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April 6, 1998 -- First Annual USA-1 Nostalgia Dragfest a Smashing Success

Nostalgia drag fans enjoy themselves at Bruce Larson's inaugural USA-1 Dragfest. Greg Gage photoDrag racing history was made on March 21, 1998, when 140 drag racing legends and hard core racing fans got together at Bruce Larson's Stony Creek Barn in Dauphin, PA, for the first annual "USA-1 Nostalgia Dragfest.  " The event, the brain child of nostalgia drag fans Dave Heisey and Dick Gerwer, R/R Video producer Ray English, and Larson himself, brought together racers and fans from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and from as far away as Michigan.  

The invitation-only affair was a great day of bench racing, checking out Bruce's amazing car and memorabilia collection, and enjoying the incredible slides, photos, articles, and movies that all the drag racers and fans brought with them.  

About 40 Maryland and Virginia drag racers and fans took a raucous bus ride to Pennsylvania (chauffeured by Chevy F/C racer John Paris himself). There they met Bruce and about 100 Pennsylvania/New Jersey nostalgia drag racers and fans. Among the "southern invaders" were the legendary Malcolm Durham, F/C legend Tom Sneden, F/C and Gasser great Gene Altizer, TAD driver Richard Boyd, Gasser and TAD racer Lenny Cottrell, Ford legend Dickie Estevez, George Reese (of George's Vette Shop FC fame), Butch & Gene Mori, "Paddy Wagon" Bob Hall, Dickie Brannan T-Bolt driver Marco DeCesaris, F/C and Gasser racer George Shelton, injected F/C racer Roger Thompson, former Eastern Drag News editor Jack Redd, photographer Jeff Tinsley, and many others.  

Bruce Larson, Jack Redd, and Yours Truly Reminisce About the Old Days.The "northern contingent" was represented by notables such as Bill Flynn (The Yankee Peddler), Jack Werst (Mr. 5&50), Fred Henderson (owner/driver of the fastest Pro Nostalgia S/S in the nation), Bob Harrop (The Flying Carpet), Rich Lamont (422 Motorsports & AMC Pro Stock racer), Z-11 Chevy restorers Don Frezell and Randy Delisio, Carl Bucks (owner/ builder/ driver of the "Wully Bully" SS 409), Drag Racing Magazine editor Steve Collison, popular manufacturers rep Jim Kerr, and many other great racers, collectors, and fans.  

Bruce Larson's Stony Creek Barn amazed all in attendance. Downstairs were the cars (the late 70's 'Vette, the '68 Camaro, a replica of the World Championship Sentry Tachs & Gauges Cutlass (the original is in storage at the Smithsonian), the '70 Camaro (which was sitting in the corner, unrestored, the victim of a Super Pro racer's chop job), Bruce's Ford Cobra, and more. The lower level also displayed dozens of photo albums by some of the best photographers in the sport, each one chock full of drag racing history. Upstairs in the loft, slides and movies were shown all day. Dave Heisey also had his great collection of famous S/S & F/X models on display.  

Door prizes were handed out and everyone got a commemorative ticket and dash plaque. All in attendance signed a special USA-1 banner that will hang on the wall permanently.  

The event was such a success that the organizers are going to try to get it going on an annual basis. This year's event was strictly standing room only, so it is unlikely it can continue in Bruce's barn. Wherever and whenever the event continues, however, it promises to become one of the most coveted tickets on the East Coast! BP/

 

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