By: Tim Glover
Atlanta Speed Shop hosted the eleventh edition of the Atlanta $10,000 Drag Races and Car Show at Atlanta Dragway on October 20, 2013. The first nine were held at Atlanta Speed Shop Dragway in Covington, GA from 1964 to 1972, and the tenth in October 2012 at Atlanta Dragway. Nostalgia Top Fuel and Funny Cars from the 60s were featured, along with a Gasser Shootout class of vintage race cars racing in a Chicago style format that thrilled the fans, Nostalgia Super Stock cars and Nostalgia Comp, Nostalgia Gas and Hot Rod classes.
Two local standouts, Chad Brewer and Dickey Forrester, earned wins in two of the five Nostalgia classes held. The Bowden family has a lot to be proud of after their weekend. Both of Patty and Bobby Bowden’s sons took the win in their respective Junior Dragster classes, with Austin winning 8-12 Jr Dragster and Chris winning 13-17 Jr Dragster.
Thrilling the fans, the nitro burning Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars were loud and unpredictable. Richard Hartman (Carolina Cruiser ’55 Chevy), Jake Cummings (Crazzzy Jake’s Mustang), Mark Rogers (Destroyer ’77 Trans AM), Randall Davis (Dixie Twister 70-1/2 Camaro) and others made exhibition passes in their cars. Following that, Julius Hughes III made several exhibition passes in his ZOT VI Top Fuel dragster, posting fast times, including an early shutoff 7.27 at 162 mph.
A “Geezer Alley” exhibition was set up in the midway again to allow people to meet and greet racing greats from the past. The Car Show took up a large space in the pits, featuring plenty of early and late model hot rods, including Commerce resident John Looney’s immaculately done ’86 Samurai powered by a small block chevy. The swap meet area also featured a lot of vintage muscle car parts for sale. Lending authenticity to the event, several 50’s style pinup girls were also spotted on the grounds during the weekend.
Chad Brewer brought a ’68 Camaro to the show today, and took home first place in Nostalgia Muscle Car for his efforts. In the final, he met Randy Bennett’s ’70 AMC Rebel “The Machine”. The round was over the instant Bennett’s “Machine” left the starting line with the cherry colored bulb glowing. Knowing the win was already his, Brewer took the win stripe with a slightly under the index 11.96 at 109.93mph (12.00 second index). Adding insult to injury was Bennett’s ride posted a nearly perfect 14.008 at 94.63mph on the 14.00 index. For the second year in a row, Stephen Moore finished in the semi-final round with his ’73 Duster, along with John Cox’s ’67 Pontiac. Brewer thanked the “Mayor of Hickory Flat” for all of his help again.
Hot Rod winner Dickey Forrester has good reason to be nostalgic about his 4400 pound ’64 Catalina. This is his first car, which he drove to high school, and 45 years later it is faster than many of the Camaros and Mustangs being campaigned. For the final, his dial-in time was 12.64 seconds, and after he saw that opponent Gary Adam’s ’33 Willys was out of shape, he lifted off the throttle and slowed to a 12.87 at 86.75mph for the win. Adams crossed the finish line later with an 11.20 at 96.98mph (10.21 dial). Tom Pellette raced his flathead Ford V8 powered ’37 Fiat to a semi-final finish. “My dad wouldn’t let me buy a Firebird or Camaro for my first car, and I’m probably standing here today because of that,” added Forrester.
Nostalgia Super Stock winner Whit Starks took home the top prize with his ’64 Coronet after defeating Jim Homier’s ’68 ‘Cuda. Both racers were on the 10.00 Index, and Starks took a slight reaction time advantage and combined it with a closer to the Index 10.04 at 125.88mph for the win. Homier was a close second, posting a 10.07 at 133.74 mph. Bill Boomhower’s huge wheelstanding ’65 Belvedere made it all the way to the semi-final round. “I want to thank Julius (Hughes) for putting this race on. I’m one of those guys who likes to run quarter mile,” added Starks.
Todd Sinclair’s ’28 Ford was the top machine in Nostalgia Comp, with the win against Cool Joe’s ’32 Ford. Sinclair went closer to the 10.50 Index with a 10.60 at 86.53mph, while Joe earned runner up status with a 10.73 at 91.74mph on his 10.50 Index. Larry Parker’s ’79 Sunbird finished in the semis, along with Joe McLaughlin’s gear jamming ’71 Nova.
