Photos by Steven Bunker and Mike Harrington
A heaping helping of burned rubber was on the menu last weekend at the country racetrack known as Beech Bend Raceway Park. The Goodguys 5th Nostalgia Nationals was a high octane summit of speed as a vintage drag race met a full throttle AutoCross. For good measure, a healthy show & shine, thriving vendor midway, and a fully stocked swap meet covered the farm-like rolling hills of this romantic facility.
How romantic? The sprawling property resembles a thoroughbred farm upon arrival through acres of black ranch fences that give way to a park-like setting. The Barren River snakes around the entire property, adding even more vacation-like appeal. In addition to all of that, a bustling amusement park, giant campground, and petting zoo occupy the west side of the park.
But last weekend was all about speed and chrome. The drag strip here is known for its teeth. From 4,000 horsepower nostalgia nitro funny cars to gear grinding street machines, they all hooked up hard giving the capacity crowd a whale of a show. We had fuel cars, we had the Ohio Outlaw AA/Gassers, and we had a full complement of sportsman classes from the Nostalgia Drag Racing League as well as local hot rodders eager to get in their last licks before old man winter sets in.
While the quarter-mile mayhem was hot and heavy all three days, so was the paved Beech Bend oval track. With the finish line in sight, the stars and cars of Goodguys AutoCross let it all hang out on this lightning fast circuit. With banked turns and fast straightaways, it produced the fastest speeds of the season, some cars eclipsing 80 mph – fast for AutoCross! Weekend winners included Ryan Mathews (PRO, 1972 Corvette 44.585), Scott Feldon (Street Machine 1972 Corvette 45.657), Rick Finn (Hot Rod ’48 Chevy 1:14.087), Steve Gibson (Truck 1972 International Scout 49.027) and Jason Chinn (K & N Filters All American Sunday 2015 Chevy Z/28 46.723.
For those that preferred a more relaxed atmosphere, the sprawling lawn and grove areas offered up the finest iron in the South, including many cars we haven’t seen yet this season. A collection of some of our favorite southern hot rod craftsmen made the scene including Jesse Greening as well as the Big Oak Garage gang from Alabama. Tennessee’s Jason and Tasha Graham crashed the party as did Tim and Carrie Strange from Strange Motion.
Greening grabbed the spotlight on Saturday as he and his fast father Jeff made the Builder’s Choice picks. They brought up some awesome awards too, which were fresh from their CNC lathe and anodizer. The Top 10 included such lucky winners as Charlie Ray (1952 Chevy), Gary Brown (1955 Chevy), Chad Admas (1932 Roadster) and Dustin Foust (1955 F-100) just to name a few. When it came time to select the first finalist for the 2017 Muscle Car of the Year – Aaron and Mike Johnson’s 1970 Plymouth Barracuda got the nod.
Looking back, it was simply a sensational fall weekend with brilliant, sunny warm weather, great racing, bountiful rodding and serious speed shopping! The atmosphere and the friendly people, including our dedicated host club the Music City Mopars, made it a fun weekend. Your assistance and dedication, not to mention your smiling faces were much appreciated!
We would also like to thank all of the drag racers who supported our re-energized VRA racing program this season. We had nearly a thousand vintage drag racers enter our four races this year. Having you provide supercharged, high-speed excitement provided great depth to some of our events across the country. We have four more vintage drags planned for 2017 so refuel those dragsters and plan on coming back next year!
Click here for the award winner’s list: 5th Nostalgia Nationals Award Winners
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