O.C.I.R. Aug 5-1967*Oct 29-1983 1st Supertrack (1 Viewer)

[email protected]

Nitro Member
Today October 29th marks yet another year since the last nitro race, the "Last Drag Race" at the sports first Supertrack. Located in what was the sticks when it was built in East Irvine, California. Today I salute yet another track in Southern California that was lost. From the many like San Gabriel, to Fontana Drag City, San Fernando, Carlsbad and to the king, Lions Drag Strip. Opening night of August 5th of 67 to the last nitro night of October of 83.

So many great events, historical happenings, innovative events and just plain history, this place was dang awesome! A basket of "strips" washed down with many adult beverages in between O.C.I.R. cheeseburgers, so cool.

Manufacturers Meets, Hang Ten, Bug Ins, Super Chevy, Nitro Championships, Division 7 Meets, 64-car FC meets, the PDA, Constructers Top Fuel, Wheelstander meets in December, the All Pro Series, the National events both NHRA and AHRA, what a great time.

How bout some O.C.I.R. stories, no matter how small or big.


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[email protected]

Nitro Member
It was around 1:30am. It was minutes before Beck ran his solo to close out nitro forever at the County. A fan yelled out, "the flakes are gone but the diehards are here." The crowd roared, never forget it.


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Talladega Announcer
 

Cliff

Nitro Member

Scroll down the photos & you'll see Larry Bowers T/F at OCIR. Photo show the can, clutch, discs, etc coming out of the car. I saw this from the spectator side grandstands (which you can see in the photo) & all the stuff went up in the air, and over the finish line grandstand. Someone said no one got hurt, but heard other reports that some did. The pieces landed in the pit area, which was located by the top end of the track.
 

Randy

Nitro Member

Scroll down the photos & you'll see Larry Bowers T/F at OCIR. Photo show the can, clutch, discs, etc coming out of the car. I saw this from the spectator side grandstands (which you can see in the photo) & all the stuff went up in the air, and over the finish line grandstand. Someone said no one got hurt, but heard other reports that some did. The pieces landed in the pit area, which was located by the top end of the track.

Mike Buonocore and I were in dragster staging past the finish line when that thing blew up. And it's not true that no one got hurt. You can see the floater in the picture shooting in the air like a frisbee. We all kept an eye on it as it flew up in the air. When it started coming back down everyone was diving under Dually pick up trucks towing dragsters parked in dragster staging. The center floater finally hit the ground and damaged a Pontiac, shot threw the pits, hit a guy hard on the leg and took off across the 5 freeway into the orange groves west of the freeway never to be found. The guy's leg that was hit was pretty screwed up. I saw it. I think his buddies threw in a car and took him to the hospital.
 

Randy

Nitro Member
By the way. One of my favorite pictures at the top from OCIR from Popular Hot Rodding taken by Steve Reyes in 1979...
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CRR

Nitro Member
Who remembers these FC meetings? There were 52 FCs entered at this one.
 

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Cliff

Nitro Member
I went to a couple of them. The one that stands out to me is when the Blue Max went 6.72 ET. Would be the equivlent of an F/C running 3.60 today.
 

Butch

Nitro Member
As a teenager, I lived about ten miles west and when I couldn't afford to go there I could here the fuel cars on Saturday nite from the house. I was so bummed. Lot's of great memories at OCIR.

Two that stand out. The first was when I was standing at the base of the tower and Linda Vaughan was being paraded around wearing an outfit that was nothing more than the same translucent material used to bag cereal inside of the box. You could see right through it. Though I didn't mind... I was flabbergasted she would wear something like that in public.

The other was on a Wednesday evening at the weekly 'run what you brung' event. Occasionally, nitro cars would show up to test. This was back when mid-engine cars were just getting started (early '70's?). After a couple passes in a friends Ranchero, we were the only people sitting in the top end stands when a brand new unpainted fueler made a run that ended in disaster. About mid track the driver lost control and proceeded to ram both guardrails, showering sparks and parts going everywhere. It came to a stop right in front of us, completely destroyed (and if I remember right, it was on fire too). I don't remember if the driver was injured or not but I would sure love to know who it was. Pat Foster's name sticks with me but I could never find any reference to this accident. Anyone here know who it may have been?
 

Cliff

Nitro Member
I think Pat Foster crashed a back motor car at Lions, but it was maybe 1969, before Garlits' car. OCIR, I remember that back motor cars started coming out around the middle of 1971 (John Rodek as example). I remember someone in the stands saying, Yeah, they do anything to copy Garlits. I wonder what that guy thought in 1972, when it was about 90% back motor.....
 

[email protected]

Nitro Member
Some geezer memories from that great strip.

