GASSER APPRECIATION RACE
Norwalk, OH: You are reading it here first! The Blue Suede Cruise is the next must do show in the country! The folks at Summit Motorsports Park have put together a winner. The combination of the best facility in the country staffed by the best in the business, Friday night BBQ, $1.00 a pound ice cream, J and the Americans concert, and a huge fireworks display are just the tip of the iceberg!
The Blue Suede Cruise started out as the brain child of the Cruizn’ Times Magazine as a car show at a race track. The concert, BBQ and fun runs all weekend! The first time my kids went down a track was in the back seat of my S/C Rambler at the Blue Suede Cruise. I had them buckled in with bicycle helmets on. Folks could hear their squeals of joy in the stands!
Then Goodguys came in and took over the Blue Suede Cruise and turned it into a Nostalgia Drag Racing event. When the Goodguys dropped all their racing events, Summit Racing took over the event. They tried to go back to the original format but it labored.
Then Bill Bader Jr. decided to combine the two events and incorporate fun runs for the street rodders with a Nostalgia Drag Racing event. Now you have the ability to fun run with your street car, or run your drag car in a competitive field of nostalgia drag racers. The field consisted of:
BB/FC, AA/GS, Nostalgia Super Stock, NDRL (4 classes), Hot Rod (2 classes) and Gasser (2 classes).
Last spring I contacted Bill Bader Jr. looking for a venue in Ohio as Ernest and I felt the need to bring Gassers back to ‘Gasser Country’. Bill was more than receptive to my phone call and a meeting was scheduled. At that meeting the Gasser Appreciation Race was born.
I wanted to give you, Gasser Magazine members, a fun race at a great event with little cost to you. A ‘thank’ you for being part of our great cause, to preserve the culture we so love as Gasser fans.
What we wanted to accomplish was a competitive race that was also a great show for the street rodder fans. The Gassers were split into 2 classes. The “nose high” Gassers were put in Nostalgia Gas and the other Gassers were placed in Competition Gas. We used the center line of the front spindle formula to decipher which car went in which class.
The N/G cars were set up to run index A/G through G/G. The times were 9.50 through 12.50 on a pro tree. The C/G cars ran handicap with dial in to the nearest tenth on a sportsman tree. All time trials were called to the lanes and ran this format also. It was really nice how the track made us feel special with this treatment. On Saturday evening there was a prime time trophy race for N/G. Unfortunately a storm came through and limited the race to one round. We gave the trophies to the racers that ran closest to their index. Trophies were presented on the main stage right before “J and the Americans” played. The winners got to mingle with the band before the concert!
The winners were:
- A/G Ron Doran, ’40 Willys Coupe, 9.560
- B/G Don Benedict Jr., ‘42 Willys Sedan, 10.019
- C/G Wayne Stine, ‘40 Willys Pickup, 10.650
- D/G Dave Potter, ‘33 Willys Pickup, 11.151
- E/G Larry Fowler, ‘55 Chevy Belair, 11.836
- F/G Kim Brush, 55 Chevy 210, 12.077
- G/G John Bonnett, ‘40 Willys Coupe, 12.814
Sunday was race day and the two classes raced separately down to the last car in each class. All racing was handicap with a sportsman tree.
Greg Sy was the last man standing in C/G with his ‘Tameless Tiger’ and Scott Benson was the last man standing in N/G with ‘Mister Twister’. The finals saw Scott Benson win the overall Grand Champion.
Really nice trophies were given to the champion and runner up. The payout was $600 to win, runner up $250, semi-finalist $75 and quarter-finalist got $40.
Unfortunately, besides the weather issues, Dave Lewis went hard left right after he went through the traps. The hit into the wall caused severe damage to the front suspension of his Chevy. The chrome axle was bent and pushed back. I talked with Dave after and he was fine and in good spirits thankful that it was not worse. He will fix this beautiful car and be back next year!
As I sat in the huge grand stands with my daughter, Wayne Stine and Pam Carpenter Saturday evening watching the fireworks display( which would make a major city jealous) I was already reminiscing on what a great event this is and all for just $20: Great racing, free food on Friday night, nice showers, swap meet, manufactures midway, thousands of show cars, the Supercharged Gasser show, the Funny Car show, The NDRL, Super Stockers, the best track surface and facility and most of all the people! It was so nice to see some of the guys we haven’t seen in a few years. Ron Malmsten and his Barnstormer, Danny Bilyk and his Chili Willy, Don Benedict Jr. with his 442 and Larry Fowler with his Belair just to name a few! We had cars from Canada to Florida in just the first year! And then it dawns on me, we still have all day Sunday to race! You don’t want to miss this next year!
As a side note I would like to thank Wayne Stine and Pam Carpenter, if it was not for them, I couldn’t make it through the weekend. I would also like to thank the whole staff at Summit Motorsports Park and Bob Wetznberger and others for all their great photos! Last but not least welcome to all the new or returning members!