Steve Reasbeck on Drag Racing 1962 to 1965 Mopars
September / October 2010
If nothing else, this season will go down as one of the more memorable ones Ive had for a long time. While the kids were small, and demanded all of the time and energy Deb and I had, and certainly all the money, it was easy to think that these racing days were over. But, the kids grew up, came to love the sport as much as I do, and Im involved in a way that I havent done in over thirty years. As my good friend, Jim Amos, who owns Bee On Video, said to me not long ago, Just think, we got to do it twice. So true, and Im grateful.
After Maple Grove, we headed to Beaver Springs for the Flashback Friday event, race number 2 on their schedule. Bob McCardle at the Beaver is the absolute master of Nostalgia events, and it shows. Again, the stands were packed, and 30+ NSS cars made the first round. I went two rounds, before dropping one to my good friend Ron McClellands 1966 Dodge Hemi. Basically, I pulled a geezer brain fade, as I drove through second gear. Ronnie, went out the next round, but Kyles 1964 wedge continued his great showing, marching a string of 10.60s to the final round, where he would face off with Chet Cooks Chevy in a replay of the final at Maple Grove several weeks before. This time, though, Chet reversed the outcome taking Kyle out in a close one. We were unable to stay for the 422 event the next day, due to a family emergency, but regardless were satisfied with the results.
Well, here I sit, a bright sunny afternoon here in Western Pennsylvania. Labor Day is over, and it is a beautiful early fall day, the temperature is in the mid sixties and a cool breeze is coming out of the north. It is a reminder that another racing year is winding down...most of the big events are behind us. It has gone by so fast, and, to be perfectly frank, Im tired. It seems like just yesterday when I stood in a washbay of a Sunoco gas station in June of 1964 looking at a brand new aluminum nosed Hemi 330 sedan. The car hooked me on racing mid-sixties B bodies, and that love of them has never waned, even after forty six years. I am grateful each day that I am still involved, and have been blessed beyond belief to do it with my kids and family, and to race with friends Ive known for decades. I also remember and think of those whove weve lost...every year the list gets longer. But, I have full faith in the young folks that are keeping these old cars going, and racing, and I find it incredible that after all these years these cars and this movement is stronger than it has been since the mid sixties.
Before we fold up shop and break out the snow shovels, there was still some work to do, and some fun to have. The Chrysler Classic series comes to a close on September 18-19 at Norwalk, Ohio, and is a fitting finale for a great series. A lot of the guys we race with intend to go...but we wound staying a bit closer to home. We attended the Pittsburgh International Dragway / Keystone Raceway Park Reunion at Pittsburgh Raceway Park on Saturday, September 18, to race in a small, abbreviated Nostalgia Super Stock eliminator. Pittsburgh Raceway Park was absolutely packed for the event, and somehow Ron McClelland and I wound up being the go to guys for the NSS cars. It was short notice for us to run a separate eliminator, but it worked. I want especially to thank some of our friends who towed in to support it, Bill Sabo, Captain Caveman, and Allen George who bought his 409 1962 Chevy in from Philly on short notice. Thanks to all, and everyone put on a good show. PRP has promised us some input on scheduling next year, and there are some other improvements in the works. I really think this can be a very good event.
The next day we actually attended a car show in the area. The Last Blast of Summer is a large event in the Johnstown, Pa., area, and it is for charity. As normal, there were 500 cars involved and it was incredibly successful. Although I am not a big car show guy...its not really my thing: the promoters and organizers are close friends of mine and encouraged our attendance. So, we cleaned up the best work could and trailered up there. I sat on a chair and shot the bull for a couple of hours, an activity that Im good at. I practice a lot, and have become quite proficient. It is amazing the attention these cars get, after all these years. Everything from old timers who remember the cars in their heyday, to youngsters who are credulous when you explain to them that there existed a time where one could walk into the local Dodge or Plymouth dealer and order one, and even drive it home. Sometimes I find it hard to believe myself. Ronnie and I were talking the other evening...sometimes it is easy to take this stuff as no big deal, as weve been doing it so long, and had the cars forever (Ive owned mine for forty one years).
There is only an event or two on the docket for the end of the year....the 422 All Stars at Maple Grove, or the MoPar event at Maryland International Raceway are both penciled in. Well keep going, as long as we can, and keep enjoying these old MoPars. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to realize that Im still doing it after all these years...after hard times financially, raising a family, and serious health issues. Life is good.
Talk to you shortly,
September 28, 2010