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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Bruce Larson's Drag Fest 2002

By Ted Pappacena
Photos by Bob Fermier

Bruce Larson's barn once again was packed wall to wall with nostalgia drag racing fans. Photo by Bob Fermier
Bruce Larson's barn once again was packed wall to wall with nostalgia drag racing fans.
Photo by Bob Fermier

This past Saturday, November 9, was the fifth annual Drag Fest held at Bruce Larson's Stoney Creek barn. What a glorious day it was, too. We couldn't have asked for better weather, as it was sunny and in the 60s. I think we were in the 60s and 70s, too!

Just like last year, I felt like a kid in a candy store. Only this year, I was more familiar with it. Still just like being at Don Garlits' Museum of Drag Racing -- you don't ever want to leave. Along with the Dragonsnake Cobra and three fully restored USA-1 and Sentry funny cars, there was a myriad of cars on display outside. Although attendance was a little off from last year, you couldn't tell it by the number of cars outside.

The featured cars were a sight to behold. Jim Barillaro was on hand with both of Jack Chrisman's Comet funny cars. Both started out on display half in and half out of a tent set up on the grounds. I asked Jim if he could move them out in the open so I could get some unobstructed shots of the cars. Although I had seen the 64 Comet at Englishtown making exhibition passes in 1988, I had never seen the 66 GT-1 car. Jim complied and moved the cars before the clouds moved in. That provided us with plenty of good photo ops.

Ken Kull's Hill Bros. gasser resto looked great. Ken's dad wore the jacket awarded to Pete Hill when he set the record at OCIR. Photo by Bob Fermier
Ken Kull's Hill Bros. gasser resto looked great. Ken's dad wore the jacket awarded
to Pete Hill when he set the record at OCIR. Photo by Bob Fermier

Also on hand were the restored Hemi Hunter and Bounty Hunter Top Fuelers. The Hemi Hunter started out inside the tent but was moved outside when the Comets were. The recently restored Hill Bros. 33 Willys AA/GS was on display also. What a beautiful restoration. I think the only thing cooler would have been if they had started the cars up and had a mini Cacklefest in front of the barn.

Once inside, we were treated to all manner of drag racing memorabilia. Outside of the normal bench racing and getting reacquainted with old friends, there were scrapbooks, photos, slide shows and videos to be seen. Bill and Tim Pratt were up from Maryland and they brought with them a ton of Ray English's slides for a slide show. I didn't get to see all of them but I did see the book he brought along to go with the slides. There were some really great shots there. Ray was one of the sport's great photogs.

Mike Goyda and I had one portion of the barn dedicated to drag racing photos and were busy all day showing and selling.

This high dollar Willys Pro Street machine impressed everyone. Photo by Bob Fermier
This high dollar Willys Pro Street machine impressed everyone. Photo by Bob Fermier

About mid afternoon, there was a huge giveaway of door prizes. Each ticket had a drag racing name or term on the back. When it was called, you would win a prize. A new Drag Racing Memorabilia Award was started recognizing those who perpetuate drag racing history. The award sponsored by Jim Amos of Bee on Video. The first recipients were Bruce, Dave Heisey, and Dick Gerwer.

Reminiscing continued throughout the day. My only problem was that time went way too quickly and before I knew it, while watching Bill Pratt's slide show, my wife had arrived to pick up my friend and I for the long trip home.

Bruce, if you are reading this, thank you for having us and providing us with a day we will always cherish. Thanks to all who came and made my day most enjoyable.

Ted Pappacena
www.dragracingimagery.com

Bob Fermier
rfermier@bellsouth.net

 

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