Tim's Dragstrip News

        Believe it or not, the green light is set to flash upon  Humboldt-Del Norte Timing Association’s 54th season in about 60 days: April 26. Sooner than that - April 4th & 5th - the year’s first Test ‘n Tune weekend awaits. Chassis certification is  March 21st  (contact Mark Rynearson for info, (707) 498-1298).

        If you listen closely, you can hear the vibrant hum of anxiety from gear heads and quarter-mile junkies, wrenches rachetting quicker, parts-scouring by foot, phone and mouse pad quickening. Track president Danny Wright talking in his sleep (moreso than usual). Your equally eager track announcer, Tim O’Brien,  has some sneak peeks on what’s been sprouting up in the gearhead garden…               

        We’ve seen him go from ‘90s Mustang to beefed up ‘68 Chevelle, but Kevin Dinan craved something in the key of  Stone, Wood & Cook, so he’s concocting  a gasser out of a ‘56 Chevy 210. His straight axled square tube front end is set to host  his Chevelle’s big race block, his bigs ‘n littles tire set up wait for the maiden burn, with coffee cups and burger bags surrounding his four-wheel April deadline. Check in soon for an update from Kevin’s old-school lair.           

Kevin Dinan's gasser project in a secret lab, screaming soon down a dragstrip near you.

Photo by Tim O'Brien

Dinan's fellow metal surgeon transforming a '56 Chevy 210 into a gasser-axle animal.

Photo by Tim O'Brien  

        In the off-season, Mark Rynearson fished out a Pro Mod ‘69 Camaro from New York, with a Left Coast plan to run it in Top Sportsman, driver Greg Crone to have the seat time. Crone will be campaigning a ‘69 Barracuda while getting to know the 6-second capable Camaro through licensing passes, and then…? To be sponsored by Bella Vista Realty (as is Rynearson’s Super Pro ‘67 Chevy II), it’s heading for the paint shop soon. Check back here for photos and updates.

        That Nova earned Steve Kioukis the Best Engineering award at the NHRA Summit ET Finals in October, during Team Samoa’s campaign at Fallon, NV. In the wings he’s been bringing  Brad Schiewe’s 15-year project closer to the Super Mod/Super Pro staging lanes: a ‘71 Mustang Mach 1. Racing veteran Schiewe bought and first raced it while 18 in 1971.  Recent years have had him in an uphill fight with three forms of cancer, forcing him off the track for a two seasons. He and Kioukis, of Q-Kiss Motorsports in Fortuna,  have developed the Mach 1 into a tube chassis saddling a 550 cube-inch Ford motor armed with a F3-139 ATI supercharger capable of 3500 horsepower. The quarter mile monster steed is fast becoming a reality, with the chassis, custom mounts and bracketry due to arrive soon at so-sponsor Pacific Powder Coating.  The Mach will also be sponsored by  Rabid Piranha Printing and Mr. Bob’s, which specializes in innovative high pressure hosing for, say, 3000-plus horse motors. He reports he hasn’t felt this good in two years, and looks forward to running  among the 6 and 7-second ranks of  Kyle Skillings, Rynearson’s Camaro, and Cecil Matthews (that stretched out ‘57 Thunderbird that blew our minds, ears and blew past our timing equipment last September).

        This season will also feature some new events and side dishes; the annual Bikes by the Bay motorcycle show will be at the dragstrip, not Halverson Park, during the Test ‘n Tune of July 18. Howell N Hot Rods’ 12th season hits the grill of Toni’s in Arcata, April 24, and as co-sponsor of this year’s Nostalgia Reunion will host a car show in the spectators’ side, when the beloved Nostalgia races unfold August 22 of the two-day Reunion weekend.

         Jake Morris is due to pilot a dragster he’s preparing, and Fortuna Audio Concepts will host the dragstrip’s first ‘db drags’ since….yeah. I’ll get the skinny on these story tips next. Mike Salazar sat out last season with a blown motor, but wait ’til you hear how built up his Chevelle is now. Gordon Sjoquist may be reading this from a body cast, but why, and what young gun gets to drive the Gary Howe-owned altered T in his place? Stay tuned…

        Know any hot leads?  What’s due to roll out of  your garage, or your crew’s? Hammer me out a line at tnthotrods@yahoo.com.   

        Again, these are but a few of upcoming sneak peeks  for the new season at historic Samoa Dragstrip, the nation’s oldest active NHRA-sanctioned track.

                                                                                             Yours truly,

                                                                                                                                Tim O’Brien

                                                                                                                          Track Announcer

                                                                                                                       Antsy Drag Race Fan