Randy, I happened to be sitting on the top row of the top end seats for that particular session, all those clutch parts, I saw them fly over the seats and it hit that dude in the knee cap as he was in pit walk stride.

One Sat afternoon some boob tried to light his BBQ with nitro, yep nitro, did not light. So the bright guys poured some BBQ lighter fluid on it and chucked a blue tip match on it, the flames must have gone 30 feet high as the dips*^&'s ran for cover.

At the very first Manufacturers Meet in 67, all the cars were on the track in their respective team areas, maybe a first, a spotlight from on top of the tower highlighted each driver during introductions, gave me a chill. It was so exciting as some of the never before seen midwest and east coast cars were in attendance. There had been a show or 2 at Lions, Fremont, and Irwindale, but this total field was so loaded.

I was a pitside, 1st grandstand top row guy in the early years, but yet another deal from the top end, the horrific crash and fire with Herm Peterson.

The Wheel stander Championships in December were great.

I always liked Roy Trevino's "Texas Rare Bare"

The 1970 Manufacturers Meet had the largest ever field of Supercharged Funny Cars ever.

I still have about 10 pristine O.C.I.R pit passes.

I so recall this, it was about 2;15 am. on the last night. Mrs [email protected] walked out of the track the last time, we went to our truck so sad. We put our stuff in the truck, I walked around to the passenger side, in silence we hugged each other, looked at the lights shining on the track for the last time. She knew this was the third knockout for me, first it was Lions, the Irwindale, no the County. I admit it, tears were flowing as the last of the great So-Cal strips was now gone. In the truck we drove out for the last time, then there was none.

That little country store on San Canyon off of I-5 was so classic and we would load up there before going in.

More to come.


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Cliff

Nitro Member
I remember Herm Petersen getting burned. Rear engined car. He crashed & the fire. As they were pulling him out of the car, he put his fist in the air, like to say, I'm gonna win this. Lots of plastic surgery later, especially his nose. Sigh But he still comes to the nostalgia events. Story I heard was that one day he got into the kitty litter and he said "I've had enough of this", & pulled the plug on his racing career.

When Lions closed, I remember the last run, the T/F final, Carl Olson beat Jeb Allen. Allen will always be the last driver down the track. I just kind of wondered around, watching people getting anything they could as a souvineer. Don't remember what time it was, but finally realized I have to go home, so I left. 3 AM??? When Irwindale closed, did not want to go to their last race, cuz I was bummed the track was closing. I was already living in AZ when OCIR closed, so didn't go to that. But, the year it closed, I had a chance to go to the Div 7 race & I did that. That was my last time at OCIR. I remember walking all around the track. But, Firebird opened in 1984 in Phoenix, and it was a lot like OCIR, except the tower. I was so glad a major track opened in AZ & especially that it reminded me so much of OCIR.
 

Al

Nitro Member
Today October 29th marks yet another year since the last nitro race, the "Last Drag Race" at the sports first Supertrack. Located in what was the sticks when it was built in East Irvine, California. Today I salute yet another track in Southern California that was lost. From the many like San Gabriel, to Fontana Drag City, San Fernando, Carlsbad and to the king, Lions Drag Strip. Opening night of August 5th of 67 to the last nitro night of October of 83.

So many great events, historical happenings, innovative events and just plain history, this place was dang awesome! A basket of "strips" washed down with many adult beverages in between O.C.I.R. cheeseburgers, so cool.

Manufacturers Meets, Hang Ten, Bug Ins, Super Chevy, Nitro Championships, Division 7 Meets, 64-car FC meets, the PDA, Constructers Top Fuel, Wheelstander meets in December, the All Pro Series, the National events both NHRA and AHRA, what a great time.

How bout some O.C.I.R. stories, no matter how small or big.


[email protected]
Talladega Announcer

As a kid, I grew up with a subscription for Drag Racing USA magazine. It seemed every issue had an article on a big event at OCIR. In 1970, I started going to Seattle once a year (at 650 miles away it was still the closest big event track). I love Seattle and still make our annual trip there (and I am so glad it is still there) but it was always on my bucket list to see OCIR. When the 1983 NHRA World Finals became the LAST national event at OCIR, I just had to go ! My brother came with me on the big trip and it was his very first drag race. OCIR was everything they said it was. Deluxe everything. It truly was the Super Track. The orange trees in the pits added extra atmosphere. OCIR had their concession stands and washrooms built into the underside of the grandstands for a great use of space. As far as I know, the only track to copy that simple concept is Route 66. Go figure. The 1983 World Finals still must be considered as one of the all-time greats. Tons of fuel cars. Quickest-ever fields in TF, FC, PS, TAD, TAFC. New national records in ET and MPH. Gary Beck's 5.39 record stood for 3 years, which in that era was amazing. My brother still talks about that trip. I am so glad we went
 

vegasnitro

Nitro Member
OCIR had their concession stands and washrooms built into the underside of the grandstands for a great use of space. As far as I know, the only track to copy that simple concept is Route 66. Go figure.

