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Steve Reasbeck on Drag Racing 1962 to 1965 Mopars

Steve Reasbeck on Drag Racing 1962 to 1965 Mopars

When Gary H. mentioned that I might be permitted to blog and reminisce a bit on the 1962 to 1965 Mopar Web site, it did not take me long to say yes. I am grateful for the opportunity to share a bit of my history with these cars and drag racing, which goes back to the times when these cars were considered “late model”.

As I sit here, on the verge of yet another racing season, I have had a lot to ponder while the snow is still sitting on the ground. My experience with ’62-’65 MoPars goes back a long way, back to the day when my cousin purchased a brand new, aluminum nosed Hemi 330 1964 Dodge sedan to participate in the Super Stock wars in the Midwest. “Lucifer”, as it was called, had a successful career, and as a tyke I tagged along to trips to Bristol, Columbus, and Indianapolis. The first major event I ever attended was early in 1965, at Pittsburgh International Dragway back whenever NASCAR still had a drag race division. The winner of the event was Melvin Yow, who’s Ultra Stock 1965 Coronet out of OB Hewitt Dodge in South Carolina owned that circuit. His victim in the final round was one Bud Faubel, whose “Honker” Dodges had their own envious win records. I absolutely loved the “Big 1” Dodge, and sort of patterned my own Coronet after it.

1965 Dodge Coronet of Melvin Yow
This year, 2009, marks the fortieth year that I have owned and been racing my 1965 Dodge. My senior year in high school I found it on a used car lot in Johnstown, Pa., and the four year old hardtop was purchased for $1000. I still remember how amazed I was that someone could pay such a large sum of money for an automobile. The car has been exclusively raced since 1971, with a plethora of engines … a 273 (which I promptly used up), a 318 poly, several 361s and 383s, and finally a Hemi … which has powered the car since 1974. The car has literally thousands of passes down a drag strip …. I have long since lost count. 1965 Dodge Coronet Hemi burnout in Pittsburgh PA by Steve Reasbeck

The Mopar was equipped with a 273 and automatic transmission, and I loved it. I still do….it has been with me through several jobs, a fabulous, ongoing twenty eight year and counting marriage, the raising of three children to adulthood. It has seen me through good times, tough times, and even times when I was dead broke and on my deathbed. Due to health issues and the demands of raising a family, it sat an awful lot from the mid eighties through the late nineties, seeing only an occasional car show or a Nostalgia drag race. There were times over the years when I seriously thought of selling it, but my wife, realizing the stability it gave us, would not hear of it. When my eldest son, Kyle, was severely injured in a garage accident in 2003, it was his desire to bring the old girl back to life and race it again that helped him recover. He has become very proficient behind the wheel of a race car, and has since obtained his own 9.70 ET Plymouth Duster as well as his 10.30 second 1964 Dodge Polara. In 2007 when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the thought of getting well and climbing back into the saddle after my surgery was something I looked forward to and thought about often.

Please don’t misunderstand me…. I am not at all saying that anyone should put their faith or their dependence on any material object. It is my Catholic faith that drives my life, and I realize that any materialistic items I have been blessed enough to obtain is only a tool to be used help others. I firmly believe that many of those who visit the Nostalgia Super Stock races we attend are helped by the experience….if only to allow them to escape the tough times or own unseen and unknown troubles. For some reason, I have been blessed enough to do this, and I am grateful and humbled by the gift.

I have been blessed to have the opportunity to be able to put into writing the history of some of the friends I have made over the years … some who were very successful. Bill Stiles, Ken Montgomery, my friends at the Rod Shop, and several more, even the great Ford racer Dick Brannan. Of course, the highlight was doing the final piece on the great Ronnie Sox, who was as great a human being as well as drag racer. I still keep in touch with his widow, Diane, and do what I can to support the Ronnie Sox Foundation for St. Jude’s Hospital.

So, I will be posting random thoughts and updates in the future, inviting folks to attend races and shows, and to participate in this terrific endeavor. You will get back more than you ever put into it. Be patient, take care of obligations first, but over time you won’t regret it.

Our first event on the docket is going to be on April 25 at Mason Dixon Dragway in Hagerstown, Maryland, a “All Star Nostalgia Super Stock” circuit event promoted by the Ford guys at 422 Motorsports. If you are in the area … stop and see us.

That’s all for this time. I’ll be back.

God Bless,
Steve Reasbeck
Reasbeck Racing
Johnstown, Pa.

Tom Sneden Bounty Hunter 1964 Dodge
Tom Sneden and his Bounty Hunter 1964 Dodge
Steve vs the Ace of Diamonds 1964
Steve vs the Ace of Diamonds 1964 Dodge
at Beaver Spring’s “Friday Flashback” races.

April 1, 2009

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