The first weekend in August has become the traditional setting for the annual anniversary weekend to celebrate another milestone in  the history of Island Dragway.  This year it was originally intended to be a huge celebration marking sixty years of operations.  Early planning was thrown into a cocked hat when the pandemic closed up the economy and brought a halt to racing for several  months, and a limitation on allowable crowds for the rest of the season.  Nonetheless, a modified and scaled down version was planned for the weekend with the NHRA.TV Wally race taking place on Saturday and a nostalgia and funny car program on tap for Sunday.  In keeping with the tenor of the year, a top end transformer that runs the track lights crapped out, cancelling the Friday night test and tune session and requiring a schedule change for Saturday to ensure being finished before dark.  And, of course, rain washed out the Sunday portion and the floppers were rebooked for the Ol Daze Drags in September.

But Saturday did bring out the largest and strongest field of the year and turned in some fantastic competition and big money winners to boot.  Kevin Render scored twice with his Monte Carlo by annexing both Super Pro and Pro and hauling a large payday purse for his efforts.  Dave Harvey III defeated all comers for the Sportsman trophy and Scott McGrath came through for a Bike title.  NETO was also on board for an intended two day affair that saw Frank Paradiso win in the Nostalgia class and Scott Thorpe reachi9ng  the apex of the Comp bracket.

Picking up Super in the quarters, Dave Harvey Jr got by Kevin Gnehm while Kevin Render turned aside Wilbur Hooper and Scott Hakucsa was better than Elyse Climes., who represented the last dragster in the eliminator.  Render got a little break with a bye run in the semis and Hakucsa ran an 8.33, 119 pass to eliminate Harvey’s 8.94 at 110.  The last race was over at the line when Hakucsa fouled by .001 and dropped an 8.35, 122 second place pass as Render grabbed the money with his slowing 10flat effort.

Kevin Render was on fire in Pro bracket as well, going rounds seemingly with little effort.  But rest assured this win was anything but a cake walk in a tough and large field of sharp drivers.  Render set aside Dave Harvey Jr for a QF move and Terry Benton axed Kevin Render in the same round as Bill Wackermann ran unopposed.  Render then bested Wackermann by just .005 seconds in the SF, 10.48, 118aganstan 11.15 and 120.  Bento’s GTO ran solo. Benton actually had a .004 RT advantage in the final but fell off his dial and gave the victory to the Chevy on a 10.46. 120.64 ticket to a losing 11.23 at 119.90.

Sportsman eliminator was a tough thrash as Bill Hakucsa, Ed Franks Jr, Dave Harvey III( and Jeff Rahner all worked their way out of the quarters. 
Harvey’s LeMans just got by Franks’ Camaro to advance to the final, 11.65, 110 to an 11.89 at 113,which worked out to a MOV of .002.  Rahner’s 57 Vette hit an 11.90, 10-9 to oust the Camaro of Hakucsa with an 11/69 at m120.  Harvey was better on the tree and recorded an on the dial 11.64 and 110.58 for the title as Rahner broke out via his 11.83 and 113.75 pass.

There is a new sheriff in town this season as Don Anderson has been turning on win lights round after round.  He almost did it again, moving into the trophy race against Sco0tt McGrath, who had his own agenda to play out.  Jacob Teats had fallen to McGrath and Charlie Koenig lost to Anderson ion the prior round that set up a monster final effort.  Anderson has already qualified for the  King of the Track  runoff when the rest of the brackets can be finished but would have liked to grab this week’s Wally anyway.  But a red light by the Suzuki rider made his 9.05 at 141 second best, and McGrath powered his Busa mount to the bucks and the award at 8.73 with a speed of 150.

Jeff Hall drove his 57 Chevy to a win in Trophy bracket by defeating the Mustang of Mitch Speert.  Hall’s 9.90, 128 was easily the winning ticket after Speert left a red light on his side of the tree and ran a 14.31 at 98.

Savannah Kinney took Jr. Dragster from Violet Sawicki when her Halfscale entry hit a 7.94 at 81.65 for the light and made the 8.48, 73.72 by Sawicki runner-up times.  Harley Parson prevailed in Jr. Street with a win over Jaina Embley.  Parson and her Vette recorded a 9.24 at 64 mph that was goo0d enough to hold off the Blazer’s 9.16 at 74.

NETO  Nostalgia final pitted Frank Paradiso’s entry with the Fi9rebiord of Ed Hartman.  Chris Regan lost in the semis against Paradiso who then handily won against Hartman who fouled out and tossed an 11.11 at 120.37.  Paradiso cranked out an 11.25 with a top end of 120.92.

NETO Comp belonged to Scott Thorpe and his Camaro when he was better than the screaming altered of Lou Laferrara Jr.  Laferrara set aside Vinny Laurita Sr for a SF victory consistently had the quickest car in  the field.  Thorpe gained a huge advantage on the tree and was never in jeopardy as he hustled an 8.68 at 156.73 on the victory march.  Laferrara laid down his quickest pass of the day in losing  as he unleashed a 7.66 at 16.

So ends the story of a half weekend anniversary show. Be sure to tune –in in September for the make-up of the Funny Car Throwdown as we try to celebrate 60 years of drag racing. Island Dragway style.  We hope you can join us then.