Video: A Look Back Into the Glory Days Of Oswego Dragway In The 1970s – Sweet Cars!

Video: A Look Back Into the Glory Days Of Oswego Dragway In The 1970s – Sweet Cars!

(By Greg Rourke) – Oswego Drag Raceway is part of the way I am the way I am. In 1972 I was 13, and we moved from Maryland to Illinois. I wasn’t happy about it, but Dad found we were not far from Oswego. Dad was about as far from a gearhead as you could get, but he took me there because he knew it would cheer me up. The first car I saw coming up the hill where Oswego’s water box was Jim Feurer’s “The Big Animal” 57 Merc, I then knew I was going to like Illinois.

This home movie seems to be from 1974-ish. The main subject is the “Incredible Hulk” 66 Comet. It’s Sunday morning, and they’re loading up to head to the track. Are we winching into the 85 foot, triple stack, hospitality lounge equipped semi? No, we are not. We’re hooked to an old style sling equipped wrecker, and it’s off to the races.
Oswego had a class called Run Tuff Eliminator, note “RTE ” in shoe polish on the windshields. You’d make a few time runs, set your dial in ONCE, and you’re ready for Round One. That was your dial for the rest of the day. Rules called for professional appearing race cars, and they wanted the cars to have names. Whereas today you can run 11’s in your Caddy CTS-V with the air conditioning on, back then almost everyone had a tow vehicle chase you down the track to tow you back to the pits from your 11 second lap.

Today we have lots of vintage events. They mostly focus on pre-1966. If I had any idea how to organize and event, or any ambition, I would set up an event featuring cars from the mid 70’s. I know a bunch of the cars from Oswego still exist, including the Incredible Hulk, still looking much like it does in this movie, and is now driven on the street.

Press play below to see some killer drag history from Oswego Dragway!

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2 thoughts on “Video: A Look Back Into the Glory Days Of Oswego Dragway In The 1970s – Sweet Cars!

  1. NOVA427SS

    Some rare footage of Animal Jim and the 57 at the 2:40 mark. The living legend of Lacon,IL. Always ran fast with no sponsors to speak of .And holds a record for highest launch of a fairmont hood in AZ.

  2. Greg Rourke

    Calling Zeke a Fairmont will get you a smack in back of the head from Animal Jim. It’s a Zephyr, and still racing. The Big Animal is being made race ready again, if it isn’t already. It was sitting in Jims shop, just as it was shut off after being the last car down Oswego.

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