National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio, is about a good rock throw from the home of Autostar Productions, who produce the Super Chevy Shows. No surprise, then, that this show is one of the best of the season. A Friday night cruise, a Saturday night rock concert, along with great racing and car showing, and Jessie Harris in the Queen of Diamonds jet car, were all on the menu. Weather didn't help the Friday night cruise, but McGuffey Lane, a band that reminded us of the Eagles, came out to play on Saturday night, and the Chevys were racing and shining all weekend. We even had some Nitro Coupes running in the 4-second bracket (OK, so it was eighth-mile qualifying) and we had a full field of these ground-pounders on hand.
Fuel prices have wreaked havoc on some of the racers who have to travel from the Eastern U.S. or Canada to make it to some of the events, but we found all the regulars at Columbus. Dave Tomasino took low E.T. honors, but broke in the second round of eliminations. Wayne Torkelson had already clinched the season Nitro Coupe Championship, but he was out to win another event. Not one to slack off, Wayne drove hard but hit the wall, which pretty much did the car in. Wayne was fine but the car, which was due for replacement next season anyway, made an early exit. Tommy Howes and his fine '69 Camaro made it to the finals and, in one of the best races we've seen all year, were narrowly defeated by Ontario, Canada's, Larry Sinke's '67 Nova. Sinke ran an elapsed time of 6.547, with a 0.115 light, to Howe's 6.587 with a 0.096 light. If our math is correct, the margin of victory adds up to 0.021 secs.
Here's the Editor's Choice Top Ten Drag Car Awards, and a fine bunch of racers they are. Kenny and Danyell Brown from New Albany, Ohio, race the dark blue '71 Camaro in Bracket One. Greg Schneider from Pickerington, Ohio, has had his blue '74 since he was 16, and keeps it street-legal, even while running in the high 10s. Tracy Blevins of Columbus is the proud owner of the gold '71 Nova Rally Sport with a 512 motor. Jeff Crawford of Springfield, Ohio, has owned his green '66 Nova for 13 years and runs 9s in Bracket Two. Arnold Bailey brings his black '79 Malibu to race, along with Tammy and Leah, from South Point, Ohio. Craig Newport of Cincinnati runs his red '67 Nova in OT and turns in the low 10s, but on nitrous he's done an 8.90. Mike Griffey of Circleville, Ohio, is the pilot and owner of this orange '74 Camaro with a 427 small-block that does 9.40 in Bracket One. How could we pass up a cool front engine (406 small-block) dragster from Johnstown, Ohio, which is driven by Don Wellman, crewed by Carson Wellman, and includes pals Don, Dusty and Dana Martin. Rocky Frazier is from Pataskala, Ohio, and competes in DOT with his '68 Chevelle. Last, but not least are Woody Kilgore, age 13, and his dad Doc, from Columbus, Ohio, who team up on this Jr. Dragster.
From Copenhagen to Columbus
Attesting to the worldwide appeal of drag racing, and the almost worldwide use of speed equipment from the U.S., one can walk by the '63 Nova several times, hear it run, watch it do mid 8-second quarter-mile runs, and not realize the car was built in Denmark and races there regularly. It's in the U.S. for the celebration of the owners' 25th wedding anniversary, which coincides with the Super Chevy Show's own silver anniversary. Lene Jensen and her husband Soren shipped the car to the U.S. earlier this year, toured the country, and had been to other Super Chevy Shows before we caught up with them at Columbus. They plan on being in Gainesville for the season finale, and then it's back home. Quite the anniversary party we'd say.
But all the adventure wasn't just on the track or at the show. Soren purchased a truck and trailer to transport their Nova, and went to Nebraska to pick up the truck. A camper shell was installed only to watch it fly off in the winds stirred up by a tornado passing a short distance away. Needless to say, the shell was splintered. They don't have weather like that in Denmark.
Mom's Toy has a 540ci GM Bow-Tie low-deck big-block with Bow-tie-ported aluminum heads, an Eagle 4340 steel crank,SRP 10:1 pistons, NOS Big Shot plate nitrous system, a JW Ultraglide trans, 4.10:1 Dana 60 four-link rearend, and a tube chassis certified for 7.50 secs. Lene has run 9.40 on motor and 8.35 on nitrous.
Thanks for spending your anniversary with us.