(Words and photos by Doug Gregory) – The Straight-Axle Mafia (henceforth referred to as SAM) has a pretty steady core of racers that we see nearly every time we attend an even they support. Some cars have changed, but the regular folks have been there since we started following them. Mike Johnson and his ‘Comet Kaze’ Mercury rarely miss a race and as reigning season Champ he was eager to repeat. What was once one of the slowest SAM cars is now mid-pack or better.
This has also led to some much-improved burnouts and thus opportunities for good photos. The Dyehouse Racing Falcon adds to the unusually high number of Ford econoboxes in SAM. Chris Huls’ ‘Twisted Mouse’ Austin is one I can always count on for a solid rolling burnout photo. The Thornhill coverage coming soon will prove that. Dwight McGuire is still pounding on the Steel Lady Nash which has been a racecar since at least 1960. Co-ring-leader Tony McConnell wasn’t setting the track on fire, but had the nose of the Ford six-powered Tennessee Taxi pointed skyward on every launch.
For that day….it was my most-reliable to get a high wheelie shot. Jim Baker’s ‘Crazy Horse’ Mustang is equipped with zoomies and has its very own wicked tunes. Chuck Mitchell drove his white Comet to the track and won the straight axle class. Wade Craig’s Poncho is a regular, but had other commitments though he still made the trek and ran. Josh Embry’s ‘Honest Abe’ Henry J is his rebuild of an old gasser that really thunders thanks to a seriously-potent big-block.
Scott Mize and Dwayne Rader lined up their real deal hotrods a couple times. Both of these cars are the actual rides from the day that were and are still in their families. The Itty bitty Hemi Anglia hails from Tennessee and the Rebel Rouser made the pull from Winchester, KY. Lee Vickery’s TLB tribute has been on these pages before and it was a fairly accurate version. He’s ran with the SEGA and wanted to step up his game so the tunnel-rammed big-block came out and in its place is a high-winding small-block. The down track photo shows how successful that change was as it bested the Falcon of SEG regular Adam Lowhorn more than once that day. Jerry North brought out the former Gene Fulton Willys and ran some conservative numbers (for this car). That thing is a real beast. Chuck Dever’s ‘Leave it to Dever’ Dauphine is such a treat to watch and hear. It’s powered by a big Chevy six topped with a 4-barrel carb and runs like a scalded dog. It’s a mid-pack player or better in a field made up almost entirely of V8s.
Chris Crable’s multi-hue Chevy II has somewhat filled the gap left when Bruce Sturdivant sold his ‘Tin Man’ ’64. This car has shown it can boil the hides and pull the wheels with ease which keeps me pointing the camera to whatever lane he is in. Joe Bridges is the other co-ringleader of this fun-loving group. He was piloting this black-primered Ford for a customer and going rounds with it. We’ll finish with the Lowhorn and Sons ‘Rod Slinger’ Falcon showing off its guardrail rash on the driver’s front corner caused by a rear-bumper-banging wheelie during a chilly event here at US-60.
Keep an eye out for the show-and-shine/pit area photos from the US-60 Spring Nostalgia Nationals.