MUNCIE, Ind. – It..took…some….time….. to…… get……. there.
“How far is it from here?”, asked John Grinwald.
Rich Berlisk answered, “Just keeping driving.”
After going around Chicago, getting stuck in a road construction traffic jam in Lafayette and a backtracking detour through central Indiana, it was a reasonable question-and-answer exchange.
Arrival was at 12:15 a.m. EDT.
Then it took some more time to get onto the track, waiting overnight and then through an all-day bracket racing program, in all, 21 hours.
But suddenly at 9 p.m., it all seemed worth it.
A nine-car field of Nostalgia Super Stock Inc. ran two sessions in front of several thousand enthusiastic spectators at Muncie Dragway’s annual Night of Fire August 6.
For several seasons now, the management of Muncie Dragway has combined its regular bracket racing program with a exhibition show of specialty vehicles for a successful day/night doubleheader.
“We love to race and always have a good time presenting our show anywhere,” said Berlisk, who drives the ‘Asphalt Angel’ 1963 Plymouth. “But having all these fans watching makes the program special and all the better.”
The atmosphere is similar to a fair or circus with fans, often families, circulating throughout the property and enjoying the activities – racing, food, and the display of exhibition cars in increasing numbers as the evening goes on.
Always dependable Dan Hradrisky in his ‘Homewrecker’ 1963 Chevrolet and durable Bob Durling in the ‘Teachers Pet II’ 1963 Plymouth opened the first session at 10.844 and 126.08 mph to 10.466 at 127.40 mph, respectively.
In the second pair, Milt Schreindl’s ‘Full Tilt’ 1965 Dodge defeated the ‘Plum Crazy Addiction’ 1964 Plymouth of Marty Bittle 10.030 at 132.68 mph to 10.462 at 129.90 mph.
Guest Gary Harrell in a 1964 Plymouth went 10.431 at 127.46 mph against Berlisk, who clocked 9.786 at 137.78 mph.
The ‘Resurrected’ 1963 Dodge of Mike Singleton had starting line trouble and coasted down while Grinwald in his 1965 Dodge ‘My Gold Digger’ FX replica posted an 8.696 at 154.18 mph.
In his first appearance of the season, Mike Cicciarelli in the (Can’t Get No) Satisfaction 1966 Ford Fairlane went 8.858 at 153.89 mph after replacing a broken transmission in his shop the previous night and then repairing some starter issues which were found while taking the car off the trailer at the track.
“It’s not the same as a conventional 4-speed so there’s some adjustments and a learning curve involved,” said Cicciarelli, who works as a suspension engineer for Andretti Racing and has had ‘Satisfaction’ running in the 8.50 range.
In the other lane was the ‘High Voltage’ 1964 Ford Thunderbolt driven by Jeff Wick, who put down an 8.66 at 152.98 mph for a session-best.
Session Two at 11:15 p.m. showed improved match-ups in each pair, starting with Harrell over Hradrisky 10.366 to 10.627; Durling over Bittle 10.435 to 10.531; Berlisk over Schreindl 9.787 to 10.005; Singleton over Cicciarelli 8.666 to 8.802; and finally Wick over Grinwald 8.590 at 156.54 mph to 8.66 at 155.41 mph.
Wick’s 8.590 was a considerable improvement over the car’s early season tendency to intensely wheelstand and starve the carburetors for fuel, leading to scrubbed runs.
“We improve these machines one step at a time,” said Wick. “We started here,” he continued, in a gesture with his hands two yards apart, “and now we’re here,” in a gesture with his fingers apart the distance of the pre-stage beam to the stage beam, about seven inches.
© 2016 by Nostalgia Super Stock Inc. All rights reserved.