this year’s Cruisin Grand Nitro Night closed out the events season with an incredible display of recollections and magic moments from Drag Racing’s Golden Era. In doing so the old downtown business district of Escondido was lined side-by-side with some of the most immortalized cars from America’s historic past. With spectators packed shoulder-to-shoulder, this family-friendly environment has become a summertime tradition that will take you back in time where your memories can once again become a living reality.
"Nitro Night" 2013 took place on Friday September 27th. The following teams assembled and made their way down for this annual migration of fuelers to the intersection of Broadway and W Grand Avenue in downtown Escondido, California.
Ken Blackmore’s “Poison Ivy” AA/FD
Bobby Wilton’s “Wilton & Doss” AA/FD
Bobby Hansen’s “Wynn's Spoiler” AA/FD
Mike Tacco’s “Tocco, Harper, Garten” AA/FA
Glenn Way’s “Goundshaker Jr.” AA/FA
Joe Passalaqua’s “Smirnoff” AA/FD
Sam Chastain’s “Iron Horse” AA/FD
Steve Serot & Rick Bulluni’s “Climax” AA/FA
Tommy “the Watch Dog” Allen’s "Trick Car" AA/FD
Bill Pitt’s “Magicar” AA/FD
Ron Johnson’s “Shubert & Herbert” AA/FD
Terry and Claudia Mastrejuan's “Thunder Chief” AA/FD
Ron Johnson’s “ChiZler” AA/FD
Sonny Messner's “Swamp Rat II” AA/FD
Ron Johnson’s “Tommy Ivo - Barnstormer” AA/FD
Passions that evoked the inescapable reality of human drama and the parameters of our immortal flesh, there's definitely something far beyond "economics" at work here. Be it Fuel Dragsters or Fuel Altereds, the mystical allure of nitromethane is the taskmaster that draws a line in the sand which no man dares to cross or impending disaster will occur. It's as if these individuals are bent on not just stopping the clock; they are turning it back 50 years to a time when they and their cars were tearing up now extinct southland drag strips almost every weekend of the year! One by one each car not only challenged us to investigate the internal essence that bonds nitro-junkies together with their genetic blueprint of raw horsepower and the passage of time; they carefully pealed back their unique, underlying history that has been deeply etched within our consciousness today.
As usual the surrounding streets were closed off at about 2:00 pm so the precious cargo within the time capsule transporters could be unloaded accordingly. Shortly thereafter each car was pushed to their makeshift curbside pit where they were staged for the evening’s events. Moments before the show got underway, Steve Gibbs held a brief “Drivers Meeting” to lay out the plan and get everybody on the same page.
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