Southeast Gassers turn back the clock, rev up the fun at Friday Night Drags’ ‘Nostalgia Night’

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Dragsters that would have been right at home when Atlanta Motor Speedway first opened its gates took to the pit lane dragstrip and dazzled fans during Nostalgia Night presented by Harbin’s Mechanical Services at O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags.

A dozen vintage straight-line racers from the Southeast Gassers Association, all donning classic paint jobs and racing tech straight out of the 1960s, charged down the 1/8-mile dragstrip Friday night.

“It’s a really neat experience. At first when you look at it you think it might not work since you’re racing on a pit road where you’re usually not supposed to,” Gabriel Burrell, driver of Southern Flyer, said. “On top of that, it’s been a great time with a great family atmosphere.”

Despite the old-fashioned approach, the dragsters rocketed across the line with impressive speed; the quickest of the quick in the two rounds of exhibition races were “Dixie Twister”, piloted by Rocky Platt of Atlanta, and “Scream Machine”, driven by Justin Moses of Braselton — both racers were undefeated in their two matchups.

As important as going fast is, the Southeast Gassers put a big emphasis on making their races as fun to watch as possible.

“We’re supposed to get our front tires at least one foot in the air when we leave the line,” Kelvin Cannon, driver of “Loose Cannon” said. “That’s to make it fun for the fans and it makes it fun for us.”

Further adding to the unique atmosphere of Nostalgia Night was the use of back up girls who helped ensure the vintage racers were lined up properly to jump into action.

Altogether the spectacle of the Southeast Gassers impressed fans and Friday Night Drags competitors alike.

“Those were very unique cars and surprisingly fast. I really enjoyed watching them,” said Amanda Brown of Senoia, who competes in the AT&T Mobility Sport Compact Division. “It’s so interesting to see old-school stuff going down the track.”

Perhaps inspired by some of the flamboyant and gratuitous burnouts performed by the vintage dragsters, Brown powered her 2012 Ford Mustang to victory in her division final.

“I wasn’t doing burnouts last week because I didn’t think it was really necessary, but it really helped me this week,” Brown said. 

Below is the complete list of June 21st race winners:

Harding Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Domestic Division: Justin Smith (McDonough); 2008 Chevrolet Corvette

South River Agency New Edge Division: James Walker (Fayettevile); 2016 Dodge Challenger Hellcat

QuikTrip Pro Division: Kevin Mayo (Griffin); 2007 Chevrolet Cavalier

Super Pro: Mike Chambers (Griffin); 1992 Pontiac Firebird

Harbin’s Mechanical Services Street Outlaw Division: Ross Cole (Sharpsburg); 1972 Chevrolet Camaro

Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Division: Vincent Varela (Jonesboro); 1979 Mazda RX-7

Truck Advance: Glenn Evans (McDonough); 1977 Ford F-150

Ultimate Tailgating Street Performer Division: Raymond Puryear (Hampton); 1989 Ford Mustang

Super Bike Division: Bryan Stephens (Riverdale); 2012 Suzuki Hayabasa

Sport Bike: Ricky Harrelson (Hampton); 2009 Kaw ZX-14

US Marine Corps Motorcycle Division: Jamar Copes (Stockbridge); 2007 750 GSXR

Cruiser Division: Bobby Cole (Williamson); 2014 Harley Davidson Low Rider

Quad/Tri Division: Andre Martin (College); Banshee

Street Modified Division: Kelly Morgan (Jonesboro); 1968 Ford Mustang

Starfire Automatic Gates Truck Division: Ed Blanford (McDonough); 1968 F100

Diesel Truck Division: CJ Merival (Rex); 2006 Ford F250

Metro by T-Mobile Tuner Division: Tim Sears (McDonough); 2015 Nissan GT-R

AT&T Mobility Sport Compact Division: Amanda Brown (Senoia); 2012 Ford Mustang V6

Diamond Resorts Factory Street Division: Steve Shaffer (Newnan)

Southeast Gassers Round 1:

•    Fiddle Picker (Johnny Royals; Griffin) def. Deputy Dog (BB Brown; Dalton)
•    Scream Machine (Justin Moses; Braselton) def. Blue CG 308 (Dan Hogan; Cumming)
•    Loose Cannon (Kelvin Cannon; Elizabeth, TN) def. Stud Muffin (Leslie Horn; Bowling Springs, SC)
•    Paula’s Nightmare (Ernie Smith; Spartanburg, SC) def. Kryptonite (Art Copeland; Buford)
•    Southern Flyer 12 a/g (Gabriel Burrell; Columbus, NC) def. Silver Streak (Kenneth Phillips; Campobello, SC)
•    Dixie Twister (Rocky Platt; Atlanta) def. Southern Comfort (Todd Wemberly; McDonough)

Southeast Gassers Round 2:

•    Stud Muffin (Leslie Horn; Bowling Springs, SC) def. Loose Cannon (Kelvin Cannon; Elizabeth, TN)
•    Silver Streak (Kenneth Phillips; Campobello, SC) def. Southern Flyer 12 a/g (Gabriel Burrell; Columbus, NC)
•    Paula’s Nightmare (Ernie Smith; Spartanburg, SC) BYE RUN
•    Scream Machine (Justin Moses; Braselton) def. Fiddle Picker (Johnny Royals; Griffin) 
•    Blue CG 308 (Dan Hogan; Cumming) def. Deputy Dog (BB Brown; Dalton)
•    Dixie Twister (Rocky Platt; Atlanta) def. Southern Comfort (Todd Wemberly; McDonough)

The Show-N-Shine competition featured everything from new imports to classic muscle cars and automobiles ranging as far back as the 1930s. Those vehicles then took part in the Speedway Cruise following judging.

Classic (1980 or older classic; restored; modified cars or trucks)
Winner: Stith Short (Hampton)
Runner Up: Charles Perkins (Fayetteville); 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle

Generation X (1981 – 2008 cars)
Winner: Amon Pendergrass (McDonough); 2003 VW Jetta
Runner Up: Stevie Stephens (Newnan); 1983 Ford Mustang GT

Current (2009 – current cars)
Winner: Chris Gallagher; 1998 Trans Am
Runner Up: Eli Hubbard (Williamson); 2017 GTI

Trucks 
Winner: Hunter Bryson (Griffin); 2008 F-150
Runner Up: Austin Ledford (Pike); 2013 Silverado

Open
Winner: James Maples (McDonough); 1934 Ford
Runner Up: Andy Spirrati (Social Circle); 1931 Ford Rat Rod

Atlanta Motor Speedway’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags & Show-N-Shine returns to the pit lane drag strip in on Friday, June 28 for another full night of street style drag racing. Grandstand gates open at 6:30 p.m., and nightly drag race eliminations start just after 9:00 p.m. 

Entry to drag race or for the Show-N-Shine is just $20 or competitors can purchase a combo ticket for $30. Spectator tickets are just $10, and children 5 and under are free. More information can be found at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/drags or by calling the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at 770-946-4211.

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