For a few years now, a dedicated group of gearheads have been bringing drag racing to its roots at a dusty WW2-era airfield in Central California. After my first visit to the Eagle Field Drags back in 2010, I was hooked and the events became a favorite on my yearly schedule.
It may not be as glamorous as the Nurburgring 24 where most of the Speedhunters team spent the weekend, but if you dig no-frills vintage drag racing – this is heaven.
In case you missed my coverage of these events from past years, let me quickly go over what the Eagle Field drags are all about. Just like the drag racing’s earliest days, the drag strip is nothing but an airfield runway. Although some of the Eagle Field events now feature a Christmas Tree and timing lights, Saturday’s racing was strictly old school format.
The cars roll up to the line, and wait for the flagman to give the go signal…
…and then it’s off down the dusty strip on a run to glory. Traction is poor, but the fun factor is through the roof.
With no timeslips, bragging rights are the only thing at stake for the grudge matches carried out on the old runway.
There’s also the quest to entertain the crowd – something that’s just as important as 60 foot times and trap speeds in my book.
With the coming each event, it seems more and more impressive machinery is hauled out to Eagle Field to get in on the fun. The ridiculous blown Coupe from Famoso Speed Shop was one the featured vehicles running in the spring event.
There were also plenty of street cars that made their way out. Some were local, while others came from quite far to experience this unique form of drag racing.
Among the participants was a group of Gassers that came down from the Pacific Northwest and really stole the show.
The group included this ragged looking Ford Coupe riding high on skinnies and slicks.
If you like your race cars with grit and character, this is the place to be.
The Gasser gang also included this early model Plymouth Barracuda with a tilt front end and that perfect nose-high stance.
The door says it all.
That homebuilt, “run what you brung” spirit thrives at Eagle Field. Whether it’s one of the always entertaining HAMB Dragsters…
…or this wild looking dually pick up truck known as “Freak Show”.
Even with four tires digging in, the truck still struggled for traction on the dusty runway surface.
Another drag special that looks like it was built in a backyard rather than spotless workshop. Cool.
Besides the retro machines, there’s also a good number of more contemporary Muscle Cars and door slammers at Eagle Field. Here a ’69 Camaro preps the tires for a trip down the runway.
The front-engine rail dragsters are always a crowd favorite at these events. With the lack of traction, the faster cars will simply roast their tires the entire way down the track.
Taking a break from the racing, I made my way around the pit area where I found this rough but cool Chevy wagon support vehicle.
I also took a look at the car show area, which included a small, but diverse mix of cars.
A classy Galaxie, showing that Fords can do the lowrider/custom thing just as well as any General Motors product.
Here’s another Chevy Wagon, this one a ’63 that’s been given the lowrider treatment.
The Trailer Trash Willys Gasser is an Eagle Field regular. All it takes is one look at a car like this and you’ll know why Gassers are loved so much. The sound, the look, the speed, the history – it’s everything that makes an automobile cool.
I fall for those angled velocity stacks every time.
Kaiser-Frazer’s odd-looking Henry J didn’t catch on among car buyers in the early ’50s, but it lives on here in the form of the UFO Gasser.
A lightweight, short wheelbase car and a slippery race surface is the perfect recipe for thrills.
One of my favorite cars of the day, and a one I’ve seen at the track a few times before is this raked and blown Coupe. More on this beast in the future.
That will do it for part one.
Back tomorrow with more retro drag action from Eagle Field.