Twice during the year the NHRA rolls into Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois, for both a national event and a divisional event, but the best race to mark on your calendar if you are a nostalgia fan is the annual Route 66 Classic that is held every August.
Best wheelstand of the evening to John Grinwald and "My Gold Digger" that continued to perform wheelies after coming back to earth.
If you like straight-axle gassers, front engine slingshots, wheel standing super stocks, nostalgia funny cars and a dose of nitro, then the Route 66 Classic is the place to be. The Classic has a bit of a “run what you brung” attitude with many racers just bringing their cars out to see what they can do. Some non-nostalgic vehicles even made an appearance for licensing passes.
Buddy Hull in Tom Motry's "Drastic Plastic" on the way to his first 5 second pass!
Joe Haas and Buddy Hull light up the night
There are also the bracket racers that run in the “Run Tuff” class, which was a staple of the racing action at the historic US 30 dragstrip. Then there were the booked in attractions which included the Midwest Super Stock Mafia, the Midwest Pro Stock Association, the NSS Inc., the Great Lakes Nostalgia Funny Car Circuit, the “Drastic Plastic” fueled altered of Tom Motry, piloted by Nostalgia Drag World’s Buddy Hull, and John Lawson’s duo of floppers, a late model Firebird driven by Joe Haas and the vintage Camaro driven by Lawson.
Beedy & Malloy FED
Mother Nature had been trying to intervene all week and for a while it was doubtful the event would even take place. The track management made a heads up decision and even pushed back the start time to accommodate the weather conditions. All looked like it was going to work, when a 10 minute shower dumped a load of precipitation on the track. Fortunately that was it and after the drying procedure was complete the cars hit the track.
The fans were treated to an excellent show as the nitro burners lit the night air with flames. Lawson led the way for the fueled coupes dipping into the mid 5 second zone. Rocky Ausec took the Great Lakes Nostalgia Funny Car Circuit victory in his rat powered “Solid Rock” Mustang.
Winner of the Great Lakes Nostalgia Funny Car competition, Rocky Ausec
The Midwest Pro Stock Association triggered the memory of many factory hot rod fans, especially with their Reher & Morrison, “Grumpy,” Warren Johnson, and Bob Glidden tribute cars. What was arguably the most exciting part of the evening was the Midwest Super Stock Mafia. These door slammers boasted on-the-bumper wheel stands and 8 second passes at over 150 mph that sent the crowd in an uproar after each pass.
The Midwest Nostalgia Pro Stock Association "Paying Tribute to the Legends" lined up and ready to race!
All in all the Route 66 Classic continues to be a part of the Midwestern Nostalgia scene that is hopefully here for many years to come. If you are in the area make sure to check it out next year.
See you at the drags,
Mike Sopko Jr.