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Steve Reasbeck on Drag Racing 1962 to 1965 Mopars

Steve Reasbeck on Drag Racing 1962 to 1965 Mopars

July 2009: First, I must apologize for the tardiness of this piece. The circumstances causing its delay were unavoidable, but I would still like to set the record straight. There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I was doubling for Brad Pitt in his latest film venture. That being said, there is a lot to talk about this time.

It’s been a busy month and a half, and we have had our venerable 1965 Hemi Dodge at the drag strip on a couple of notable occasions. First was the Curt George Memorial / Chrysler Classic event at Pittsburgh Raceway Park, held in memory of the son of a close friend and fellow racer. A future story on Curt and his dad is being planned, but we will get into details on that later.

For those who have never attended a Chrysler Classic event, I urge you to do so, should be in an area where it is feasible. Run by the capable father / son duo of Charlie and Eddie Blankenship, it is a four race series in the Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana: part of the country that is specifically for Chrysler products. There is a class for everything, but for the purposes of this site the main points of interest would be the Max Wedge Class for 1962-1965 Max Wedge cars, and the Hemi Class specifically for Super Stock type Hemi cars. Anyway, we had a good weekend, with myself going several rounds on Saturday, and having another good showing on Sunday, running a 10.93 best on a hot, humid day. I was satisfied, albeit very tired after the weekend.

This past weekend [July 13, 2009] though, we were privileged to be invited to attend the York US30 Reunion/Nostalgia Nationals at Beaver Springs Dragway in Beaver Springs, PA. This is an event that just keeps getting better and better, and we’ve been to all of them. It is the way drag racing used to be, and should be yet today: no electronics equipped dragsters, no chassied Pro Stock type Cavaliers and Grand Ams.

The pits are full of front motored dragsters, blown Chrysler powered Anglias, Willys, Henry J’s, and the like., even injected, altered wheelbase MoPars. And spectators? They are everywhere. This year I spoke to a man who flew to this remote drag strip from the United Kingdom, a guy who drove twelve hours straight through from Georgia, and from points all over the good ole’ USA. Cars from Texas, Arizona, Canada, and all over the eastern seaboard descended on Bob McCardle’s well maintained, old school drag strip. It is not an easy tow, but is the closest thing to a Woodstock that exists today. It is attended by legends of the past, Bud Faubel of Honker fame, Dick Brannan of Ford fame, and so many others. Even lovely Linda Vaughn, Miss Hurst Golden Shifter is there. It is truly a “happening”.

And Nostalgia Super Stockers? Well, fifty six of us made the first round, a fair amount of us 1962-1965 Mopars. I was able to go three rounds in Nostalgia Super Stock, finally falling to the 1963 Plymouth Thanks Mom that won the event a few years ago. It was a late day, and I was exhausted, but although I am still exhausted after a few days, it was so worth it. I can’t wait to do it again.

In the last column, I noted how important these cars are to some people, and I will relate an incident that happened at the Beaver that underlines that. I know for me, and the folks I run with, sometime we take these cars for granted, because we’ve always had them. I know I’ve been around them for over a half a century, owned the one I race for over forty years, and it loses its uniqueness because its always been there. To that end, on Sunday Morning, with the pits at BSD full of spectators to the point that it was not for the claustrophobic, I had the hood of my Dodge, warming its hemi up for the day’s program. As I did so, I noticed an elderly gentleman and his wife watching intently, and the gentleman’s eyes were wet with tears. Upon exiting the car, he was still there, and still in an emotional state, I walked up to him, asked him if something was wrong and if I could help. “No,” he replied, “it’s just that being here, seeing these cars, the gassers, the Super Stocks, all of it, brings me back to such a terrific time in my life, that I guess I just became a bit overwhelmed.”

Iv’e been thinking about that a lot over the past several days, and am grateful that I have been allowed to participate. What a blessing. Pass your blessings on, you won’t regret it.

Till next time, folks. I won’t be late, I promise.

I will leave you with some photos from the Nostalgia Nationals.

1963 Plymouth versus 1962 Dodge wagon drag race

1963 Plymouth vs. 1962 Dodge wagon

1965 Plymouth versus 1965 Dodge drag race

1965 Plymouth vs. 1965 Dodge “1965 all over again!”

1963 Plymouth versus 1965 Dodge drag race

Steve Reasbeck 1965 Dodge vs. Desert Rose 1963 Plymouth

1965 Dodge wheelstand drag race

Bob George 1965 Plymouth wheelstand

1965 Dodge vs. 1963 Plymouth drag race

Bob George 1965 Plymouth vs. 1962 Dodge Dart wagon

1965 Plymouth AWB at drag race

1965 AWB Plymouth Performance King

1965 Dodge vs. 1963 Plymouth drag race

McKesson AWB injected Hemi Plymouth

1965 Dodge vs. 1963 Plymouth drag race

Steve Reasbeck’s Final Pass

Contact: Reasbeck Racing
Johnstown, Pa.

July 16, 2009

View Steve’s Other Columns: April 2009; May 2009June 2009 / Go back to the 1962 to 1965 Mopar Web Site Home Page.