The Nostalgia Gassers put on a great show every time they left the starting line. Jack Moore’s old flame throwing pickup picked up the win with a 5.85 at 121.49mph (5.50 Index) after Robert Wold’s ’55 Chevy turned on the red light. Wold posted a 6.61 at 92.45mph on the 6.50 Index. Erwin Aderhold’s beautiful ’51 Henry J was the semi-finalist car.
Seventeen year old Young Gun Wesley Mayfield began racing Super Pro in earnest during the 2013 season, and won a lot of rounds, finishing second in the Atlanta Dragway Super Pro points series. His first win came in a 16 car shootout a few weeks ago at the Summit ET finals, and he then enjoyed winning his first Super Pro event tonight in his ’03 Worthy dragster prepared by his father and crewed by his dad, mom and sister Leighann. Mayfield’s final round opponent was Jim Onda, driving a ’96 rear engine dragster. Mayfield took the win with a breakout 4.928 at 139.18mph (4.94 dial), but Onda’s red light at the starting line is what made the difference. Onda went on to a close breakout 4.899 at 140.93mph (4.90 dial). Chad Kennedy’s ’68 Camaro battled through the field, ending the day with a semi-final finish. Mayfield first thanked God, and then thanked his parents and sister for their help. He noted that every 60 foot time during the event was 1.11 seconds.
Even though the Pro final win already belonged to Eric Smith before he left the starting line, Smith still chose to run his car on out to a dead-on 6.63 at 103.78mph (6.63 dial). His opponent Michael Garner’s ’56 Chevrolet failed to make it to the starting line for the final. Stephen Ingram was the lone semi-finalist with his ’65 Chevy II. “I want to thank the Lord for this; I didn’t deserve to win a round. I really enjoyed the race though,” Smith added humbly.
Long time Sportsman racer Harold Wilson changed to a 2003 Corvette, and has been struggling with it throughout the year. Thanks to help and advice from Corvette racer J.D. “Doc” Burford, and also lots of seat time, Wilson’s luck changed during tonight’s event when he out reacted and went closer to the dial than his opponent Russell Haskin’s ’13 Mustang. Wilson carded a 13.51 at 103.54mph (13.46 target) to Haskins’ 12.32 at 114.08 (12.26 dial). The semi-finalist pair was Howard Warren (’72 Maverick) and Ed Nalley (’83 Silverado). “I want to thank God for helping me turn on the win lights,” added Wilson.
The top two 2013 Atlanta Super Pro Motorcycle finishers were Jay Rhyne (champion) and Tim Sutton (second place). Tonight’s race finish was the same, with Rhyne’s ’81 Suzuki taking the win with a 9.26 at 140.36mph (9.21 dial). Sutton was on track for a great run, but unfortunately, the front wheel of his ’83 Suzuki broke the starting line beams 0.001 seconds before the clocks started, handing the automatic win to Rhyne. Sutton eased back to a 15.97 at 84.69mph (8.94 dial). Randy Barnett (’08 Suzuki) and Randy Day (’12 Kawasaki) ended their day with a semi-final finish. “I had a busted clutch all day! Everyone went red against me after first round,” added Rhyne.
Although Paul Lee took the Street ET Motorcycle win with his ’00 Suzuki, one wouldn’t have known it judging by Angie Young’s excited reaction to making runner up with her ’12 Kawasaki. Young actually had the reaction time advantage, but her bike fell off pace a little to a 9.21 at 150.88mph (9.00 dial). Lee posted a 9.00 at 142.10 (8.93 dial) for the win. Randy Barnett also earned a semi-final finish in this class with his ’08 Suzuki. Lee thanked his wife Kristen and sponsors Online Tire Deals, Ariail Tire and Livengood Motorsports for their help. “I made it!” was Young’s excited reaction to her best finish to date.
The Bowden family was thrilled with how their day went, ending with both of their sons winning both Jr Dragster classes. Mom Patty’s excited whoop when she saw the second Bowden win could be heard for several hundred feet.
Eleven year old Austin Bowden met 13 year old Rachel Flowers in the 8-12 Jr Dragster final round. Flowers did have the better react, but crossed the finish line stripe just a touch too soon with a breakout 9.06 at 70.78mph on a 9.08 dial. Bowden didn’t give her much room to work with, posting a dead-on 8.94 at 72.38mph (8.94 dial). Maddie-Kate Halsey was the sole semi-final finisher. “I was happy both of them won,” added dad Bobby. Austin was still thrilled with the victory, adding, “I’m so happy!”.
Seventeen year old Chris Bowden was a little more laid back about his 13-17 Jr Dragster win. “Thank you Jesus, mom and dad. This was much needed,” he commented. Bowden crossed the big end stripe 0.017 seconds in front of Malone Wilson (14) with a 7.953 at 79.49mph (7.90 dial). Wilson was dead on with a 7.906 at 81.61mph (7.90 dial), but the reaction time made the difference. Hunter Ramsey (15) ended his day in the semi-final round.
