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The Favorites Were Dropping Like Flies

But It Wasn't Easy

Tony Kelly Sep 28, 2004

Route 66 Dragway is a great track and it was apparent during the first round of qualifications that it could handle what the Nitro Coupes were laying down. Dan Nickelson dialed in as much clutch as he thought the Joliet 1320 could take and blistered his way to a 6.156-second elapsed time at 236.05 mph--a season high! Then a couple of runs later, Gary Irving cranked up and ran 6.166-second e.t. at 228.54 mph--spectacular, but only good for number two that day. With current points leader Randy Adler in the field at number five and Bruce Boland starting to see his Corvette Nitro Coupe's potential, turning a 6.378-second e.t--good for the number three spot--this was shaping up to be a tight field for the trophy. Sure enough, during Sunday's eliminations, out of the blue came Big Mike Swinarski to topple good buddy Boland running his '57 to a 6.454 e.t. at 218.80 mph to overcome Bruce's 6.463 e.t. Nickelson handled his first-round opponent Jeff Merritt, but in the second round, Dan saw his splendid 6.226 e.t. go for naught when Adler cut a .060 light to Nickelson's very good .116, allowing Randy to prevail. Irving outran Swinarski to set the stage for a final between Adler and Irving. Gary's car appeared to have finally met the limit for the race surface and fried the tires off the line, giving Adler another win and extending his lead in the Nitro points season chase. For a guy in his first season running Super Chevy, Adler has shown the veterans how it's done.

Since the second show of the year, the traditional Super Chevy Show car show categories have been eliminated. Cars were no longer grouped or judged as either Stock, Street, or Modified as had been the case for many seasons. This provided the flexibility to judge cars for their overall workmanship and presentation in the show, but caught many car show exhibitors unaware until they entered the show. After much consideration of owners comments, and with a sincere desire to be as fair as possible to those builders and owners who have put much work into their vehicles, and have been loyal to Super Chevy Shows, the categories of Stock, Street, and Modified are once again in effect. The full explanation of these categories is in the official Super Chevy Show program handed out at the shows, and is on the Autostar website,


Tri-Fives were in fashion at Joliet. One of our favorites was this Bel Air owned by Tom Biederman, a local guy who also brought the straight-axle car seen in the background.

Bill Berry of Wadsworth, IL, brought this great black Nomad.

Nice graphics set off the raspberry color on Mike McAllister's '55 two-door from Elberfield, IL.

Gold Class had its share of fine cars, including this '57 belonging to Calvin Samuelson of Manhattan, IL.

No, he didn't fall down or take a nap. We believe this is a guy building a '62 who's using his camera to "go to school" on Larry Fredrick's Gold Class car. If you want to get the right info, there's no better source than a Gold Class car.

Frank and Pat Olenik, and sons (lucky boys), from Palos Hills, IL, are the proud owners of this well-done '70 Vette. Joliet is a hot bed of great Corvettes.

Cool car, great hauler: Chris and Kelly Bretz arrive in style from their home in Richton Park, IL, with their Pro Charged '68 Camaro perched on this late-model suspended '57.

We call any truck from Metropolis, IL, a Superman truck. This '71 has had the full custom treatment, and happens to belong to Mary Johnson. It is definitely super.

As clean and cool as a brand new fridge. Bernie Farbiak's '66 Chevelle SS396 from Schaumburg, IL, is our kind of car.

If you won an award, and you're not in this photo it's because you left early. For those who stayed, you're looking good.

For all of you Checker fans (both of you) we're sure you recognize this as a '80 vintage, as though there was much difference in any model year. Chris Markin of Kalamazoo, MI, built it with a blown big-block Chevy and doesn't haul fares, he just hauls!

This '60 Studebaker Lark is so cool it should be an honorary Chevy. Fact is, in the middle '60s when Larks were being built in Canada they had Chevy 283 motors drop-shipped and installed as stock equipment. This one uses a bit later-model Chevy mill and the build quality is excellent.

Congratulations to Marshall Hansen of Manitowic, WI, for winning the Meguairs Conversion award for this nice ride.

It's a restaurant named Cookies (how appropriate) and it's a few miles west of the Route 66 track. If you find it make sure you eat there because it's all home made and just about the best food for miles around. That's all we're telling you because the next time we go there we don't want to fight a big crowd.

Big Mike Swinarski ('57 Bel Air) and Bruce Boland (Corvette) travel together, race each other, and keep the crowd on edge with their ground pounding Nitro Coupes.

At Joliet, Bruce qualified faster but lost to Mike in the second round--no hard feelings, though.

Richard Goodrich, of St. Anne, IL, finished off his excellent '72 El Camino in silver bullet style. Nice hauler.

Admittedly it's a clone of a ZL1 Camaro, but it's a great job. Frank Kuble of Beloit, WI is the owner of this eye-catching '69 Camaro.


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