UNION GROVE, Wi – The drivers said they didn’t feel anything unusual about the starting line.
But the amount of breakage indicated otherwise as six units of the Nostalgia Super Stock Inc. 12-car field plus reinforcements eventually were put back into the box after the Great Lakes Dragaway annual Mopar/AMC Festival July 30 and 31.
“(There were) A lot of line-up changes this weekend,” said John Grinwald, who brought out his 1962 Dodge ‘Asphalt Elephant’ for the second time this season and while tying down the car in the trailer after the final session found a bent wheelie bar bracket.
“It was like a kaleidoscope,” said NSS Inc. race manager Bob Wilkiewicz.
“I could really feel it,” said Grinwald, whose car, which normally runs down the track straight as U.S. highway 50 in Nevada, showed an unusual tendency to turn. “It was hitting hard and really digging in. There was a lot of pressure being put on those bars.”
The carnage commenced in Saturday’s first session as Mike Thierren suffered a broken track bar weld on his 1968 Hemi-powered Dodge Dart ‘Chi Town Shaker’. which went for the centerline twice before he scrubbed the run.
“I was turning the steering wheel a half turn before getting any response and then it wasn’t in the right direction,” said Thierren. “ When I got it straight and pulled second gear, away it went again.”
In the second session, the 1965 ‘Nightmare’ Plymouth of Ryan Eads broke a universal joint directly at the starting line.
The third session took a break from the breakage before guest Brian Lambert and his 1962 409-powered Chevrolet headed home for northern Michigan. This reduced the field to eight cars and set up the best race of the event.
In the last pair, Grinwald faced off against the 1964 Dodge ‘Max Wedgie’ Polara of Spencer Schreindl and came away with a win light by a 0.007 margin on numbers of 0.137, 8.853 at 151.61 mph to 0.089, 8.908 at 153.45 mph, respectively.
On the starting line, Schreindl staged quickly and then went deep while Grinwald edged in slowly. The post-race back-and-forth was:
Schreindl: “I can’t hold the ‘brake that long.”
Grinwald: “I had to do something to screw you up.”
Both: “Wow, what a race. That’s great stuff.”
“It’s always fun with Spence,” said Grinwald. “He’s a great guy to race.”
For Sunday, the reinforcements arrived with Dennis Sherer and his ‘Repeat Offender’ 1963 Ford Galaxie, Jeff Wick in the ‘High Voltage’ 1964 Ford Thunderbolt and Mike Jessup in the ‘Last Dance’ 1968 Hemi Barracuda.
But the breakage continued with John Rousset and the 1964 ‘Hard Days Night’ Plymouth. Rousset suspected losing something in the valve train but a later in-shop inspection revealed a broken connecting rod.
Meanwhile, Mike Singleton and the ‘Resurrected’ 1963 Dodge followed up his Saturday fourth session 8.70 with an event-best 8.69.
In Session Two, Sherer went out with transmission trouble after posting an 11.10 and Schreindl limped through at 28.933 at 19.45 mph due to a blown head gasket, which seemingly failed shortly after leaving the line.
Finally – and maybe mercifully – session four came at 4:15 p.m. with the highlight Jessup’s improvement to 9.65 from a previous 10.07.
“We’ve been trying a lot of things and the mix came together,” said Jessup.
Steady performers included Rich Berlisk in the 1963 Plymouth ‘Asphalt Angel’ ranging from 9.70 to 9.80; Doug Henderson in the ‘Never Too Late’ 1964 Plymouth improving from 10.60 on Saturday to 10.29 on Sunday, Marty Bittle in the 10.30 and 40’s with the ‘Plum Crazy Addiction’ 1964 Plymouth and Milt Schreindl, who finished with consecutive 10.25’s on Sunday in the ‘Full Tilt’ 1965 Dodge.
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