Thursday, January 26, 2012

What if we bring the past, to the future?

On Wednesday night, February 15th, when the magic begins on the Hallowed Freedom Hall dirt, I will turn 36. In my 36 years, I have seen thousands of trips down the 300 ft all across the country, at county fairs, speedways, you name it. I've seen it.

I have been going to pulls all of my 36 years, and tracing the sport from those beginnings to where it is today, has sure been one of the greatest things I've had the pleasure in my life to do, but in talking about all this, I have to admit a couple of things: For Starters, The two wheel drive class was, is, and forever will be the closest one to my heart.  I love smoke and the raw horsepower of the modified's, and the intense wheel speed and unpredictability of the Alky supers and lights, but they just don't get me like the twos do.

I remember where I was, I remember when it happened, the day I realized that the two's would be it for me. I remember my first trip to"Pull Town" USA, Bowling Green Ohio, In the late 80s, what I saw in the pits that year, made me realize that these two wheeled machines would have profound effects on me. I remember thinking, "Yep, I want one of those".

Photo Credit to Mike Walker 
I think the thing that struck me, as a fan of NHRA funny cars, was how similar these were to the floppers that I loved during that era, the flip tops, the headers, the similar starting techniques, but most of all, the variety, that was the kicker, There were pickups, vans, Panel Wagons, Station Wagons, Thunderbirds, C-cabs, Corvettes, Jeeps, Willy's, and even a purple Porsche.

In that sea of beautiful paint and various body combinations there were some that I had to see closer. The aforementioned "Floyds Toy" Porsche driven by Indiana's Floyd Hilton struck me as interesting because not only was it purple, but it was also a Porsche, and I have long been a fan of the ones you don't see too many of. Another was the classic Ford Taurus station wagon "Florida Cracker" campaigned by Winter Park Florida's Chris Holdorf. The woman in the bikini on the side of the that wagon was an instant winner for this 13 year old boy. Holdorf also campaigned an Aerostar van body that as I write this is still thriving on the state level in the badger state
Photo Credit to Jeff Luckey
Another scan of the pits gave you other thrills, The Spike, and Jack Daniels S-10s, The Irish Trucks out of Wisconsin, Iowan Ray Carpenters fine "Sundance Kid", Kenny Lamont's El Camino "Midnight Express" out of Illinois. , the tough running black GMC "Stitches" with Jim Lyons driving, and that red one from Georgia called the Bad Dawg, the list went on and on, and the dreamlike state that I was in has remained. I was a fan for life!  I still get that feeling today, when I arrive at a venue, and see these machines roll out of their about kid in a candy store!

So what is my point to all of this? I love where we are, but I miss where we were. I miss the days when you were never suprised at the latest creation to come out of a trailer, and that got me to thinking about something. How about a class. A class for the old ones, a class where the trucks of those days can live again. NHRA has successfully breathed life into many Nostalgia Classes, as have NASCAR, and other circle track series. I say, why not pulling?

I am sure that 25 years later, many of the trucks I mentioned have long been forgotten, and parted out, never to grace the track again?   But what of the ones in barns, and behind shops all across the country that served their purpose, and were then parked due to the rising costs associated with out sport. I say, lets find them, fix them up, and bring them back to life?

So as the wheels for a nostalgia class got to turning, I tried to do my homework, and with the help of both pulling legends, and current stars, I have come up with a framework that I feel would be the basis for this class.

Engines-In my early teens, the Rodeck, and the Arias motor were the cats meow in our class, but 20 years later, the KB Hemi has solidified itself as the champion. Given this, and the fact that I would hope this class could be less cut throat and more economical for folks who just want to have fun, I propose a cubic inch limit of 500. We don't want it to be too costly and we want an even playing field.

The Bad Dawg Mike Stowe and Jeremy Krieger 2011
Body-To promote the images of my youth, I would encourage, ANY type of vehicle, both all steel, or fiberglass, who knows, maybe that Porsche is still out there. I would say the year of the make would need to be previous to 1999.

Supercharger-given the fact that the 14:71 high helix has been the gold standard, I see no reason to change it.

Drawbar Height
-28 inches, as that is what it was then.

Wheelbase-I would keep that pretty much the same as it is today.

Fuel System and Ignition- would need to be standardized. Again, to keep the playing field level.

Rear-End- Planetary Combos could be a mixture of the the eras, much like they are now.

Safety-Of course all vehicles would need to comply with all modern day safety conveniences, but most of them are close to what they were then, with the killswitch, and on board fire suppresion systems.

So there it is, my basic idea. And who knows, I might never get the opportunity to revisit those golden era days again, but I have to wonder. How many of you reading this would not jump at the chance to see some of the old legends come out to play? I know I would, and if any promoter or sanctioning body ever picks up on this idea, I promise, I will buy the first admission ticket, as long as it's attached to a hot pit band.

Special thanks to those who let me pick their brains on this, including Mike Stowe, Jeremy Nelson, Mark Austin, John Mumma, Jared Nelson, Jordan Nelson, and Dale Nelson. This article has really given me a feel for how far we've come, but you never know, you might see a throwback at a county fair near you one day soon. Who knows, I may be driving it.

Thanks for reading this
-Jeremy Krieger

1 comment:

  1. Jeremy, your love for the twd class is the same as mine for the modified class. But, I was a young man in the late 70s and early 80s when a man from Warsaw KY hooked a stock 3/4 ton Chevy truck to a sled and pulled almost, if not just as far as the 4wd class. That mans name was Hansel Sullivan. The twd class lived and breathed in the Northern KY, Southeastern IN area for a few years before hitting the big stage.
    The biggest confusion has always been who actually made the first pass down a track with a supercharger. I believe it was Mitch House (Sir Swifty) from East Enterprise IN. Others have said it was Tommy Brewer (Home Brew). Bob Jostock thought it was Tom Arps (Black Widow). I know alot of people in my area believe it to be Mitch.
    Thanks for the article, it was good reading about the old two wheelers. I have fond memories of all the ones you have listed.
    Tim Gibbens