The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the Spectator side at Lucas Oil Raceway (Indy) are 2 that come to mind immediately.
 

mgty3whlr

Nitro Member
OCIR had their concession stands and washrooms built into the underside of the grandstands for a great use of space. As far as I know, the only track to copy that simple concept is Route 66.

Englishtown used that concept also.
 

T.Smith

Nitro Member
As a kid, I grew up with a subscription for Drag Racing USA magazine. It seemed every issue had an article on a big event at OCIR. In 1970, I started going to Seattle once a year (at 650 miles away it was still the closest big event track). I love Seattle and still make our annual trip there (and I am so glad it is still there) but it was always on my bucket list to see OCIR. When the 1983 NHRA World Finals became the LAST national event at OCIR, I just had to go ! My brother came with me on the big trip and it was his very first drag race. OCIR was everything they said it was. Deluxe everything. It truly was the Super Track. The orange trees in the pits added extra atmosphere. OCIR had their concession stands and washrooms built into the underside of the grandstands for a great use of space. As far as I know, the only track to copy that simple concept is Route 66. Go figure. The 1983 World Finals still must be considered as one of the all-time greats. Tons of fuel cars. Quickest-ever fields in TF, FC, PS, TAD, TAFC. New national records in ET and MPH. Gary Beck's 5.39 record stood for 3 years, which in that era was amazing. My brother still talks about that trip. I am so glad we went
U.S. 131 in Martin, MI. has that set up. Awesome little track. National event caliber.
 

ocdart

Nitro Member
I have so many fond memories of 'The County'. The first few times I went was as a spectator, then started bracket racing my '69 Dodge Dart 340 Swinger in very early 1970. There was a Union 76 gas station on Sand Canyon, just before making the left turn to the entrance road to get into the track. We would always stop there to air up the front tires for less rolling resistance while racing.
Here's a "little guy" memory for y'all from the day I won my first trophy at OCIR: I don't remember how many cars were in my class (G/Pure Stock) that day, but we'd gotten down to the last three cars. My Dart, a Javelin, and a Roadrunner. The Roadrunner beat the Javelin and I had a single. My buddy and I had checked out the Roadrunner earlier and it wasn't "Pure Stock" - the exhaust manifolds weren't what the Roadrunner came from the factory with, they looked like Max Wedge exhaust manifolds. The call finally came and we headed for the staging lanes. As we're waiting in the lanes the owner of the Roadrunner walks over, checks under the hood of my Dart, shakes his head and said, "It won't even be close." The time comes and we pull out to the water box. He picked the left lane and I was in the right. The lights came down and I left on him. I also had a weight advantage with my Dart being lighter than his Roadrunner but I kept seeing him pulling closer and closer and I honestly had no idea who won until I picked up my time slip on the way back to the pits with the "WIN" stamp on it. I pulled into our pit spot with a huge smile on my face and the Roadrunner following me since he was pitted on the same row. My then wife walked out in front of him so he had to stop. She walked up to his open window and said, "You were right. It wasn't even close!"
I wish I still had all my OCIR rophies, "WINNER" stickers and event posters.
All the big events were outstanding: 64 Funny Cars, PDA races, the Manufacturers Meet, and on and on.
I remember the Larry Bowers TF clutch explosion and the Beach City Corvette in flames through the fence at the end of the strip and ending up on the I-5 freeway.
My fondest memories were hanging out at the track with the Condit Brothers and their beautiful Plymouth Arrow AA/FC. Billy Condit's wife worked for my then wife and we started hanging out at the track when they raced.
I was down on the track with them at one of the big FC meets - I don't remember if it was one of the 64 Funny Car shows or a Manufacturers Meet but all of the cars were parked diagonally next to the guard rails on both sides of the strip with the bodies up. The plan was for all of cars to fire at the same time - an early 'Cacklefest' before the term was coined. Well, the cars all fired up and it was amazing to be in the middle of all of that horsepower. Except Dave Condit was sitting in the driver's seat of their non-running car. Dave and Bill were standing on either side of the car with one hand on the raised body, rocking it from side to side so it shook like the engine was running. No sense to waste the cost of nitro!
I still think of OCIR every time I go past the Sand Canyon exit on the I-5.
I miss all of the strawberry fields, tomato fields and bean fields. All that's there now are buildings and parking lots.
Oh yeah, there also used to be a trap and skeet range just across the freeway.

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mick

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youtube algorithm just put this one in front of me. hadn't seen it before. maybe others have......check out the nomad
 
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