By Bob Wilkiewicz – Photos by Todd Harshman
Nostalgia Super Stock® Inc. Staff
Click on the images for larger photos
CLERMONT, Ind. – It wasn’t drag race despair, but it was definitely a drag race downer.
After enduring a second-day rainout, five consecutive event cancellations and then a day-before hailstorm, Nostalgia Super Stock® Inc. rolled into Lucas Oil Raceway (Indianapolis) after a multi-year absence with eager expectations and a sense of satisfaction in returning to one of the sport’s top venues.
However, the optimism was soon offset by the disappointment of few race cars and fewer spectators at the Quarter-Mile Classic on July 18.
Working with the Midwest Nostalgia Pro Stock Association, the two groups had a combined 24 vehicles available for their heads-up format.
With a concurrent elapsed time bracket and Top Sportsman program also in place, I counted 31 people in the east grandstands at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. The west stands were empty.
The air temperature was already above 90 degrees and the humidity a sauna-like 63 percent. By the early afternoon hours, conditions were even worse from a human-comfort point of view, with numbers of 96 for the air and 77 for a dewpoint.
For the cars, the density altitudes were above 4500 feet. According to track staff, the surface temperature was 126 degrees.
Ted Peters the crowned king of the mopar nation was in the house wreaking havoc with his ultra popular “Patriot Missile” Chuck Weck and his “Team Strange” Firebird made several nice runs much to the delight of all the Pontiac fans
The Pro Stockers ran two sessions with a best of 7.587 at 180.43 mph and 7.637 at 179.90 mph by Chuck Weck in the ‘Team Strange’ 1986 Pontiac Firebird, followed by Ted Peters’ ‘Patriot Missle’ 1973 Plymouth Duster at 8.819 at 155.33 mph in the first session. The 1981 Camaro Reher-Morrison tribute car driven by Mark Pappas with an 8.439 at 169.38 mph was quickest in the second session.
The Super Stockers ran four sessions, highlighted by Paul Habura’s 8.715 at 154.60 mph in the second stanza. There was no time recorded on the run sheet for his second pass.
Larry Quinn’s 1962 Pontiac ‘Blast From The Past’ and John Grinwald in the ‘My Gold Digger’ 1965 Dodge altered wheelbase car were paired together all day. However, in the first session, a fizzled fuel pump and rattling rods in other cars made chaos of the run order and each ended up running a single.
For the remaining sessions, Quinn took a 2-1 event edge with Grinwald going 9.048 at 149.80 mph to 9.066 at 144.30 mph for Quinn in the final session to avoid the shutout. Grinwald’s 0.215 to Quinn’s 0.257 reaction time provided half the margin-of-victory difference.
During the off season, Quinn had installed a set of 5.29 to 1 rear end gears and at the first event at Sikeston, Mo. in early May had fought the car’s tendency to push hard to the left. This time, each run was straight and true.
“Larry has a very potent 1/8-mile car right now,” said Grinwald. “He was in front of me all day and I had to work hard and get lucky to get near him.”
Several other match-ups stood out in each session.
In the opening race of session one, Marty Bittle, a guest from Benton, Ill., took a 10.686 at 126.95 mph win in his 1964 Plymouth over Gerry Gostenik’s 1961 bubble-top 409 Chevrolet, which clocked 10.734 at 125.22 mph.
In addition, Jim Brandon and his ‘Rebel Rouser” 1964 Dodge went 9.821 at 135.80 to defeat the ‘Asphalt Angel’ and the 1963 Plymouth of Rich Berlisk, who ran the first of his two consecutive 9.929 elapsed times.
The second pair of the second session featured Bob Durling’s ‘Teachers Pet’ 1963 Plymouth edging Bittle 10.636 at 125.39 compared to 10.652 at 127.21 mph.
It was Quinn vs. Grinwald in the sixth pair, with Quinn prevailing 9.160 at 144.78 to 9.178 and 150.20, helped by a 0.154 to 0.172 reaction advantage.
Before session three, Durling was pleased to see the pairings.
“Gerry’s been talking a little smack so we’ll see if we can have a little fun,” said Durling, who prevailed 10.658 at 125.72 to 10.722 at 125.75 in the first pair.
In a contest between 1964 Plymouths, Dale Chenoweth cut an 0.060 light and went 10.323 at 120.67 to overcome Doug Henderson’s 10.395 at 129.16 top end charge.
The fifth pair featured the 1964 Mercury ‘Kansas Comet’ of Wayne Keimig edging the 1965 ‘Full Tilt’ Dodge of new member Milt Schreindl, 10.360 at 128.52 compared to 10.370 at 127.65 mph.
Down in the seventh pair, Quinn set up the session four showdown with a 9.092 at 144.81 as Grinwald posted another 9.17, this one with a 2 at 150.18 mph.
Finally in the first pair of the fourth stanza, Durling ended any more contentious conversion by getting past Gostenik 10.650 to 10.735 at 125.89 and 125. 60 mph, respectively.
The damage report includes the 1963 ‘Rompin’ Redskin’ of Joe Zajac, who left oil on the starting line in the first session and Spencer Schreindl, who did a remarkable job of driving to keep his ‘Max Wedgie’ 1964 Dodge rubber-side down and off the right lane wall when some rods rattled loose at the finish line after stopping the clocks at 9.036 at 150.38 mph.
In the first session, Schreindl broke under nine seconds at 8.982 at 151.00 mph.
Finally, Len Grimsley Jr. in the 1964 Plymouth wagon ‘Fire and Faith‘ ran three similar numbers in the sauna, 9.218 at 147.18, 9.231 at 147.47 and 9.216 at 147.52 mph.
Here are two big rivals, both residing in Columbia, MO, Doug Henderson in his white “Never To Late” 1964 Plymouth
and long time member of NSS® Inc John Rousett and his 1963 red Plymouth “Hard Days Night”
Jungle George” Kubis driving the “Billy the Kid” Stepp Plymouth Arrow and John Denbrock’s “Grumpy’s Toy” Vega battling it out
at the world famous Lucas Oil Raceway. These cars are so correct in every detail that you really think your back in the seventies.
Chuck Weck (the world’s fastest test monkey) was on hand with his Team Strange/ Gene Fasching tribute Firebird. Chuck’s driving prowess coupled with big inch Opel Engineering power plant is a hard combo to beat. Just ask anyone who has lined up next to him !