SOLID SHOWING OF VINTAGE DRAG RACING AT THE FALL-OUT #5

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SOLID SHOWING OF VINTAGE DRAG RACING AT THE FALL-OUT #5


 

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The markers of autumn’s start in Wisconsin’s Chippewa Valley are evident every year. The leaves are beginning to turn, and the harvest has begun. And unlike the migratory birds that are headed South, Midwest vintage drag racers head North to Rock Falls Raceway and the annual Fall-Out Vintage Drags.  

Organized by Vintage Drag Racing 101, the 5th edition of The Fall-Out enjoyed its best car count yet at 160 cars. Unseasonably warm weather contributed to spectator attendance that surpassed all previous years at the spectacularly upgraded  quarter-mile facility just outside the city of Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Featuring period-correct pre-1967 dragsters, gassers, and stockers racing in a classification format, The Fall-Out also included a car show, which enjoyed strong participation on both days, and the swap meet featuring many vendors trading in a wide assortment of vintage race car parts.

In drag racing’s formative years, car clubs were at the forefront in organizing the sport in the post-war era. The Fall-Out shares that tradition, with several organizations participating, including Meltdown Drags Association, the Brew City Gassers, the Gopher State Timing Association, the Scavengers Car Club, and Who Are Those Guys? Car Club.

As an added bonus, VDR101’s “Uncle Sam’s Pie Eating Contest” was incorporated into this year’s program. A true throwback, USPEC  requires all cars to be shod with pie crust slicks and water box burnouts are forbidden. Class eliminations took place on Saturday, with the following winners:

Stock: Jack Kluge 63 Chevy Impala
Hot Rod: Bryan Fortier 61 Chevy Impala
Super Stock: David Zielsdorf 63 Chevy Biscayne “King Braeger Chevrolet”
A/Gas: Paul Zielsdorf 41 Willys “Hairy Hauler”
C/Gas: Mark Kluge 40 Willys Coupe
D/Gas: Joe Maresh 38 Chevy “Blue Dago”
E/Gas: Jamie Mealy 66 Chevelle

“Uncle Sam’s Pie Eating Contest” wouldn’t be complete without an actual pie-eating contest, where racers and spectators pitted their speed eating prowess against one another, gorging upon apple pies. In the Youth Division, the winner was Ayden from Baldwin, WI. Ham Lake, Minnesota’s John Holmn, from the Scavengers Car Club prevailed in the Adult Division.

Of course, none of this could have occurred without the support of companies that racers depend on. They included CTech Manufacturing, National Fleet Graphics, Suburban GM Parts, and Stanke Motorsports.

The Fall-Out #6 is scheduled for September 17 and 18, 2021 at Rock Falls Raceway.

Each day of Fall-Out began with a driver’s meeting. Conducted by the chieftains of the Meltdown Drags Association, it laid out the ground rules of competition, which in their essence were “have fun and drive safe”.
Steve Bacon’s “Innocent Rascal” Willys was one of the first cars to take to the track. Obviously he was prepared for “these challenging times”…
Steve’s son Ben Bacon faced “challenging times” that many racers are familiar with, handling bugs. His “Tub & Squirt” Anglia was intent on going anywhere but straight through most of Friday’s action. Ben seemed to eradicate that “virus” late in the day.
Carly Stupar was a “Lil Sassy” on the tree when she cut a perfect .000 light and drove her Chevy II to a 13.44 ET on Friday.
Vintage Fuel Dragsters are the magnet to the steel of men of all ages. The look on this young man’s face as he sits in AJ Zangerle’s “Big Woody” tells the story.
Coming from across Wisconsin and Minnesota, this traditional Model A Ford roadster was among dozens that drove into the car show in Rock Falls Raceway’s new staging lanes. Freshly paved, this area of the track will be coming on-line in 2021 as spectator parking and racer pits switch sides in the facility’s planned upgrades.
The teardrop hood on Mark Conner’s ’65 Ford Falcon began to lift off at 100′, then took flight soon after. Fortunately, the lightweight floated to earth like a feather, sustaining only scratches.

The new pavilion at Rock Falls Raceway is truly impressive. Lacking only facade work and the finishing of the race control room, it features full food service managed by Big Girl Street Foods, full restroom facilities, showers, equipment storage, and racer check-in offices. All of this will be fully operational for the 2021 season.
Friday’s program closed as the sun was setting with nitro cackling fuel dragsters. The “Spaghetti Guys” AA/FD of Becchetti, Fitzgerald, Kalvestrom & Edstrom wowed the crowd with a two-minute long display of flames, fumes, and noise.
The Schmid Family of St. Cloud, MN brought their “Nitro Baron” a Red Baron-themed dragster to Fall-Out. With a chassis built by driver Alex, and a blown and injected early 354 Chrysler built by Alex’s dad Rick, this car perfectly evokes mid-60s drag racing art. Like most, this team is a family affair, with Alex’s wife Liz backing up the car, and his mom Sherryl helping to make sure the operation runs smoothly. Liz and Alex’s son Auggie also seems to have designs on taking over the driving duties in “das Bitchen'” ride one day.
Swap meet vendors also stick to the vintage theme, and few items up for sale were more vintage than this McCulloch centrifugal supercharger for Kaiser engines.



 

If you’re a serious buyer at a swap meet, having some help to carry your treasures is always advisable.
Saturday’s action began with a stirring rendition of our National Anthem by Kasey Gasior, while Old Glory was displayed in a helicopter flyover.

John Reidenbach and his ’62 Corvette gasser start to climb skyward, nearly scraping the thin bumpers at 100′, Keeping his foot in the throttle, Reidenbach brought the blown ‘Vette to earth and recorded a winning 10.06 pass over opponent  Tom Alleman in a very close race.
Rock Falls Raceway’s Heather Thomas and Ben Heindl conduct the racer appreciation drawing, where CTech Manufacturing presented several lucky racers with their top quality Service Carts.

One of the most unusual, and entertaining cars to hit the track is John Scheele’s “Haulin’ Ass” 1961 Ford Econoline Pickup. Powered by a small block Ford and sporting a tiki theme throughout, the little truck does big burnouts and records consistent mid-12 second ET’s.
Scheele outdid himself with his tow rig, which doubles as a camper. The stretched vintage Econoline body was married to a fairly modern Isuzu truck chassis with diesel power. Scheele reports favorable reactions from fellow travelers while towing to the races.
The weekend ended with the Racer Appreciation Dinner. With a hopefully one year only socially distant format, individually packaged pork steak dinners with all the fixings were served up by the Meltdown Drags Association’s Paul Zielsdorf and Big Girl Street Foods Randy Kuhnert.

 

 

 

 





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