The irony of calling this event “The Meltdown Drags” is apparent from the moment you enter the raceway. At the end of the strip, which appears to be on a significant downhill slope, you can see great plums of steam rising from a nuclear power plant cooling tower. The 100 plus degree temps were just another ironic bonus.
The Nostalgia Gassers were pitted tailgate to tailgate with the Great Lakes Gassers on the nicest piece of grass in the area. The fact that it was directly behind the staging lanes was an additional perk.
What made this an especially memorable and nostalgic experience was what I called the Sock Hop affect. At first the two groups were cordial but somewhat distant. When the call came for our first run, everyone started pairing up with people from their own group. Wild eyed and red faced I started running around yelling “No, no, no, that’s not how a Shoot Out works folks”. Anyway, after a bit of cajoling and a few thinly veiled threats, people agreed to run the opponent they were paired with and it worked out pretty well.
Before you know it they were calling us out for our second shot. By this time drivers were getting a little more comfortable with this setup and started looking for more suitably matched cars. You can probably see where this is headed. By the end of the event these guys were out for blood, figuratively speaking, and it was not uncommon to hear not so genteel utterings such as “Your mine Johnny Rotten” and “You’re history Normann”. Ah, the good old days were back.
By Sunday afternoon we were starting to act like one big, dysfunctional group with promises of getting even next year and talk about how we could make the experience even more memorable for the racers, fans and promoters. At the end of the day we gathered for a group photo complete with banners, handshakes and smiles. If the smile on the faces of the Great Lakes group seems a bit strained it’s because the traveling trophy was going home with us.
Another successful event under our collective belt, thanks Ron for getting this one booked.
While reflecting on the Meltdown I keep thinking of three F’s; Freedom, Friends & Fun. Grown men and women playing with big, loud, shiny, overpowered, dangerous, fossil fuel guzzling, crowd pleasing works of art which allow us to relive our youth and spotlight a unique portion of our heritage. Only in America can we share the three F’s so brazenly and frequently and often take it all for granted.