When I am asked what my favorite drag racing exhibition cars are, my answer is immediate and unequivocal: a wheelstander. These things were basically invented by accident and since the middle 1960s they have been wowing crowds at the track with their whimsy, their vertical nature, and the fact that there are guys who continue to push the envelope of performance and showmanship with them even today. Yes, we have likely passed the high water mark of wheelstander volume and popularity but the ones that are still out there putting on shows are doing a great job.
This video was made at two tracks, Wisconsin International Raceway and Great Lakes Dragaway during the 1980-81 seasons. You’ll see everything from the Little Red Wagon to the Knotts Berry Farm panel truck getting after it with a smattering of wheel standers that you have likely never seen or heard about before. It shows that there was lots of reasons for fans to cheer a quarter mile pull on the wheelie bar and that these things (like today) could be temperamental and tough to wrestle all the way down the track.
The big bonus in this video is the kite cycle guy. We’re not sure if it was the famed Bob Correll who was based out of the west coast but jumped all over the place or someone closer to the Wisconsin area that had been inspired and decided to mount a wing on top of their own motorcycle and then jump stuff for fun and profit. Either way, that sucker is up in the air for a long damned time!
Maybe you have to be a hardcore drag dork to love this video (we do) but if you like exhibition fun on the strip, this one will get you right in the sweet spot. Fun from a simpler time!