9th Annual Ardmore Hot Rod Reunion
by Paul Caster
Over the years, and since its inception by Rob Ragland, the Ardmore Dragway Hot Rod Reunion at this small Oklahoma track has grown to astronomical proportions. Rick and Brenda Carrell purchased the facility in 2008 and with the help of Rob have taken this get together of old friends and racers and evolved it into a very enjoyable event for spectators and competitors alike. This year, the two full days of events during the 9th Annual Ardmore Dragway Hot Rod Reunion included a car show, nitromethane-fueled front engine dragsters doing push starts and cackles under the lights on Friday night, and a great racing program by the Southwest Heritage Racing Association.
When John Dearmore and I arrived at the facility around 11:00 a.m. Friday morning on August 29th there were very few teams already on the grounds. We wanted to get there early to have access to the track without the interruption of any racing. You may be asking why so early when the spectator gates don’t open until 4:00 in the afternoon? The answer is simple: I would be doing my first push start in an AA/FD in 40 years! Yep…forty long years since a push start with moi in the hot seat. I had static cackled John’s beautiful front engine dragster several times in the past, but this is the real deal just like the old days: Push Start! I kept telling myself it was just like riding the proverbial old bicycle… and indeed it was. To tell the truth, it was as if all of those 40 years had been instantly erased. I had a ball and so did the crowd, as we re-created the normal method of firing these cars that, with the aircraft starters of today, is only a memory to some and has never been experienced by the younger generation.
I want to give a shout out to Doug Morrison and Craig Kindiger for the help they gave John and me on Friday during our first push start. I also want to send a big thank you to Pat Wasson and Vikki York of the beautiful Texas Gold AA/FD (driven by Chip Woodall) for keeping Chip and me cool with the cold towels they supplied us with. They certainly helped to temper the hot ‘n humid Oklahoma heat during our long Saturday afternoon wait while suited up and sitting in the cars before the last push start.
John Dearmore and I will be doing static cackles and a push start at the NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, outside of Dallas, later this month. If you’re in attendance, please stop by our pit area and say hello. If not, tune in to ESPN and maybe you’ll catch us!
Big Kahuna Speed Shots
Nostalgia Drag World - by Paul Caster; photos by Steve Scott
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