Although my father (Ron Hier) was one of the early drag racers during the ’50s and into the first part of the ’60s, that was really before my time. I grew up as a teenager in the ’70s during the the hey-day of Funny Cars and again, although dad was a Junior and Top Fueler, my love was the Funny Cars.
While I did see drag races at places like Lions and Bakersfield when I was quite small, my memories are seeing Funny Car after Funny Car run at places like Irwindale, Ontario and of course Orange County (OCIR). The scenes are still vivid at OCIR when it seemed every piece of asphalt was filled with floppers. The Hawaiian, Chi-Town Hustler, Jungle Jim and of course the Snake and Mongoose. There are so many more but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my personal all-time favorite, Raymond Beadle’s Blue Max. It was a magical time and listening to the radio advertisements of 64 Funny Cars and ‘Sunday, Sunday, Sunday’ still resonates in my mind today.
And that is what had me thinking, with the mass of Nostalgia Funny Cars around now or being built, a good promoter or somebody with some public relation moxie should be able to put a big dollar and fan exhibition together. A majority of the cars are on the West Coast but because more and more new Nostalgia Funny Cars are popping up in the eastern half of the United States, maybe a neutral site that has the facilities to hold a lot of cars and fans, should be the base for this.
Sure, Bakersfield is one of the venerable drag strips of all times, but the facilities are limited so if you had a successful promotion and people came out to watch the event, there will be several thousands fighting each other for an available seat. Add to that the fact it’s in California and it makes it that much harder to make arrangements to travel there from the rest of the country.
The purse should be high although what’s high in Nostalgia isn’t all that much. However, to entice folks to come from all around including our friends to the north (Canada), there should be a healthy reward for whoever wins and even teams who went more than a round or two should be compensated for putting on such a huge show. Sponsorship will obviously be needed to foot the bill for the purse but if enough promotion is done, the place should be packed no matter where it is.
An event like this may be newsworthy enough that even some of the major media organizations will at least briefly mention it. So there you go Mr. Promoter. Nostalgia drag racing continues to be very popular and Nostalgia Funny Cars are probably at record numbers right now. Now’s the time.
64 Funny Cars … Be there!
Daryle W. Hier