CompetitionPlus.com Forum  

Go Back   CompetitionPlus.com Forum > NHRA

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 1 Week Ago
TopFuel@Lions TopFuel@Lions is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,254
Default Dec 2-Remembering Lions-Best Ever

As usual on this day, December 2nd, I remember the greatest weekly drag strip ever, that magic piece of racing history, Lions Drag Strip. This year as the calendar rolls the date lands on a Saturday just like it did in 1972.

This time around I am going to share some memories of my dad's and some of my great times in no order.

My dad went on opening day, October 9, 1955. He was one of the nearly 5000 in the house, he sat on a telephone pole on the right side. He said Ed Losinsky's top speed pass of 151 was something. Also the Frank "Ike" Iacono double up that day and Fritz Voight's Top Eliminator triumph was stout.

He also raved about the first ever night race at Lions on July 7,1956 and the first Nitro fueled dragster meet won by Emory Cook in July of 56.

He was also in the house for the Western States Championships that was broadcast live on LA station KTTV with Bill Welch.

Will he really did not like the fuel ban, he was tickled when fuel racing returned in January of 1962.

Move forward a year and that was when I was old enough and I got to go. Ever since that first race, Dad and I went most every Saturday night till the end.

Those great weekly events, epic. Then the special shows like the East Vs. West, UDRA, PDA,AHRA Winternationals, Grand Premiere and so many more. Seeing those awesome Top Fuel match races like the Drag News No #1. The Greek, Ivo, and Big Daddy.

Also getting to see some unusual rides such a 3-engine dragster, Art Arfons Green Monster, The USA-1 Turbine digger, and the Green Mamba Jet.

Also the track, especially in the winter and after Indy would book cars from across the nation to come race at Lions that were seldom seen in So-Cal.

Here are some well known and some not so well known cars focusing this year on the Funny Cars. Maynard Rupp in the Chevvoom, Dave Zachary's El Dorado, The California Camaro. The Lorennz & Wright Topless 2,Pete Gates Gate Job,The Corvair of Cambell & Moore called the Funny Bunch, Gerry Schwartz rat-powered Ratty Cat Mercury Cougar. Bob Pickett and that very cool "Mr Pickett" Corvette.

Some more floppers the pappy booked in, Fisher&Greth's Beaudry Barracuda, Wendall Shipman in the Shipman's Cuda with a engine by Tony and Cruz's dad, Flamin' Frank. The dual-engine American bandstand ride of Dye and Hampton, Barry Kelly's Machine Gun Kelly Corvair, Lee Jones nad Joe Winter. And to close this part out, and this one I only recall seeing once, Dave Boncosky driving Arnie Beswicks "Boss Bird Trans-Am.

There is so may more for sure in all the classes, I feel very fortunate that my dad took me to this track, to get to see all the greats like Leonard Harris, Lefty Mudersbach, Boyd Pennington, Ron Scrima and hundreds more.

Last night while on the phone, Mrs TopFuel@Lions was on the phone with family when she said something that was so right, She knows from the near 40 years married all the stories, memories that I have told her, our fellow drag race fans and from all the racers about how special Lions was to me. She said last night, knowing of today, said this. That Lions was my greatest joy and then my biggest heartbreak when it closed. So true.

Being at the track with my best friend, my race buddy, my father at Lions working over a chili dog and chili tamale in 'our' seats every Saturday, hearing Bernie Mather and Tim"weed"Kraushaar calling the races, Larry Sutton on the line and cool ocean air was magic.


Born on October 9 1955, died on December 2, 1972, it was the best of times.



TopFuel@Lions
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 1 Week Ago
Imm Man Imm Man is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,015
Default

One of my major regrets in my nearly 60 years as a fan, was never getting to Lions for a Saturday night Top Fuel show.
__________________
The Immokalee Experience!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 6 Days Ago
TopFuel@Lions TopFuel@Lions is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,254
Default

Best competition, best traction (when the dew did not roll in) and the best air conditions on a weekly basis ever, it was that good.



TopFuel@Lions
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 6 Days Ago
shaketown dave's Avatar
shaketown dave shaketown dave is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: lake isabella,ca
Posts: 1,589
Default

you should be in the Bakersfield area brother.famoso with the heratige series,the awesome anra races and everything else Bernie puts on.you sure would feel at home here as I do.and oh yeah,my home track was san Fernando,the best fuel shows on sunday afternoons
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 5 Days Ago
TopFuel@Lions TopFuel@Lions is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,254
Default

So true Dave, Sunday AA/FD shows at the "pond" were great, did countless doubles, Lions sat nights, San Fernando on Sundays. Remember Phil Tadlock running the 1st 200mph in a Jr. Fueler in March of 67.



TopFuel@Lions
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 5 Days Ago
shaketown dave's Avatar
shaketown dave shaketown dave is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: lake isabella,ca
Posts: 1,589
Default

my favorite team was the red mountain boys.with the rock weight on the front end.from simi valley.and tex Collins was in the neighbor hood and all his wild Allison powered cars.man what a place.and now its a huge Mexican swap meet.what a shame
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 4 Days Ago
Roger Gates Roger Gates is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Wofford Heights Ca
Posts: 1,153
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by shaketown dave View Post
my favorite team was the red mountain boys.with the rock weight on the front end.from simi valley.and tex Collins was in the neighbor hood and all his wild Allison powered cars.man what a place.and now its a huge Mexican swap meet.what a shame
Actually Dave - the "Red Mountain Boys" were John Mitchel & Lloyd Yabsley who were from North Hollywood (they were part of the bunch including Dixon Sr. and Tommy Larkin). They made up the name because Jim Dunn called his deal the "Green Mountain Boys" so they became the "Red Mountain Boys". It was John's car and Yabsley tuned it. If you remember there was a cut out of a jug of Red Mountain wine in front of the motor. When I licensed at the "Pond" John was one of the guys who signed me off along with Harry Hibler & Bill Martin. On the last licensing pass John came over to me with a jug if Red Mountain and stuck it out saying "You're not going out there alone are you" (Somehow this story got turned around by Cole Coonce in his book who is the nephew of one of my then crew guys). I laughingly passed and we became friends. John drove the "Howard Cam Special" right after Frank Pedragon and just before I did. He retired for while (building Mitchell Race Car Trailers & bought Chapman Stamping) and then came back after running a Sprint car for a while with the "Montana Express" T/F car giving Dave Grubnic his U.S. start in NHRA. John passed a few years ago.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 4 Days Ago
TopFuel@Lions TopFuel@Lions is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,254
Default

.. and then there was the East Side Kids digger with that Chevy engine.




TopFuel@Lions
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 4 Days Ago
shaketown dave's Avatar
shaketown dave shaketown dave is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: lake isabella,ca
Posts: 1,589
Default

my biggest awesome experiences is being able to ride 6 miles and hang with roger.allways I learn things and find out things I dident know.found out today he won 16 gas dragster races in a row at the pond.i just wish he would write a book.why he hasent been a grand marshall at a heritage race is beyond me.my god,he was there in the mix of so much and history kickin ass is bevond awesome.and here he is on this site tellin a small fraction of what he knows is nuthin but amasing.we should start a campayne with the heretige series to name him a grand marshall.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 3 Days Ago
TopFuel@Lions TopFuel@Lions is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,254
Default

So true Dave, for some Roger gained some unfortunate fame with that boomer at Ontario than from his many wins at Hibler's joint.




TopFuel@Lions..or some grub at Brownies concessions.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:11 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.