Welcome to my "RACING" page. Below I've posted early racing images from my many trips to the now gone Texas drag strips.....Alamo Dragway, Eastex Dragway, Houston International Raceway and the late Bill Heilscher's Green Valley Race City.
Got really lucky last year (2018) while attending the NHRA NATIONAL HOT ROD REUNION at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky. "BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS showed up and besides getting his autograph on a handful of my old images, I also got a photo taken with Garlits in front of one of his dragsters. Fittingly I had my LIONS DRAGSTRIP t-shirt on.
Don Garlits, "Garlits For Congress" Bumper Sticker, $3.00 admission ticket to Houston International Speedway & the late Ronnie Sox w/Cuda.
Although I'm a native Texan, my first drag racing images were taken on the West Coast, nothing special; just Polaroids (above). I drove my aunt and her two kids back to California and stayed just long enough to visit Lions Drag Strip and Orange County Raceway which like the Texas tracks mentioned above, are no longer active. It was in the late '70s and I had just turned 17.
ALAMO DRAGWAY / San Antonio, Texas
* Alamo Dragway was a yearly stop for the AHRA (American Hot Rod Association) Grand American Series.
EASTEX DRAGWAY / Porter, Texas
*Even "Big Daddy" Don Garlits made an appearance at Eastex Dragway (bottom row). Eastex was also a hot-bed for NHRA Modified Eliminator racers including the Reher & Morrison Racing Team before their move into Pro Stock. Above is their 1974 NHRA Winter Nationals winning Maverick Gasser and their 1975 NHRA Spring Nationals winning Corvette.
GREEN VALLEY RACE CITY / Fort Worth, Texas
*Green Valley was another AHRA Texas event and here was where I saw the "Super Stars" of drag racing back then (bottom rows above). The last image above is "TV Tommy" Ivo and his exhibition vehicle "Wagon Master". It was the first and only time the four-engined, four-wheel drive Buick wagon ran in Texas.
HOUSTON INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY / Dickinson, Texas
*My first visit to the "drags"! It was in the late '60s and I was in my early teens. Couldn't drive yet so one of my parents would drop me off and pick me up (70 mile round trip...twice!). God bless them!
Simpson and Sons stuffing it into the guard rail at Eastex Dragway.
Why Texas Pro Mod racer Robert Smith switched from Nitrous (Lone Star Raceway; Sealy, Texas) to Supercharger (Houston Motorsports Park).
Besides having a few autographed diecast vehicles, I also had some of my old images autographed. Above are Raymond Beadle (Blue Max Funny Car), Gene Snow (dragster and funny car) and Pro Stock / Pro Mod racer Roy Hill.
Before there was a Reher & Morrison, there was Cross & Reher and their 1974 NHRA Winter Nationals winning Maverick. A repost of my photo from Eastex Dragway (left) was requested from a racer in Tennessee who found the car in Arkansas and was planning a complete restoration. Judging by his photo (right), he doesn't have far to go!
Before going Pro Stock racing, Reher & Morrison were a terror in NHRA's Modified Eliminator category. After posting an image of their Corvette at Eastex Dragway (left), I received word and images (right) that the Corvette is alive and well and still racing. Looks to me like it found a good home.
A racer will always be a racer. Houston area attorney Mickey Mills used to race an NHRA legal Pro Stock Maverick as a "gasser" at Eastex Dragway (left). He requested images of his Maverick and sent me photos of his current ride, a sharp looking BMW Road Racer (right).
I had seen the "Energizer" '41 Willys pickup racing at Eastex Dragway (left), cruising down a Houston street and on the internet at California events. All of the above were verified by past and present owner Ted Radoumis. He also sent me several current images (right) from those West Coast venues.
Similar Novas, same name. North Carolina racer Tim Jones is the son of former Dennis Faerman teammate Bobby Jones. He used to frequent Eastex Dragway as a youngster with his dad and thanked me for the memories. Thank you Tim and thanks for the great looking pictures. Looks like you're making your own memories.
If you had to pick one racer that was the "crowd favorite" at Eastex Dragway's monthly Competition/Modified Eliminator combo events, it had to be Willis Ragsdale and his "Raunchy" street roadster. After posting images of Ragsdale, I received several old racing images of Ragsdale from his grand kids. On the right is his current ride.
For quite a while, I'd been asking if anyone knew the whereabouts of Neal Wynn and/or his "Lil' Bear" Nova. Well I finally got a response and it was from Neal himself.
As expected, he's still heavily into cars. The images above show the original "Lil' Bear" at Houston International Raceway, the redone "show" version at the Houston Autorama and finally in front of my parent's house in the historic Houston Heights district when he stopped by to purchase some pictures from me. Incidentally, that's my cousin's kid posing on the trailer, she turns 46 this year!
As mentioned above, Eastex Dragway was a hot-bed for NHRA Modified Eliminator racers and the late Lee Shepherd was a frequent competitor in his green Nova wagon. This is the same Nova that he took to victory at the 1972 NHRA Spring Nationals. In the center photo, he is lining up against the Cross & Reher Maverick which he would eventually team up with to compete not only in Modified Eliminator, but NHRA's professional Pro Stock class. The formidable Reher & Morrison Racing Team with driver Lee Shepherd went on to win the NHRA Pro Stock Championship four consecutive years from 1981 to 1984 winning 26 national events along the way. Unfortunately Shepherd lost his life in a testing accident in Oklahoma in March of 1985.
MORE RACING IMAGES
(not posted above!)
This image won me third place in an NHRA photography contest.