Race promoter Julius Hughes ended the evening by treating the crowd to another pass with his ZOT VI Top Fuel dragster, lighting up the night with five foot long header flames from his car.
Sanctioned by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), Atlanta Dragway is located just off I-85 at Exit 149 in the Banks Crossing area of Commerce, Georgia. Information on all 2014 events, including the Summit Southern Nationals on May 16-18, 2014, may be obtained by calling the track office (706-335-2301) or logging on towww.atlantadragway.com
NOSTALGIA MUSCLE CAR CAR HOMETOWN ET MPH INDEX
Win: Chad Brewer ’68 Camaro Canton, GA 11.96 109.93 (12.00)
R/U: Randy Bennett ’70 Rebel “Machine” Stockbridge, GA 14.008 94.63 (14.00)
Semi: Stephen Moore ’73 Duster Winder, GA
Semi: John Cox ’67 Pontiac Loganville, GA
NOSTALGIA SUPER STOCK CAR HOMETOWN ET MPH INDEX
Win: Whit Starks ’64 Coronet Jasper, GA 10.04 125.88 (10.00)
R/U: Jim Homier ’68 Barracuda Woodstock, GA 10.07 133.74 (10.00)
Semi: Bill Boomhower ’65 Belvedere Walhalla, SC
NOSTALGIA GAS CAR HOMETOWN ET MPH INDEX
Win: Jack Moore old pickup Greer, SC 5.85 121.49 (5.50)
R/U: Robert Wold ’55 Chevrolet Oxford, FL (foul) 6.61 92.45 (6.50)
Semi: Erwin Aderhold ’51 Henry J Woodstock, GA
NOSTALGIA COMP CAR HOMETOWN ET MPH DIAL-IN
Win: Todd Sinclair ’28 Ford Chester, SC 10.60 86.53 (10.50)
R/U: Cool Joe ’32 Ford Lyman, SC 10.73 91.74 (10.50)
Semi: Joe McLaughlin ’71 Nova McDonough, GA
Semi: Larry Parker ’79 Sunbird Buford, GA
NOSTALGIA HOT ROD CAR HOMETOWN ET MPH INDEX
Win: Dickey Forrester ’64 Catalina Hickory Flat, GA 12.87 86.75 (12.64)
R/U: Gary Adams ’33 Willys Carnesville, GA 11.20 96.98 (10.21)
Semi: Tom Pellette ’37 Fiat Spartanburg, SC
SUPER PRO CAR HOMETOWN ET MPH DIAL-IN
Win: Wesley Mayfield ’03 Worthy Gainesville, GA 4.92 139.18 (4.94)
R/U: Jim Onda ’96 dragster Toccoa, GA (foul) 4.899 140.93 (4.90)
Semi: Chad Kennedy ’68 Camaro Winder, GA
PRO CAR HOMETOWN ET MPH DIAL-IN
Win: Eric Smith ’71 Nova Baldwin, GA 6.63 103.78 (6.63)
R/U: Michael Garner ’56 Chevrolet Chattanooga, TN (broke)
Semi: Stephen Ingram ’65 Chevy II Adairsville, GA
SPORTSMAN CAR HOMETOWN ET MPH DIAL-IN
Win: Harold Wilson ’03 Corvette Winder, GA 13.51 103.54 (13.46)
R/U: Russell Haskins ’13 Mustang Marietta, GA 12.32 114.08 (12.26)
Semi: Howard Warren ’72 Maverick Douglasville, GA
Semi: Ed Nalley ’83 Silverado Carnesville, GA
PRO ET MOTORCYCLE BIKE HOMETOWN ET MPH DIAL-IN
Win: Jay Rhyne ’81 Suzuki Athens, GA 9.26 140.36 (9.21)
R/U: Tim Sutton ’83 Suzuki Clermont, GA (foul) 15.97 84.69 (8.94)
Semi: Randy Barnett ’08 Suzuki Colbert, GA
Semi: Randy Day ’12 Kawasaki Anderson, NC
STREET ET MOTORCYCLE BIKE HOMETOWN ET MPH DIAL-IN
Win: Paul Lee ’00 Suzuki Mt. Airy, GA 9.00 142.10 (8.93)
R/U: Angie Young ’12 Kawasaki Anderson, SC 9.21 150.88 (9.00)
Semi: Randy Barnett ’08 Suzuki Colbert, GA