The number 3 has a lot of mystical meaning throughout history and in many disciplines. For example, there is a 33rd degree for Masons, there are 3 Wise Men, 3Musketeers, 3 Stooges, well, you get the idea. But who would have thought that in 1988, when the initial Ol Daze Drags had its premiere here at Island Dragway, that over three decades later is remains one of the most popular events on the annual schedule. And throughout all those years there have been only a couple of events that had to utilize a rain date and one cancelation during a very rainy season. Most of the race days were just like this one, beautiful sunny weather with moderate temperatures and a nice breeze. If there is an ideal weather scenario, this event brings it out. And the turnout in racers and fans reflected those facts.
Our friends from NETO showed up in force and put on quite an exhibition of old style racing. The Comp bracket showed some hot pedal power with low ET and top speed of the day going to the Corvette of Michael Grafos who ran in the 7.30s at 186 mph during the practice session. He made it to the semis where he came up against the Camaro of Vinny Laurita Sr and fell in that round as Laurita beat hi9m on the tree and in the race at 8.93, 151 to a “slowing” 7.55 at 183 mph. Series points leader Brian English ran unopposed in the SF and looked to expand his sizeable lead when he took on Laurita for the trophy. Laurita was having none of that and hung an advantage of .024 on the launch while sealing the deal with an on the dial 8.90 time at 152.38. English, who has been dominate here for the past couple of years took second place on an 8.58, 159.10 ticket.
Almost two dozen entrants appeared for first round of NETO Nostalgia and there were numerous hard runners in this group. New to the circuit was Nicholas Paradiso and his Malibu and he was impressive all afternoon long. Coming off a bye run in the quarters where Steve Consentino sent Al Zimbaldi to the trailer and Charles Parinello bested Frank Paradiso, Nick was gunning for his first title. He took down Parinello in a semi Match, 12.97, 91.68 versus a late starting 10.58 and 126 as Consentino ran alone. The final pitted the big Dodge wagon of Consentino against the Malibu of Paradiso with the odds favoring the more experienced Consentino. But, as they say, you race on the track not in your mind and after a slight lead at the green Paradiso ran under his dial by .025 seconds at 12.78 and 105.71 to put the win light on. Consentino was .034 under the number to drop to runner-up in a great race with his 14.44 at 127.33.
The turnout for the four regular classes was substantial, with several dozen or more entrants in the quickest three and almost a dozen in the slowest class. Nostalgia 1 (9.99 and quicker or with a delay box) went five rounds to determine the winner. Al Luberto was better than Keith Horn for a semi victory as Michael Shipp took down Joe Theodore on the other side of the ladder. Shipp’s Chevelle than hung a holes hot on Luberto’s Chevy to take the tile with a slip of 9.82 seconds and a speed of 132,28. Lubereto’s R/U ticket read a 9.45 and 141.24.
It took six sessions in Nostalgia 2 (10.00-11.99) and here the “Cubic Money”: Chevelle of Chris Righetti was victorious. Righetti won over Pat Barbone and Don Kunes in the QF and SF rounds while Tom Doughty was taking care of Randall Kimbley and soloing to reach the final. Tony Picone made it to the quarters before losing to Kunes. Righetti caught the better green and powered to a 10.31 at 123.88 to defeat the Plymouth of Doughty who posted a time of 11.14 at 121.40.
Russ Picone made a rare appearance with his new 53 Chevy and made it count by taking the Nostalgia 3 (12.00-13.99) title. Picone sent Rob Zetterberg to the exit in round 4 as Mark Sicora dispatched Ryan Towers. Picone ended the affair with yet another starting line tutorial and grabbed the ring with his 14.00 at 91.40 to best the Plymouth of Sikora that carded a 12.10 and113.45.
Jerry Ackerman continued to show his dominance in Nostalgia 4 by taking yet another 14.00 second and slower award. Doug Hoven outlasted Bill Voelzke to advance to the title race as Ackerman was unopposed in his Maverick. Close off the line and close at the stripe ended with Ackerman taking the nod with his 15.82, 83.70 against the 6 cylinder Nova’s 14.62 and 84.04, a margin of victory of just .007 seconds.
So another Ol Daze Drags program is in the books and it was a great event. There is one more nostalgia race on the schedule coming up in October and to all those who love to race the old way, we hope to see you then. If not be sure to mark next year’s calendar for the weekend after Labor Day for the 34th running of this classic event.