Thursday morning when the rain started my thought was, oh no here we go again, but finally a whole race weekend without rain! Roger Brown was first to arrive Thursday followed by Mike Hoffman, Bill Wamboldt, Gary Blasey, Jessie James and their friend and new member Steve Rice with his 1948 Studebaker. As the day went on, Ken Kapper, Ralph Grote, Mark Campbell, Bill Eveland, Tom Cray, Dean Markuson, Jack Kaylor and Robb Rothweiler’s 55 Chevy finally made it’s maiden voyage. Steve and Ben Bacon brought their cars up later in the evening. We were joined Friday by 2 more new members, Dave Walters with his 1953 Chevy and Glenn McEntire’s Willy’s coupe. Additionally, Ed Roviaro and his 1937 Chevy, Ted and Brandon Beach and Randy Travoletti made a total of a 21 car field. As we went through tech, we saw a familiar face in Ron Norman.
The weather Friday was HOT but several of us took advantage of making time runs. Bryan and June Huffman came up for the day but had to leave before we paired up and made our passes about 4pm. The heat was hard on drivers and cars alike. Glenn McIntire blew up, Walter’s broke his rear axle and Dean put his fan through the radiator. Randy ended up with a flat tire and Ed broke a belt but luckily they were both able to make repairs.
A record spectator crowd was expected Saturday, but it seems the heat and threat of rain kept some people away but not the participants. There were cars from all over the USA and even Canada. It was really nice to see Bob Hajek and Danny Mann, who both say their cars will be here next year. Danny couldn’t keep from helping on the line.
While we were making passes, Gerald Bacon, Steve’s brother, was tending a huge roaster with a whole pig. The tender pork, a variety of side dishes and desserts had everyone who walked by wishing they were with us. Many of the track personnel and Meltdown staff who could, came by for a plate. Gerald has said he would be willing to do it again next year!
History was made Saturday night as the first time Byron Dragway raced under the lights. It really was a cool sight and the fans seemed to love it and so did the cars! In fact, Mike’s Mule made it’s best pass since he’s had it with an 11.34 @ 467 MPH. There may have been a problem with the timing system but he has the slip to prove it…. LOL. Phil and Dee Morris of Gassers Wars magazine brought help to cover the event. Steve Bacon was awarded Best Gasser and his son Ben’s Tub & Squirt won Best Anglia.
By Sunday several racers had pulled out. But with the beautiful day, many of us couldn’t resist making a couple more runs down the track. After all, the next race isn’t until August 22 in Eddyville, IA
Thank you to the the Melt Down Drags and Byron Dragway staff for all the hard work they have put in to make the Melt Down Drags the biggest and, in my opinion, the best event in the country.