Lined up as if they were in the staging lanes at M-N Raceway in the early 1960s, the black 1957 Chevy of Del Buller and the white 1957 Chevy of Bob Cassill greeted those who attended the 50th Old Drag Racers Reunion. Current owner Larry Guhr brought the black car and Tracy Cassil brought the white one to the gathering. That is legendary AA/FD pilot John Wiebe in the dark shirt and lighter hair next to the Buller Chevy, by the way.
This was the kind of hardware a racer could expect to throw in the back seat after a weekend of hard competition at the drag strip. A win often generated nothing more than a trophy and bragging rights, and that was enough.
At first mistaken as just a nice street rod, Art Carlton's wicked 1963 Ford Falcon was quickly recognized as the `Switcheroo" drag car and afforded a proper spot of honor among the other racing machines.
The late Del Blades campaigned three different Chevy Nova drag cars over the years, this being the last of the trio. Stan Brown bought this car, which competed only two or three times before Blades' death, from his widow and is in the process of restoring it.
Lyle Smith drove this highly modified A/Altered during the 1960s and early 1970s and is working to bring it back to its original condition. The cut-down American Austin body was `crashed once and burned once,' he said.
Vern Holzman showed off several of his drag cars at the event, including this beautiful 1955 Chevy sedan, driven during its heyday by Allan Patterson. The `bug catcher' injector scoop atop the supercharger hints at what a wolf in sheep's clothing this car was.
One of the big hits of the get-together was the 'Rebel Rouser' Hemi-powered funny car known as the Pasadena Dodge. Chuck Grimsley, who drove the altered wheelbase machine, was on hand to visit with fellow racers. The late Ted DeTar, a famed wichita mechanic and drag racer, performed the wheelbase surgery and engine setback on the Dodge.
Originally campaigned by Hank Greenleaf, this Nova was later raced by brothers Frank and Roy Wenke of Wichita. The original L79 350 horsepower engine was yanked out of the car when it had only 180 miles on it and replaced with a Corvette powerplant, according to event organizer Jon Lemon.
Front-engined dragsters and scenic murals went together back in the glory days of drag racing, and Rex Rains' cowl is a perfect example of the form: a scenic winding road through open fields, with a thundershower rolling along the horizon.
Drag racers always appreciate a good feed and the 200-plus in attendance weren't disappointed by the meal of pulled pork, barbequed brats, baked beans and potato salad catered by the event, held inside a private car barn in Wichita.