What's new

Remembering Lions Drag Strip Today-Oct 1955/Dec 2 1972 (2 Viewers)

[email protected]

Nitro Member
Today is always a somber yet special day in my time, today, December 2nd, is yet another anniversary of the closing of Lions Drag Strip. As I woke up today the first thing Mrs. [email protected] said, it's Lions day! What a gal.

Still to this day it is the greatest weekly drag strip of all time. Best air, best competition, best atmosphere to be on the grounds. Place was incredible, so simple yet so awesome.

Quick story.
One Saturday, my father and I took off to Lions for yet another show. We stopped at the local grocery store, I got a RC cola (living large) and dad got one of those Club cocktails in the little can. I drank my soda on the way, Dad held onto his for at the track. We got to Lions in the afternoon, paid our admission, set out blanket down in "our" seats and then dad said. Let's go watch some runs at the top end. We did just that. he popped open the canned cocktail and took a sip or too and then we heard, excuse me sir from down below. We turned around and it was a officer of the law. Opps! He had my dad pour it out and then motored on, dad was embarrassed.

Just moments later we witnessed a dark moment right in front of us. John Hoffman in the "Snoopy" Jaguar funny car had horrible handling issues and crashed right in front of us, it was ugly. John passed away on the run.

Ocean air, chili hot dogs or Tamales on a Saturday night with my father at Lions has left a mark on my soul that has never left me. It was that good. For those of you who were to young or out of state, you missed the most epic piece of real estate for our sport, located at 223rd & Alameda, in Wilmington, California. Lions Drag Strip.

Drive the highways, race at Lions! Thanks Dad!


[email protected]
 

Cliff

Nitro Member
You were very fortunate to be able to do those things with your Dad. Most of the times I went to Lions was with a friend or just by myself. Couldn't think of a better place to be on a Sat night. Saw so many things at Lions, so much history. Gerry The Hunter Glenn in the Schultz & Glenn T/F ran a 6.41 for low ET of the world, 1971. Front motor car built by Tuttle & the engine was almost as far out as a F/C in the chassis. Saw the Freight Train crash one night. The 2 things that really stand out to me were Don Garlits crash in 1970, thought he'd been killed. Then 1971, Big's first "back motor" car. I knew he was coming to Lions with that car & no way was I gonna miss that! Was at the Last Race, 47 years ago yesterday. I think the first time I went there was 1963. Went into the USAF 1964-1968. When I would come home on leave, had to go to Lions. If I had a gazillion $$$, I'd build an exact replica of Lions & races would be run. :)
 

MichaelD

Nitro Member
I lived in Riverside until the early 70's and was able to go to nearly all the strips in the area except San Fernando. And although there were some very close seconds, Lions was my favorite. Probably the first strip I went to once I got a drivers license. Colton was the first when I was in 8th grade.
 

Cliff

Nitro Member
I wish I'd had the chance to go to some of the old tracks, like Ramona near San Diego, and Colton and tracks like that. I did get to see San Gabriel once, was impressed with that track. Pomona in 1964 when it still ran on Sundays. LA County Raceway in Palmdale. Carlsbad around 1971. Lions was the favorite, followed by OCIR. Didn't really go to Irwindale much until Lions closed in 1972. after that, it was pretty much OCIR & Irwindale.
 

Cliff

Nitro Member
Barry, I well remember that car. Barnes & Berona Anglia. Didn't you guys have a Ford straight 6 engine? That car ran 10's back then & you guys were one of (if not the) quickest & fastest 6 cyl cars. I saw you guys run at the Last Race. Not too many 6 banger gassers anymore, but I sure loved seeing those cars run.
 

BBerona

Nitro Member
Barry, I well remember that car. Barnes & Berona Anglia. Didn't you guys have a Ford straight 6 engine? That car ran 10's back then & you guys were one of (if not the) quickest & fastest 6 cyl cars. I saw you guys run at the Last Race. Not too many 6 banger gassers anymore, but I sure loved seeing those cars run.
Hi Cliff,

Yes, my dad JR and his partner Jim Barnes ran a Chevy 255 ci inline w a Sissell Lump head and 3x Webbers, and that car won the class Division 7 and held many records. He went on to race a '70 Opel GT for many years w the same engine configuration until he flipped it at Famoso. After that he raced a 210" WB RE Dragster by Ed Weddel that won a Wally for Best Engineered Car in '86 as it was an early version of a sprung rear end dragster. That car is for sale right now in the classified section. JR is doing well and is now 80!
 

Attachments

Cliff

Nitro Member
Thanks for the photos Barry. Funny, I remember the Anglia, but not the Opel or the dragster, probably because I moved to Arizona in 1981. You guys had a Chevy, not a Ford (heresy on my part. HA) Doesn't make any difference to me, a straight 6 engine is cool. Loved the Chrysler Slant 6, always thought that was a great engine. Even the 258" AMC 6. Please say Hi to your dad for me & tell him I well remember that Anglia. :)
 

BBerona

Nitro Member
Thanks for the photos Barry. Funny, I remember the Anglia, but not the Opel or the dragster, probably because I moved to Arizona in 1981. You guys had a Chevy, not a Ford (heresy on my part. HA) Doesn't make any difference to me, a straight 6 engine is cool. Loved the Chrysler Slant 6, always thought that was a great engine. Even the 258" AMC 6. Please say Hi to your dad for me & tell him I well remember that Anglia. :)
Cliff-

In the past decade, he's been putting together an Australian Ford inline 6 w a crossflow head, that's what he's selling in his dragster. That should be a serious head turner at any track. Btw, he's not a member here but is following this thread and thought it was really neat that people still care about the nostalgia of the sport. I agree! Plus I think you might agree, back in the day, the door-slamming sportsman class was where all the fun was!
 

BBerona

Nitro Member
Cliff-

In the past decade, he's been putting together an Australian Ford inline 6 w a crossflow head, that's what he's selling in his dragster. That should be a serious head turner at any track. Btw, he's not a member here but is following this thread and thought it was really neat that people still care about the nostalgia of the sport. I agree! Plus I think you might agree, back in the day, the door-slamming sportsman class was where all the fun was!
Also Cliff- He won that Wally for best-engineered car in '86 at Firebird! You may have been there!
 

Attachments

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 2)


Top