Each year Island Dragway plays host to old style racers in the annual Nostalgia Nationals event. This year’s contestants were required to be driving cars no newer than model year 1983 and had their choice of four classes of competition based on elapsed time breakdowns. Along with the bracket classes there was a well-attended car show and the circuit racers from NETO.
Scott Embley and Paul Crispin battled it out in the fastest class, Nostalgia One in a Chevy versus Mopar final. The 69 Chevelle out of Saylorsburg Pa had an easy time of it in the deciding race when the 67 Dart of Crispin went red on the tree and tossed out a losing 9.13, 148.20. Embley took home the big trophy with a card of 9.70 at 137.96.
N-2 racers were the largest class with so many folks with cars that can run between 10 seconds and 11.99 seconds. Andy Fesler managed to emerge from the field with the cup when he took the measure of Carl Milano. Fesler’s Middle Village NY based 65 Pontiac should have had his hands full with the 65 Mustang of Milano, the former national record holder in the SS/LA class. But tractions problems doomed Milano at the hit as his radial slicks failed to hook up and he coasted to second place. Fesler eased off a little with a time of 10.19 and a speed of 107.76.
Gary Coleman powered his 31 Ford Rod to the N-3 championship by besting the Nova of Ed Korpos. Coleman, a regular weekly bracket racer hung a great light on Korpos in the final and marched to victory at 13.13 and 102.42 as Korpos fell behind for second place on a too quick 12.39 and 107.15.
Ending the N-4 contest it was former winner Jeff Rahner and hid Chevy wagon taking the light over the Gremlin of Patty MacDonald. This race was a runaway for Rahner after he took close to two tenths on the tree and stopped the timers at 16.11 and 81.43. MacDonald laid out a 17.23, 78.61 in the losing effort.
The Northeast Timing Organization, or NETO, classes were on hand and this group of nostalgia racers had a fine turnout. In Nostalgia class Greg Schreiner won the top spot when he turned back Angelo Sclafani. Schreiner’s Airmont NY Camaro held off Jerome Hillier in the quarters and received the bye run in the semis. Sclafani had to get by Vic Javinett and then Don Kalina to earn his way to the final round. Sclafani, driving his 69 Plymouth Belvedere from Wallingford Ct allowed Schreiner some extra head start over and above the handicap difference and was never able to close the gap. Schreiner’s 13.77 and 99.46 handily took the trophy over Sclafani’s 11.29 effort at 133.13.
NETO’s Comp class is a hoot to watch as these cars are generally quicker down the track and run with a handicap head start system on a four tenths pro tree. A couple years back Jim Mullen seemed to have a lock on the eliminator every time the circuit stopped by but his luck has been nothing but bad in the recent past. That changed this weekend when the Prospect Park Vega hammered home the victory in a final round squeaker with John Giambertone’s 65 Comet. Mullen’s QF win over Brian English in a close contest got him out of the quarters and into the final as he fell into the solo spot in the semis. Giambertone byed the QF and had a relatively easy time with Jerry DeSlandes to emerge from the semifinal round looking for the title. Mullen knew he could not afford to be late on the tree with Giambertone in the other lane, and his .018 RT was just slightly better than his opponent’s move. In a very close race Mullen returned to his winning ways, sporting a ticket of 8.77 seconds at a top end speed of 151.46 to flash the win light. Giambertone gave him all he could handle with a stout pass of 9.80 and 136.32.
The next time these guys are on the card should be the Don Garlits Anniversary weekend in August. That is one show you definitely don’t want to miss.