Fords and Nostalgia Drag Racing
All contents © Copyright
James H. Marlett
The Ford Motor Company's flathead V8 was at
the very root of drag racing when in 1949 a pair of Merc-powered hot rods
clutched off at Goleta in the first organized drag race. Despite all odds, it's
still around, but even its "modern" replacements are now out of date
So, this site is primarily to share
photographs of flatheads and other nostalgia drag racing cars and to pass on
some technical information as I run across it.
Flatheads and Drag Racing
The Old Days
- I have decided to discontinue publishing a nostalgia race schedule. I know this was one of the most popular features of my web site, but the considerable effort required has started to outweigh the satisfaction I have received from the project. If I decide to pick it back up again some day, I suspect I will limit it to my own geographical area in the Central U.S.
- As usual, the 2013 High Altitude
Flathead/Inline Nationals was a three day affair with parking and testing on Friday night, time trials and qualifying on Saturday, and the race on Sunday. Once again, I attempted to shoot scoreboard shots after each pair to satisfy the curious. Please realize this is high altitude, so times are slower than they would be at sea level.
- The 2013 H.A.M.B. Drags was the 11th annual. Same format - tech, cackles, and festivities on Friday night with the races on Saturday. I shot a couple of videos of the Friday night cackles - one of the Little Honker firing up on nitro and a couple of Kerry Goertzen's Chrysler-powered gas dragster test firing. No H.A.M.B. Gas Rails showed this year. I hope the class isn't dying out.
- The American Hot Rod Reunion at MoKan Dragway featured two Dick Harrel Funny Cars brought together on the starting line for the first time in who knows how many years. There are some cackling videos in this batch of pictures, with the contest winner for a seat in the cackling car in one and Dick Harrel's widow in the other. Quite the historic and emotional event. Another featured car was the Motes and Williams twin-engined Top Gas Dragster from the early '70s. MoKan had two nostalgia races this year, but I missed the spring race.
- The 2012 High Altitude
Flathead/Inline Nationals was a three day affair with parking and testing on Friday night, time trials and qualifying on Saturday, and the race on Sunday. I had to catch a flight to Seattle on Sunday, so I missed the actual race. You'll have to settle for incomplete coverage. Because I am asked so frequently about times, I attempted to shoot scoreboard shots after each pair. Please realize this is high altitude, so times are slower than they would be at sea level. Two other things of note are shots of an Anglia underside to show the bump on the axle that had me mystified for years what with one side being drilled and the other not (turns out it is a mounting hole for mechanical brakes and which side was drilled depended on which side was the driver's side) and Wes Johnson's attempts at patching that troublesome center head bolt hole that has cracked all four ways.
- The Wheat State Nostalgia Race at Kansas International Dragway featured the Central States Superchargers and the Central States Gasser Association. A new track record for 1/8 mile was set at 4.13 and that with a 140º track temperature. Gene Krueger brought out his Pat Foster restored and updated US Mule front motored dragster. The race was in conjunction with the Automobilia car show in downtown Wichita.
- The 2012 H.A.M.B. Drags was the 10th anniversery of the race. Hard too believe it has been going that long. Same format - tech, cackles, and festivities on Friday night with the races on Saturday. Only two H.A.M.B. Gas Rails showed this year. Too bad. That is my favorite class.
- The American Hot Rod Reunion at MoKan Dragway is always a good time. It pays omage to the old American Hot Rod Association.
- The 2011 H.A.M.B. Drags was just as cool as ever except for the temperature. Joplin's tornado damage and the clean up for it kept the Friday night activities a little uncertain until the last minute, so no band could be schduled. However the social activities went on and the races come off without a hitch.
- H.A.M.B. Drags 2008
– Despite the threat of rain in a year absolutely plagued by the stuff, at
least here in the Midwest, a miracle happened and the drags came off
without a hitch. The race was on Saturday, but I can’t keep from shooting
pictures on the morning after as well.
- The Arkansas City
Tumbleweeds 33rd Annual Last Run Nostalgia Drags – The drag
race portion of this well-established car show is hosted by Mid America Dragway. It is
mostly a nostalgia weekend spiced up with some Pro Mods and some more
modern stuff. I can’t tell
you who won what, but I can tell you I saw a ’40 Ford powered by a
flathead that I hadn’t seen probably since I raced against it in 1968. The
yellow isn’t as bright and there are some primer spots now, but it sure
did my heart good to see that car. The pictures are my usual unedited
Races – 2007
- H.A.M.B. Drags 2007 – The biggest one yet. Races
were on Saturday, but I walked around the
hotel parking lot taking pictures on Sunday
before heading home. One of these days I’ll have to show up on Friday for
all the pre-race shenanigans. The Saturday link goes to the first of four
pages of thumbnails. Once again there are a lot of pictures that should
have hit the trash bin, but I’m too lazy to weed them out. That’s why you
have to plow through over 1,000 images!
Races - 2006
- The 2006 High Altitude
- H.A.M.B. Drags 2006 – This just keeps getting
bigger and better. Four H.A.M.B. Gas Rails (HA/GR) were in attendance this
year. Unfortunately, the races themselves were cut short by lightening
knocking out the power upstream of the track, but the fun continued back
at the Motel. The link goes to the first of two pages of thumbnails of
pretty much everything I shot that wasn’t completely messed up.
Races - 2005
- The 2005 High Altitude
- H.A.M.B. Drags 2005
- Three years now and it just keeps getting better. This year a new
feature was the HAMBster dragster. These are dragsters built in the spirit
of the earliest dragsters in the days before slingshots. Motive power is
restricted to flatheads or early inline sixes. The driver has to be
situated between the motor and rear axle, no narrowed rear ends, bias ply
tires, and so on. There are other rules, or perhaps they are better
described as guidelines, but you probably get the idea. If you are
into traditional hot rods, check out the H.A.M.B.
- American Hot Rod Reunion
2005 - MoKan is getting to be the king of nostalgia around this part
of the country. The AHRR celebrates the old American Hot Rod Association
that sanctioned a lot of strips back in the day.
Races - 2004
- The 2004 High Altitude
Flathead/Inline Nationals - I missed last year's race, but I wasn't
about to miss this one.
- H.A.M.B. Drags 2004
- Once again the H.A.M.B.
internet group held a drag race and other festivities at Mo-Kan Dragway.
This year the roast pig burned to a crisp in its pit of coals due to an
air leak, but otherwise, a good time was had by all. The link will take you to the first of six pages of
thumbnails. Hope you have plenty of time. You will see the good photos
along with the bad. Sorry, I just didn't edit.
Races - 2003
Races - 2002
- I can't believe I didn't go to a nostalgia race in 2002. I guess I'll have to search the archives to see if I just failed to post any pictures.
Races - 2001
Races - 2000
Races - 1999
- Bakersfield Flatheads,
- Nostalgia Race,
Wentzville, MO, May 1999. This is where Rick Schnell made the quickest
and fastest flathead run ever and broke into the sevens. No pictures yet,
but there is information about Rick's car and the event.
- Nostalgia Race, Great Bend,
Kansas, June 1999
- First NNTA Flathead/Inline
Nationals, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 1999
- Heartland Hot Rod Reunion,
Noble, Oklahoma, August 1999
Races - 1997 & 1998
Flatheads aren't my only interest. My wife and I like to travel and thanks to my zoo career, we have gotten to go to some interesting places. If you would like to check some of these out, click the travel link.
Note: I have tried to make this site work
quickly at the expense of making it fancy, so if it works slowly for you,
please let me know. Also, I'm always interested in additions and corrections.
Contact me through this link, but please call me Jim despite the James in
the copyright notice.