Springtime Looms on Racing Horizon
By Annette Barton
Pullman, Washington - First and foremost, we are headed into springtime! The robins are back in Eastern WA (even though they are wearing their long johns) and track schedules are being solidified. The 60th Annual Good Vibrations March Meet is filling up quickly for their dates of March 1-4 at the Famoso AAA Auto Club Raceway in Bakersfield as are slots for the 48th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Ignitor at Firebird Raceway in Boise on May 3-6. Both are stops for the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Nostalgia Drag Racing Series and not to be missed!
The 2017 NHRA Division 6 Awards Banquet was held on January 6, 2018 and was well attended by racers and their families from all of the northwest race tracks. Some info is still trickling in and we are proud to announce that Derek Snelson took home the award for 2017 Promoter of the Year. His tireless work at Renegade Raceway in Yakima, WA is greatly appreciated and supported by racers and fans throughout the region. Snelson can be seen at tracks in Division 6 and 7 promoting a safe, fulfilling, inexpensive racing experience, a belief he is passionate about. If you have ever spent time around him you understand the level of his adrenaline when he is talking about his racing "family" and how much he cares. This passion is also held by the volunteers at the Renegade Raceway who go out of their way to make sure the experience is the best it can be on any raceday there. When he is not out promoting racing, he can be found in the cockpit of his Body Building.com Jet Funny Car, gathering sponsorships for his annual Central Washington Custom Car and Cycle show held this year March 10 and 11 at the Yakima Convention Center or working out in the gym. Amazing people, thank you Derek Snelson and Sara Cullen for taking care of our racers and fans!
Also recognized at the D6 Banquet were Regional racers Brian Jennen, Spangle WA, Pro Land of the Leaders Champion; Andy Schlenker, Mabton, WA, Super Pro Race of Champions winner; Shawn Herbst, Top Sportsman 3rd place; Mike Dalrymple, Sunnyside, WA, Super Comp and Super Gas Runner Up. Thanks to Sara Cullen for these update on the banquet!
Congratulations to the 2017 NHRA Northwest Hall of Fame Inductees! Cal & MaryAnn Method, Kennewick, WA, hammered the competition for many years driving their '69 Camaro and '70 Nova; Ray Hadford, Everett, WA, was the shoe in Jim Green's B/Dragster when they won the 1968 NHRA World Championship in Comp and drove the infamous Green Elephant Pisano-built Vega in early 1972, even winning the Seafair 64-Funny Car event before leaving the team to tend to other issues; Brad Hadman, owner of Hadman Race Cars in Tacoma,WA is a top-notch engine and chassis builder. If the name Hadman is on it, you know it is one of the best and safest. Hadman is passionate about driver safety and was outspoken about parachute placement and track safety net issues after D6 driver Mark Niver lost his life at Pacific Raceways in 2010; and Tom Turner, Tom Turner Motorsports, who ran a highly competitive Corvette in the NHRA Stocker series and owns the Doctor Injector performance shops as well as being the knowledgeable auto-audible radio host on KVI 570 AM Saturday mornings in the Seattle area. Congratulations to the 2017 Class of Honorees!!
Renegade Raceway - April 7-8 is opening weekend! Don't miss the Renegadesponsored 7th Annual Central Washington Custom Car & Cycle Show at the Yakima Convention Center the weekend of March 10-11 featuring some GREAT customs and a Nitro Cacklefest.
Spokane County Raceway - April 7 ETI & chassis certification; April 14 is the first Test N Tune. Don't miss the Spokane Speed & Custom Show at the Spokane Expo Center the weekend of April 13-15. June 27-July 3 the Roy Hills School of Drag Racing will be hosted by the great staff at SCR - get your registration in now! Check out the Roy Hills School website or the SCR website for more information.
Pacific Raceways - season opener isMarch 18! Don't miss the United Nitro Funny Car Invitational on July 7! It was amazing in 2017!
Portland International Raceway - Season opener is March 9 with Friday Late Night Drags; March 21 is the Points Opener in ET Racing.
Medford Dragstrip - April 7 is the Chassis Certification
Mission Raceway Park - April 6 Friday Night Street Legal #1 and April 16 Land of Leaders 1 of 4!
Firebird Raceway - April 14 is the huge Spring Warm Up and Swap Meet at Firebird and May 3-6 the 48th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Ignitor and Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series. March 9-11 is the 46th Annual Boise Roadster Show at the Fairgrounds - you don't want to miss this one! And don't forget that Firebird will host the 2018 Division 6 Summit ET Finals over the Labor Day weekend!
Be sure to check in with the track you want to attend for current conditions before you go. Watch your favorite track news for great nostalgia racing action by the DragParts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder Racing Series, the Northwest Nostalgia Tour, Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series, the UNFC Racing Series and the Jet Car Nationals for thundering action!
In Passing - Pro Stock icon Bob Glidden, one of the most dominant forces in the history of NHRA Drag Racing, died Dec. 17. He was 73. In a star-studded career that spanned more than 25 years in the class, Glidden won an astonishing 85 events and 10 season championships. My first recollection of Glidden was probably in 1975 when I watched his Ford Pinto win his second consecutive Winston series in Pro Stock. Through my brother's Hot Rod magazines I enjoyed reading about Bob and his crew chief wife Etta as they met other icons at the stripe including Lee Shepherd and "Grumpy" Jenkins. Glidden made the word "Ford" a household name and a brand to be proud of from his days in Super Stock through his victories in Pro Stock. He also was reported to have assisted on engine development for a Northwest racer, Jim Van Cleave, on the Van Cleave Motors B/FX Pinto!
Another icon of factory Ford drag racing, Gaspar "Gas" Ronda, died at his Palm Desert home on Wednesday, October 25, at the age of 91. As early as 1963 Gas capitalized on a huge Ford sponsorship and through that was able to gain access to the Ford Motor Company's newest production race cars. In 1964 Ronda drove the new Fairlane Thunderbolt 427 to an NHRA World Championship. He switched to altered-wheelbase drag cars and by 1969 was racing floppers. Gas was badly burned in 1970 by an engine explosion at Scottsdale Beeline Dragstrip and never returned to racing. We got to meet the quiet snappy dresser at the 2008 California Hot Rod Reunion and viewed his restored 1968 Mustang Funny Car. He told me how proud he was to have served in the Navy during WWII in the Pacific Theater and how proud he was of his time with Ford, especially being hand-picked by Ford to run a new Cobra Jet in the '68 Winternationals. Race in Peace, Gas.
Local fan favorite and publisher and editor of Gasser Wars Magazine, "Diamond Dee" Morris, 70, passed away December 28 at Snohomish, WA after a lengthy battle with cancer. Dee was known for racing her BB/FA Blown Alcohol Altered with her husband of 53 years, Phil Morris. She graduated from the Frank Hawley Drag Racing School and also licensed to drive Funny Car in 2002. Going to miss Dee blasting down the ¼ in the Bantam. Mike Sarver, 67, of Belfair, WA passed away peacefully after a brief battle with cancer on December 21st, 2017.
Mike grew up in Port Orchard and graduated from South Kitsap High School. He was a dedicated husband, father, friend and mentor, self-employed for more than 40 years. Mike had a need for speed and was an avid drag racer seen frequently at Bremerton Raceway. He is survived by his wife Maureen, 3 daughters and his brother among many other loving family members and the drag racing community.
Take your family to the local racetrack and car shows, they'll love it! See y'all soon!
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