2019 Indoor National Dragfest Photo Coverage: Awesome Cars, History, and More!

2019 Indoor National Dragfest Photo Coverage: Awesome Cars, History, and More!

(Words and photos by Joe Grippo) – It’s January, it’s cold, it’s snowing and the dragstrips will be closed for at least a few more months, pretty bleak times for drag racers for sure. Normally, Practice Tree Races are the only action happening around here this time of year but not all is lost, seems a few smart dudes recently got together and organized a drag racing centered wintertime car show and bench racing session. Dubbed the 2019 Indoor National Dragfest it was held at the spacious Lebanon, Pa. Expo Center and, of course, BangShift was in the house. Drag Cars by the bunches filled the multiple rooms of the building along with a healthy dose of Pro Streeters and street machines filling in the few open spots. Vintage Pro Stockers, Gassers, Stockers, Front Engine Dragsters and old school Funny Cars were all over the show. A really cool display remembering the historic York US30 Dragway was a popular stop in the main hall. Famed Pro Stock Driver and engine builder Larry Lombardo was the guest of honor. Larry emptied out his closet full of vintage racing jackets plus his trophy case and put all his memorabilia on display for the attendees to ogle over. Pure eye candy for drag racing historians like myself. A gathering of Lombardo’s old racers and cars powered by his latest powerplants surrounded him all weekend.

One of the highlights of the weekend for me was witnessing the public debut one of the three Bill Thomas built  fastback Chevy II’s known to exist, in barn-fresh condition after a lengthy slumber. Slated for a full restoration back to its C-K-C livery by Greg Cook in Gettysburg, Pa, the appearance of this recently unearthed relic caused quite a stir among the crowd when it was displayed next to the Maynard Rupp Chevoom mid-engine Chevelle also restored by Cook. The Fastback Nova’s  originally started life as convertibles and had the fiberglass fastback grafted on for road racing before they went drag racing. Reportedly GM ordered them all destroyed but at least one other and we thankfully know now, this one survives. Rare finds are still out there apparently!  The Buddy Ingersoll turbo Pinto was looking race ready on the show floor as were a few Bill Jenkins “Grumpy’s Toy” clones. It was great weekend to escape the plummeting temperatures and get a bit of a racing fix. From what I saw the show was well attended and seemed like a big success, so hopefully it will go done again next year and of course BangShift will be there.

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14 thoughts on “2019 Indoor National Dragfest Photo Coverage: Awesome Cars, History, and More!

    1. Grippo

      Sure was Bob, 1st Annual Indoor National Dragfest…Seemed well attended like I said, hopefully it returns for next year.

      1. Schtauffer

        What really disgusts me is that I drove by the Lebanon Fairgrounds twice that day and did not even know the show was happening. Won’t miss it next year!!

  1. HotRodPop

    That fastback ’62 (?) Nova? I’ve seen pictures of one in action on the strip, but can’t remember where; here, maybe? Awesome car! Somebody clue my dried up brain! Medium blue, and looked awesome at speed! Help!

  2. 69rrboy

    I made it there Saturday. Early on there were lots of people there but it was pretty empty by mid-afternoon. They definitely need to have more old drivers and crew people there next time. I didn’t go back but I heard Sunday was a disappointing turnout. Overall not bad for it’s first time there and at that time of year. Not sure if the weather had anything to do with any of that.

    Nice job on the pics. Hope I didn’t break your camera getting in the background on some. My camera hates cold weather and bad lighting so some of my pics didn’t turn out too well.

    The show is now run by the same guys who put on the Motorama deal at the Harrisburg Farm Show every year. Give them time and this will end up being pretty good too.

    I “think” there is still going to be another York US30 related show at the Eastern Museum of Motorsports in Dillsburg AND the annual deal at Beaver Springs Dragway from July 12th thru the 14th this year. Check the schedules for those places to make sure.

  3. Howdy Hoffman Jr

    You Guys need to check your Facts out on what is a clone what what is restored ! Obviously you never took the time to read the card in front of certain vehicles did she call clones.

    1. Grippo

      I read every sign and know which cars are clones and which are real. I stated SOME were clones, in other words not all.

    1. Grippo

      Andrew, I look forward to yours and Howdy’s expert team coverage of the next event. Bangshift does take submissions…

  4. Rick Reynolds

    You’re both right!! Several things wrong about this write up. There were 17 York shows before Darwin handed them
    The reigns over and not 16!!! And yes both the Monza and the Camaro are ORIGINAL Bill Jenkins cars…You’d think they’d fact check before they assume something and post it. I feel bad for the car owners because this is a slap in the face to them … the Vega is a clone and the only one at this show representing Bill Jenkins

    1. Grippo

      Rick, not sure what you a talking about regarding the previous York shows. I was at everyone, by the way, and this was NOT a “York show” it was the Indoor National Dragfest with a York display included. And as I said to Howdy I stated SOME were clones, not all. In the interest of being brief in the blog I did not list them individually as real or clones. BangShift takes submissions, try doing some coverage, I look forward to reading your fact based work.

  5. Rick Reynolds

    Again, there was one clone and one clone only on the floor for this particular show and that was the Vega. There were not a few…..Saying there were a “few” causes questions and controversy and many headaches to the owners of the original and documented Jenkins cars. Tom is a good friend of mine and his Monza is the real deal as was the Camaro that was with him at this show. I know what he’s gone through with doubters and haters and the keyboard crew chiefs, and this only causes more doubt for both of the owners of the original Jenkins vehicles. No need to get steamed about it, just trying to right a wrong for a friend.

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