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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

More Memories of Lions Drag Strip

By Ken Kesler

I was a Naval Officer stationed at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard from 1963 until 1965. Most weekends were spent at Lions Dragstrip. So here are some of my memories. 

I was there the night they awarded Snake and Mongoose helmets to Don and Tom. I remember a semi-final when one of them blew an engine and the other one loaned him his spare engine---and then got beat by his own engine. 

I remember standing behind the Stone Woods and Cook Willys and watching the blue spot get smaller and smaller. Suddenly it started getting bigger and bigger and it dawned on me that Doug Cook was pulling a wheelie at mid-track. I just learned that Doug Cook has passed. 

I remember Chris Karamesines (in his black T-bucket dragster, I think) popping his chute at mid-track and bringing the car to a standstill while Chris kept the hammer down. There was not a breeze so there were twin towers of smoke as he kept the tires lit while not moving. Probably a most embarrassing burnout. 

I remember "Dandy Dick" Landy with his immaculate dress and big long cigar (unlit) punching the pushbutton shifter that he had removed from the dash and had mounted right by his left hand on the wheel in his Dodge "funny car." I believe they were A/FXs. 

I have some old slides if you are interested I will dig them out for you. Also, can anyone tell me where Fred Stone, Tim Woods, Dick Landy, and Tom McEwen are today? 

Thanks.

Ken Kesler 
kkesler@houston.rr.com

 

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